Well, I hate to say it, but I’ve never done this before, been on these footpaths and through these villages many, many times but never all in one walk! Set off from West Burton, you can park at the waterfall area or park on the road by the green. Whatever you do you must have a peep at the Cauldron Falls, such a pretty waterfall. Go over the packhorse bridge here, known as Blue Bridge and make your way up the steps and follow sign to Barrack Wood.
Pause in the wood awhile to see what wild flowers you can find and gaze on the views across to Bolton Castle and to Carperby. Onto Morpeth Gate then turn left down the hill, pass Howraine Farm and a few yards further turn right onto the footpath which takes round the back of Sorrelsykes watching out for interesting follies as you go along. You may not realise when walking on this level that there is a heronry here in one of the little woods, keep an eye out for herons too.
Eventually you’ll come out on the B6160 walk a few yards along the road to your right then left at the red metal gate to cross the open field to the wood ahead of you and coming out at Hestholme Bridge on the A684.
Cross the road when safe to do so and take the footpath towards the River Ure, a well worn path you can’t miss it, and follow along the river side to St Andrew’s Church in Aysgarth which is nearly always open and well worth a visit. Going through the grave yard, you can linger a while and look at the gravestones, there are some really old ones here, perhaps take a little detour down to Aysgarth Falls and stop for a ‘cuppa’ or a Yorkshire Dales ice cream, back up to the path you left, cross the road at the church entrance gate and follow the path to Aysgarth. Continue through the village, stopping to wander round the rockery, it has a little sign on the gate and you’ll find it on the left, very interesting, and take the road to Thornton Rust, then nearly immediately the footpath to Tomgill Bridge.
Out into the field if you look to your left you might just see the Quaker graveyard, take a little look in here too if you wish. Up and down through fields to Tomgill Bridge, onto the road and follow to Thoralby. Once in Thoralby take the little lane over the ford and to Machell Hill. Follow the road to Cross Lanes, cross to Newbiggin and traverse up the hill. Explore Newbiggin if you have time, you’ll find a little waterfall and sheepfold and some interesting cottages. Retrace your steps to the junction in the village at Newbiggin House and go east to take you past East Farm. You’ll come onto a rocky track, quite steep here, and after the track swings round to the left take the footpath on your right.
Follow to West Burton and back to your car. All along this route there are terrific views, you may find you can see Bolton Castle for most of the way, someone knew what they were doing when they built it, and for the most part it’s very easy going. In all about 8 miles depending how much exploring you do along the way! As always, please take your OS Explorer Map OL30, plan the route and wear suitable clothing and footwear. Be safe and enjoy!
Written By Nadine Bell