Yorkshire Walk - Castle Howard
PUBLISHED: 00:19 04 December 2013 | UPDATED: 17:04 13 September 2018
Feast on wonderful views in and around the grounds of one of Yorkshire’s finest country houses
This is a walk of two halves, either of which could be enjoyed separately by using the arrow-straight Avenue which cuts through the Castle Howard estate. However, taken together they make a varied circuit of the house and its monuments ending with a final flourish of a ridge with panoramic views.
Start from the large lay-by on The Avenue at the northern end of the Great Lake and just before the crossroads to Coneysthorpe. Walk up to the crossroads and turn right through the village. After the last house, go through a white gate on the right following a signpost to Welburn. Take the hardened track heading towards woodland with views of the palatial house away to your right. Designed by John Vanburgh for the Earl of Carlisle 300 years ago, it has been selected by Lonely Planet as one of the World’s Top Ten Mansions - and with good reason. It is stunning building in a jaw-dropping setting amid the Howardian Hills.
At a T-junction after two fields turn left continuing along the track. At a junction of tracks continue along the main one signed to Bog Hall and following Centenary Way signs. When it reaches the farm it weaves between the buildings, directed by a discreet yellow arrow on a Dutch barn.
As you leave the buildings behind the first of many monuments, the Temple of the Four Winds comes into view on a hilltop to the right. The track snakes through fields and woods until suddenly, after crossing a bridge, the domed Mausoleum appears atop its own hill. At the next farm turn right on a track heading slightly uphill, still signed Centenary Way. When it meets a tarmac lane, turn right. Walking along this road the next monument is the unmistakable Pyramid. Continue along the lane until it reaches The Avenue at the Gatehouse.
If doing the walk in two halves this is the time to turn right along the road to return to the car park.
The full walk, however, turns left through the archway and after about 300 yards take the cart track on the right heading into woods signed to Bulmer. Where the track narrows continue along the footpath to emerge in a large field. Follow the path ahead for a few steps and then turn left to go round the edge of the next field to reach a country lane.
Turn right heading for Brandrith Farm. Immediately beyond it take a gate on the left and a path signed Terrington. It crosses fields before dropping down past fish ponds. Immediately after crossing the stream take a stile on the right and continue beside the stream crossing some awkward and idiosyncratic stiles. The path follows the edge of the wood climbing out of the dale until it reaches a pedestrian gate in the wire fence. Go through this and walk half right aiming for a broad gap in the fence a few yards up the field with a yellow arrow almost lost among the trees on the left. (Note: not the gate in the top corner of the field). Stay in the valley bottom, crossing several more fields and ignoring a footbridge heading into the undergrowth on the right. The path arrives at a gate and lane. Turn right to quickly arrive in Ganthorpe.
Cross straight over the road and walk about 50 yards into this charming hamlet before taking a bridleway on the left. This follows a narrow route through woods and past ponds to curl past a hedge and through a metal gate. Continue ahead to the right of a small wood in front. Ignore the first path and instead press on across the field. At the wire fence on the far side turn rightwards along it to the wood and then left to follow the edge of the wood to a lane.
Turn right and within 25 yards a bridleway sign points up through the trees on the left hand side. A short climb gives onto a forest road which is followed leftwards for a couple of hundred yards until a bridleway on the right leads towards Slingsby. Follow this through delightful woodland to climb the tree-covered slopes to the crest of the ridge. Turn right along this, now again part of the Centenary Way, which is followed all the way back to Coneysthorpe. Along the way it gives breathtaking views over the vale to the north and the Moors beyond. It crosses a road and about two thirds of a mile further on look out for a gap in the hedge on the left which marks the path down the steep slope to Coneysthorpe. Turn right along the main road through the village to the car park.
Start/finish: Lay-by on The Avenue near Castle Howard’s Great Lake
Time: 5 hours
Terrain: Field paths and farm roads
Refreshments: Castle Howard tea shop
Map: OS Explorer 300 Howardian Hills and Malton