Hackfall Woods Walk. A historic woodland walk in North Yorkshire, near Ripon

cascading waterfalls in hackfall woods
Lush foliage surrounding cascading waterfalls in Hackfall Wood

Best Woodland Walk in Yorkshire?

I came across the Hackfall Woodland walk in an article on the Guardian website called 'Readers Best Woodland Walks' - and Hackfall Woods was the winning tip - so thinking it must be a good!, I made a note of it to visit at some point, as I live in Hartlepool (North-East England) (not too far away - about 1hr 15min drive to Hackfall) and I'm always looking for new walks and places to visit in the area

Here's the winning description from that Guardian article:
"Hackfall Wood is deep in a ravine with a churning river at the bottom. What makes it different are the follies that were dotted around the landscape by William Aislabie, son of the creator of the nearby Fountains Abbey garden, in the 18th century. They have just been restored – but only partly, which leaves the place with an air of mystery so that it feels like you're discovering it for the first time. At twilight on an autumn day it's magical"

view towards the Vale of York
Hackfall Wood is in a deep ravine - with the River Ure cutting straight through it

Visit Hackfall Woods

Having now visited the place - I highly recommend it as place to enjoy a short wander around, which can be done in around an hour or longer if you chose to explore more of the pathways and stop off at the various follies and interest points. I would imagine it's also a great place to take children as there are lots of things to keep them interested and I guess the place would seem a little magical to them - and probably more so if you have a good imagination to explain all the follies, ruins and castle! I guess you could even stretch the walk out a lot further if you choose to walk to it from Masham along the river. 

Masham incidentally would make a good place to grab a bite to eat and maybe a cheeky beer as there are a few pubs in the village (a brewery if you fancy more than one beer :-) and even some local craft/antique shops to pop into. Check out www.visitmasham.com for more info.

Useful Hackfall Wood Information:

You can find out a lot more about hackfall wood on this link www.hackfall.org.uk

Map, Routes and Leaflets: There are printed leaflets with maps of the walking routes and points of interest in the small car park for Hackfall Wood - which are a great idea and very useful. The leaflet has 4 ideas for different walking routes - short/easy/flat to more longer ones with climbs. The leaflet can also be viewed as a pdf here www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/our-woods/hackfall/documents/hackfall-walks.pdf with the actual map from the leaflet below:

hackfall wood, leaflet, map, route, walks
The map from the Hackfall Wood leaflet produced by the Woodland Trust, copies of which are in the hackfall car park.

Some photos documenting my walk around Hackfall Wood:

hack fall wood car park
The car park is easily found on the road south from Masham to Grewelthorpe

Really useful info point and even some free leaflets to plan your walk

Here you have the choice to go straight on through the gate and down the field to Limehouse Hill and the Sandbed Hut - or to see the views from Lovers Leap and the Rustic temple - go right on the path which is in the bottom right of this photo.
No much of a view from Limehouse hill in Summer when all the leaves are on the trees!

beach on the River Ure!
First glimpse of the Sandbed Hut

beach on the River Ure!
Didn't think I would be sitting in the sun on a beach today!

The Grotto for a little sit down if you need it

Glimpse of Forty Foot Fall

The Grotto as you approach the Fountain Pond

hack fall wood, fountain
The fountain on the pond - which apparently comes on every 15 minutes.
You can just about see the Ruin up above overlooking the fountain.

Child friendly seating!

Fishers Hall

I wasn't aware that there would be so much water flowing through Hackfall Wood - and Grewelthorpe Beck was a cracking place to delve down into and take some photographs of its cascading waterfalls and lush foliage. The beck wasn't the most accessible part of the walk though and did result in some very muddy and wet boots! Worth it though as I think the photos above and below are my favourite shots from the walk and I'll be whacking these on the photography section of my web-site at www.stuart-hodgson.com/experience-nature.html

Mowbray Castle

The stepping stones crossing to Alum Spring
Waterfall at Alum Springs

Alum Spring - beautiful unique place - it didn't seem real

The Ruin

hack fall wood, vale of york, view, walk
Fantastic views from the ruin over towards the Vale of York

More Great views can be seen from Lovers Leap

That wraps that walk up - hope you found the blog post interesting & useful and decide to visit Hackfall Woods yourself - trust me it will make a great day out for a walk. I'll be planning to come back in the autumn when the rusty leaves on the trees give the place a different atmosphere.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions - just post a comment and I'll try and answer. 

Blog Post by Stuart Hodgson, 'The Hiking Photographer'

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Useful Hackfall Woods Links:

Hackfall Woods: You can find out a lot more about hackfall wood on this link www.hackfall.org.uk

Woodland Trust: Information on hackfall woods can be found here http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk

Other local walks & places of interest:

Studley Royal

The Aislabie Walk: This is a website which has a number of walks which take you through Hackfall, but also onto other places like Studley Royal www.aislabiewalk.org.uk/

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal: A World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal is a huge estate of beauty, contrasts and surprises including the largest abbey ruins in the country and one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens. www.fountainsabbey.org.uk/



  1. Looks a fantastic place and would love to go for a walk there

    1. Hi - it is a superb place for a woodlands walk. I hope to go back again in the autumn when the trees turn a different colour :)

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