Aysgarth: Ten Miles Around Aysgarth

Posted by Swaledale Outdoor Club on 2009-08-23

Our leader James with back marker wife, Barbara, summoned all eighteen of us (not forgetting “Jess” the dog).  An initial name introduction followed.  From the car park we set a brisk pace down to the river bridge and mill, up the steps and into the church graveyard.  We followed the River Ure downstream, a river which was noted as being in full flow.  A field ahead of us was thought of as an unusual but not uncommon in this limestone landscape valley.  A profusion of glacial drumlin hills, form by water under ice sheets had to be seen to be believed.
The warm showery weather had resulted in good growth of a stubble turnip crop, known as a “pioneer crop” because with the old grass sod completely dead, a new reseeding sward of grass can be sown next year.  Before we reached Lord’s Bridge, a fine view of Bolton Hall with its colour changing Virginia creeper was afforded.
After crossing Lord’s Bridge it was time for lunch.  No surprise to see a healthy bed of the invasive Himalayan Balsam plant.  Before reaching this lunch-stop, the question was asked, ‘Does anyone pull up the poisonous ragwort plant anymore, especially on roadsides?’  A reminder poster at many stiles we see is a reminder to keep dogs under control when walking through fields near cows with calves.  Three people have died this year through cattle stampedes.
Turning left at Bolton Hall, 17th century built, we walk through Westwood to Redmire.  Another clear reminder of a clear limestone water flowing stream was seen in the healthy growth of wild watercress.  From Redmire, after making way for the Hawes Creamery bulk milk tanker, we entered Thoresly Lane.  A delightful lane reminiscent of many a lane in the West-country, sunken and very shady.
We are on the Bolton Estate and passing empty farmsteads before dropping down to the lower Aysgarth Falls.  Hazel coppicing was once undertaken at Freeholder’s Wood, only a few yards from our car park return.

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