Places to Visit in North Yorkshire
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Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk

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The video below is pertaining to the Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk. In this episode we continue where we left in part one and commit to a reasonably short circuit walk around one of the most spectacular houses just north of York in North Yorkshire.


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Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk

The reason we have began at the gatehouse arch is because it lies at the end of the same street as the church with an enormous spier, making it easier for you to find. During the pandemic, it may not be the best place to park owing to the villagers safety. However, the walk remains open at present.


A Short Woodland Walk

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


From the street, follow the public footpath sign around the arch (or through the arch if unlocked) and head through a woodland area. As any other woodland in England, you can discover all manner regular birdlife here. This walk is great to do in summer when the trees are heavy with leaves as it serves as a shady venue in the hot sunshine. The last time I did this walk was in winter at sunset, and it was amazing.

The wooded path winds it’s way around trees and stumps with the light shining in through the treetops. Many people walk their dogs around this circuit walk so this is a great walk to do if you are gifted with a beloved canine companion. However, the regular rules apply such as keeping them on leads when livestock are present, and clearing up their mess.

Behind the trees on your right you’ll notice a large expanse of green grass. In some sections of the grounds, livestock are grazing and some parts of the grounds have electric fencing to contain the animals. They do not exist on the walk that we are doing today however.

On your left you will notice a narrow lane beside you which is actually route 65 cycleway to Easingwold and Boroughbridge, and we see the junction to this shortly. The route is called New Road but it is rare to see any motor vehicles on there as it is specifically for cycles.

We tend to use our eyes at eye level, but it is good to have your wits about you and look into the trees from time to time. You just never know what you might miss. On any walk such as this one, it is recommended to be vigilant because wildlife doesn’t always wear a neon sign to grab your attention.

The walk is extremely pleasant especially between April through to October, and even in the winter months there is much to gain. There is a visitor centre as well as a restaurant and farm shop and you don’t need an admission to enter them. The admission allows you through to the house, gallery and gardens, and the gallery contains some stunning pieces. But then, much could be same for this walk too!


Out in the Open

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


The National Trust who own and maintain Beningbrough Hall and grounds have assisted the route with some markers to help you, but it is very difficult to get lost in any way.

As the route now right-angles to the right, you are walking alongside an enormous green space that is adorned by random trees. Here you might see rabbits running through the grass as well as other wildlife. This is a particularly scenic section and at sunrise and sunset can make some outstanding photography.

At this point, you will begin to see the stunning Georgian house, Beningbrough Hall. During the current Coronavirus lockdown the hall is sadly closed, otherwise I would have been tempted visit today. Still, it comes heavily recommended under normal circumstances.

The Georgian Mansion was built in 1726 by a York landowner known as John Bourchier III. There is actually a Bourchier Knot engraved into a lawn adjoining the house. By 1827, the estate came to be in the hands of Reverend William Henry Dawnay. This may sound familiar as the public house in Newton on Ouse is the Dawnay Arms. However, he died by 1846 and the house was left to his second son. The house became somewhat neglected and it was feared that he may have to be demolished, but by 1916 it was restored by a wealthy heiress. During the second world war, it served as accommodation for the RAF. The estate was taken over by the National Trust in 1958 and of course is still in its care today.


You’ve Been Framed

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


Certainly the fine art begins outside the gallery when you can frame Georgian architecture in an extremely lifelike painting. Of course, this is also true of the reverse side of the frame too.

Yes, the trick is to stand well back as far as you can so that the frame is smaller and the house fills in more of the frame. In any case, always a fantastic view.


Last Views of the Front of the Mansion

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


Do not be surprised if you see cows and sheep in the grassy expanse in front of the hall. Livestock is seeable throughout the year and today is no different. This area is officially known as Beningbrough Park and when open, it also makes a great walking route through.

Not only does the house have a grand drive, but also inside it has cantilever stairs as well as Baroque interiors, which is simply a style of art from the 17th century through to the early 1740’s.

In a style that never changes, we continue to walk along the shady path heading towards the driveway where we can continue to take in some amazing views of the park.

As a rule, I try to encourage closing gates, but these gates you don’t need to worry about as they are pinned back. That makes a change!

Just through a small gate on your left, it is worthwhile having a look at a small pond. There is another gate back to the path at the other side. I also noticed some wild flowers in this section such as this popular Red Campion here. In any case, the pond is extremely still and reflective this morning making it worth having a look.

A few more footsteps along and you’ll come to a small picnic area where you can sit and rest. Obviously, during the Coronavirus pandemic, use it with caution and don’t overdo it with the tea and coffee.


Parking at the Park

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


Aforementioned, during the pandemic and in the interests of the villagers, it is probably best to park and the small car park we are now approaching. Of course, if you are walking from Overton such as in part one, you would have to park there. The Reliance number 29 bus has been suspended owing to the lockdown, but when operational it can take you back to Skelton and onwards to York.

Beningbrough Hall also has a visitor centre, restaurant and garden shop which you can see on the left of the driveway, and on your right as you walk along this particular path.

You will also encounter another frame on this section of path and sadly, probably the last view of the front of the house at this point. Having said that, the rear of the house is just as grand.

There is also a wooden seat in which to sit and take in the scenery as well as the fresh air. These garden seats make a fabulous place to have a rest for a moment or two and fortunately this particular seat is situated in a shady section making it all the more inviting.

However, there are also some seating that is not as sculptured as others, and I am sure this tree trunk is just as comfortable, for both humans and he grey squirrel.

One particular shrub you may not have expected to see is this Pontic Rhododendron which takes me back to our walk around Moorlands Nature Reserve.

In actual fact, I discovered that the section isn’t closed, so instead of walking up the drive, I walked through the woodland instead. This takes you out to the path down to the River Ouse, and the car park if taken the opposite direction.

This particular area is quite nice in winter when the Snowdrops are out, creating some spectacular woodland photography. Still at the end of the path, its right for the river, left for the car park.


Let’s Go to the River

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


Opposite the car park you will see the entrance to Beningbrough Hall as well as Beningbrough Lodge. You will also see the beginning of the Route 65 cycleway to Easingwold.

The car park is free to use except you can donate a couple of pounds to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance in return for parking. You simply pop your coins in the secure yellow box. The public right of way to the river is on the right hand side of this.

Again, this section is shaded by the overhanging trees, yet you have open fields on the left of you that makes some satisfying viewing.

If you have watched part one, you will notice the buildings belonging to the Red House Estate at Moor Monkton we encountered last time. This will indicate where about you are in the grand scheme of things.

Of course, at this time of year when the trees are heavily adorned with green leaves of all shapes and sizes, you sometimes have to lower your level to get underneath. However, on this path it is generally pretty easy.

So far, we’ve had some amazing views with some interesting features thrown into the equation. We’ve encountered parkland, woodland, pond life, as well as a Georgian Mansion. The scenery has not ended yet. There is far more to come including the River Ouse, mature trees, the merger of two North Yorkshire rivers, a Victorian water tower, as well as the rear of Beningbrough Hall. This is what makes this trail a compelling rural walk.

You’ll shortly see the kissing gate and the junction to the River Ouse walk that we explored in part one. So if you have come from Overton, this is where you would start the circuit walk.

Well, just to let you know they did take me that far. Along with shooting this video and walking the dog later that day, I managed to accumulate 13 miles. Suddenly, the expression ‘my feet are killing me’ takes on a whole new meaning.

One feature I didn’t expect is the cows lined up on parade. These are the best trained cows I have ever seen in my life. I almost expected them to begin marching around the field in sync.


Beningbrough Hall’s Waterfront

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


When using this section of the walking route, please take care of exposed roots in the path as they can be a tripping hazard. Although trees are not so much a problem for us, they certainly are for someone else. Watch this space!

To be honest, I am more concerned about these cows as they seem to be following me in formation.

At this point, other than cows and trees, you will get to see the River Ouse. At the moment, the Ouse level is very low owing to lack of rainfall. In winter, it can be very much the opposite and flooding can occur. In such times of course, the walk may be inaccessible. In any case, this is not a problem for us today nearing the end of May.

The branches of the trees form a leafy archway over the path beneath, serving as a natural protection against the sun’s rays. Behind them of course, you get to see the reverse side of Beningbrough Hall and surrounding parkland.

As in part one, you will notice that both sides of the river have walking routes so don’t be surprised to see people and dogs across stream. No doubt the path on the opposite bank will take you to the River Nidd which we meet up with shortly.

On one particular occasion, the path dips significantly, possibly owing to erosion. In any case, it serves as an easy challenge that adds a little interest.

The River Ouse gives some fantastic views. The still waters again return some stunning reflections and tranquility. However, don’t forget to glance through the trees from time to time to get a view of the Georgian Mansion.

In a climate such as we have today, boat owners thrive on the River Ouse. You will often times see boats, including narrow boats, traverse the still waters of the river. In fact, as the geese, ducks and swans will tell you, it’s the boats that disrupt the river’s stillness.

There’s a variety of trees in the area but at this time of year, the Horse Chestnut’s blossom stands out above the rest. Most if not all of these trees of course are very mature. Sadly, however, some have collapsed owing to high winds. This certainly meets someone’s attention very shortly.

Walking under the canopy of the shady trees above and seeing the bright vista beyond, is almost like looking out of the window of a darkened room. Still they serve a valid purpose under the intense sun above today.

As for wildlife, don’t forget to listen out for the woodpecker. When the trees are heavily adorned with dense leaves, woodpecker are a little elusive. Yet, I was told by a local this morning who has been walking this route for around 50 years, that there are green woodpecker in the area. There are also bullfinch and goldfinch in this area too. In fact, in the banks of the river are some small holes which belong to some local sand martins.


Beningbrough Hall’s Water Feature

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


Probably the most eye-catching landmarks on this section is the merger of two Yorkshire rivers, the Ouse and the Nidd. The boat that passed earlier has hit a snag because one of the trees on the opposite bank has fallen over the River Ouse preventing it from travelling further.

At first, I thought this boat had accidentally grounded when turning around. I even questioned a local dog walker about it. Apparently however, you can park, for want of a better term, a boat like this. And I was about to name this ship the Titanic II. The big give away of course was the other boats that travelled upstream social distancing alongside it.

As you can see however, the more narrower River Nidd approaches the Ouse creating an expanse of water. Two markers prevent boats from travelling up the Nidd and getting stuck. The Ouse almost right angles to the left after this point, where the offending tree is.

Unfortunately, owing to the given circumstances, we now have four boats berthed in a grounded fashion at the opposite side of the River Ouse, making the entire intersection look more like a marina.

However, nautical problems aside, you will also see a display board about the Tamsy Beatle. These are on the decline yet found in this area. They have a green sheen to them so keep your eye out for them! In this region of the river, you may spot curlews, kingfisher and as mentioned green woodpecker. However, in summer you may even spot salmon spawn in the dales in the river as well as otter. So be vigilant!

On junction of the two rivers is a small private mooring and on our side, there are gaps between the trees that reveal Beningbrough Hall in the near distance. When you consider the landscape surrounding, it is hardly surprising how John Bourchier would construct a mansion here. With the merger of two notable rivers with surrounding woodland, it must have been an enchanting place to build a home.


An Unexpected Victorian Tower

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


As the river continues, the Ouse bends around to the right greater than a right angle, as it heads towards Newton on Ouse. The trail is still very shady owing to the overhanging trees providing a cool respite. However, this time, the woodland is also on the opposite side of the river too. In my opinion, from the point of the two merging rivers onwards, is the most scenic part of this riverside walk.

You also receive some more fuller views of the house from here when there are obvious gaps between the trees. The river bank is adorned with the glowing flower clusters of cow parsley and the leafy shadows fall on the path you are walking upon.

When it is a hot day such as today, it is vital to wear a hat, especially if you are receding. In part one, I intentionally kitted myself out incorrectly with lightweight shoes and shorts. When I returned home, I had nettle stings and my feet were aching. Forgetting my cap also caused problems too. Therefore, it is always a good idea to wear proper walking attire for both the activity and the climate. Having said this, the circular walk today is relatively short in comparison to walks we achieved last year in 2019.

If at any time you are feeling unwell, find a shady area under a tree and take some water. Always rest for as long as you need to. Some useful apps I have installed on my iPhone is What Three Words to help emergency services locate you, as well as the British Red Cross First Aid app incase you run into any difficulties. This is a reasonably safe walk to do as it is very popular and of course only 3 miles long.

On the Nun Monkton side of the Ouse you will see another large mansion but this time of a more modern construction. As I understand it, it had ties with the Morrison family pertaining to Morrison’s supermarkets.

You might reason that the River Ouse level will be even lower before merging with the Nidd but in actual fact, there seems to be no apparent difference, except for the fallen tree that hindered nautical travel.

As you walk further beside the river, you will come across a structure that you would possibly least expect. Much of the water systems we have in place today were originally constructed by the Victorians. In fact Lendal Tower in York was the site of an old Victorian pump house. However, here we see a construction that looks more like a watch tower than any form of plumbing. This building is a Victorian water tower and pump house that provided water to both the hall itself as well as the skating pond that was used by the Dawnay family. Yes I did say skating pond, and yes it is referring to ice skating.

Even though the tower is more modern than the hall, it has been constructed in the same colours as the main house. What I find interesting is that the Victorian’s have constructed it in more of a castle style and almost looks as if it has a defensive purpose. Of course, it is more ornament than defensive, and only served as a pump house to take water from the Ouse. On the weekends in favourable season, there is a ferry service heading westwards to Nun Monkton.


Returning to the Arch

Beningbrough Hall 3 Mile Circular Walk


Walking past this tree helps you to realise just how enormous these mature trees are in diameter. The tower marks the last leg on this particular walk because Newton on Ouse and the gatehouse to Beningbrough Hall is not far from here.

The treelined path winds its way with the Ouse just a little further before reaching an enormous green space. If you want to find out more about Beningbrough Hall by the way, you can visit their website which is www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beningbrough-hall

In the distance you soon see the green space peering underneath the branches of the trees. You can go a little further along the riverside past the village of Newton if you prefer. However, the path leads you back to the entrance of Beningbrough Hall where we began our walk.


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