Walk SE 5878/01 Ampleforth and Wass
This walk explores the south-western corner of the national park, starting in the village of Ampleforth, then visits Byland Abbey and the tiny village of Wass before climbing up the southern escarpment of the Moors to visit Shallow Dale and the prehistoric monument of Studfold Ring.
Length: 7 miles
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL26
Last Walked: 18 April 2009
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There is roadside parking in the western half of Ampleforth village, in the vicinity of the fish and chip shop.
1 (SE 582 787)
Head west along the main street in Ampleforth (with the steep bank to the right).
2 (SE 572 786)
We follow this road as it climbs up out of the village onto the flanks of Knoll Hill. After a short level patch we reach the top of Jerry Carr Bank, where we turn left onto a footpath that runs diagonally across three fields to reach a footbridge across Holbeck.
3 (SE 569 783)
On the far side of the bridge follow the path that runs diagonally to the right across the next field, heading for the right (western) end of some woodland. This brings us to a field with a steep hill on the left and a barn to the right. Skirt around the edge of the hill, keeping the barn well to the right. At the top of the rise a small enclosed pond comes into sight. Head to the left of this pond, and then follow a farm track that runs along the left-hand edge of the next two fields.
4 (SE 563 782)
The straight section of track brings us to the edge of a large grassy field with Wass Grange to the right and the slopes of Hessle Hill to the left. The map shows the right of way following the track up to the Grange and then back to the hill, but the footpath is now signposted as cutting across this corner, so head across the field heading for the left-hand flank of the hill. The path then curves around to the right, running between a fence and the edge of the hill. The path continues into the field directly ahead, where the fence becomes a thick tall hedge. Continue along this hedge until we reach a stile that is slightly hidden and cross this stile to enter the field to the left.
5 (SE 558 781)
The path runs diagonally to the right across this field. In the spring of 2009 the field was split into several sections, so the path ran right alongside the hedge for a short distance, then cut diagonally across the corner of the field heading for a stile at the foot of a long thin hill. Follow the path as it runs along the top of this hill, heading for a small stone ruin.
6 (SE 553 782)
Turn right at the ruin and follow the path down the northern slope of the hill. The path crosses two fields and then passes through a hedgerow and turns left to run along the foot of a slope, with the hedge to the left, heading towards Byland Abbey. At the abbey turn right and follow the path as it runs along the eastern side of the ruins, then at the corner leave the ruins and continue in the same direction to a stile that leads onto a road.
7 (SE 549 790)
Cross the road and head up the drive of Abbey House. After a short distance turn right onto a signposted footpath that crosses a small field in front of the house and then emerges into a larger field, with a steep slope to the left. Follow the path as it runs diagonally across this field to the far left corner, where there is a very well placed bench. Cross over a stile behind the bench and then continue along the path as it curves around to the north and heads into Wass.
8 (SE 552 794)
Our path brings us on onto a minor road at the western end of Wass. Turn right and follow this road to the crossroads in the centre of the village. At the crossroads turn left and follow a minor road that climbs up a steep wooded valley.
9 (SE 560 803)
After about two thirds of a mile the road leaves the wooded valley and climbs up more gently between open fields, heading towards another line of trees. At this tree line turn right onto a track that heads across the field towards an isolated farm house. Just as the track curves around to pass to the left of this house a footpath is signposted leaving to the left, running along a narrow grass field. Follow this path through the field and then as it drops down through a band of trees.
10 (SE 565 797)
At the edge of this band of trees we emerge at the top of an open field, looking down on a farm house, and next to a well situated stone seat. Drop down the slope towards the farm house, and then turn left to head towards a track that comes into sight soon after passing the seat. Ignore the farm gate leading from this field onto the track and instead head for a small gate a little further to the north. Follow the track as it heads north away from the farm towards the top of Shallow Dale.
11 (SE 567 798)
Follow the track as it curves gently around to the right and crosses the stream that runs through the dale. Watch for a footpath that leaves to the left at the point where the track turns sharply to the right. Turn onto this footpath and follow it as it enters a forest and climbs up alongside Drakendale Gill.
12 (SE 570 799)
Our path brings us up to a forest track. Turn left onto this track and then follow it as it curves right around the hillside and then straightens up to head north through the forest.
13 (SE 572 808)
At the northern edge of the forest the track curves away sharply to the left and runs parallel to a minor road for some way. Just as the track begins to curve look for a shortcut that crosses the ground to the right and leads up onto the road. Turn right onto the road.
14 (SE 583 799)
We stop on this road for about two thirds of the mile, most of the time with Pry Rigg Plantation to the left and open fields to the right. About half-way along this section of road walking we pass a band of trees around Studfold Farm, and the prehistoric
earthworks of Studfold Ring comes into sight. We continue along the road until we approach a second band of trees on the right. Just before the trees a signposted footpath leaves to the right, heading down a long but very narrow field. Half way down this field expands to include the Ring, which is well worth a careful look. After that continue down the field to the far end, where a stile leads into the next field. Follow a farm track that runs along the right hand side of this field, then turns sharply to the left.
15 (SE 581 794)
A short distance after the track turns to the left, we turn right and cross a stile that leads into the field to the right. Our path runs south along the left-hand side of this first field. In the second field the path moves a little away from the hedge, heading for a point just to the right of a line of bushes that run half away across the far end of the field. Our path then runs alongside a narrow field, heading for the top of the steep bank above Ampleforth.
16 (SE 580 789)
At the top of the bank our path turns into a track, which curves away to the left and drops down towards the rear of a house. Our path leaves this track at the point where the curve begins, and drops down a steep grassy slope to a stile that leads onto the large drive to the right of the house. Follow this drive as it runs south past the house and an outbuilding, and then turn left through the drive gate onto a lane that runs down the hill back onto the main street of Ampleforth.