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Circular from Richmond through Low Bank and Billy Banks Woods


A circular walk from the market town of Richmond. From the obelisk in the Market Place, the walk heads down to the river Swale. Low Bank and Billy Bank woods are then walked through before crossing the river and climbing a rough track, which affords panoramic views over Richmond and to the castle before returning to the start.


Parking: In the market square in Richmond. There are also many pay and display car parks close by in Richmond (grid reference NZ 171 008).
Directions: Nearest post code for Sat Nav: DL10 4QF - get directions here
Walk distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 Km)
Estimated walk time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Height climbed: 200 metres
Grade: 1-B: A short walk that requires modest uphill walking
Peaks / summits: None
Wainwrights: None
Map: Ordnance Survey - Explorer 304 (Darlington & Richmond, Egglescliffe & Gainford)
Buy this map from Ordnance Survey
Walk features: Birds, Building of interest, Café, Church, Flowers, Pub, Stream or River, Toilets, Views, Wildlife
Facilities / refreshments: Toilets, pubs and cafés near the start in Richmond
Nearest town: Richmond
Walk Tags: Walk, walks, Richmond, Richmond walk, Richmond Castle, Low Bank woods, Billy Bank woods, Hudswell Woods


The market square

Wrought iron lamp standard

The walk starts at the Obelisk in the Market Place. The obelisk, built in 1771, marked the location of Richmond's water supply. From the obelisk head out of the top corner of the square past the Talbot public house and follow the road around then steeply downhill following the white sign stating "to the river". New road bends around to the left and becomes Bridge Street. On the left hand side of the road there is an antique iron standard lamp. This wrought iron lamp standard (circa 1800) was originally lit by oil. In 1821 the Richmond gas works started and from 1830 the company was paid £75 per annum to light the main streets with gas. A gas pipe was added to this standard.

View from the bridge

The Culloden monument

This was also the site of a water point (circa 1782). Here local people got their water before each house had its own supply piped from the water tank under the obelisk in the market square. The water used to gush out of a lead pipe into a stone trough overflowing and running down in to the river below. Head down and at the bottom of the hill, continue straight ahead over the bridge. Immediately over the bridge, turn right by the first wooden public footpath sign, which leads down to the riverbank. Up to the right here, the Culloden Tower can be seen, which was erected to mark the victory at Culloden. The building on the left used to be the Good Intent Inn. The Deakyn Trust, a charity founded in 1555, restored it in 1996.

Wooden footbridge with waterfall behind

Continue along the riverbank path before taking the left hand fork as the path splits. This wide path slowly climbs up some man made steps in to the trees of Low Bank Wood. After a few more minutes walking, the path again splits, but this time take the lower right hand fork and follow the path around and over a wooden footbridge. Immediately after the footbridge, take the path downhill down the man made steps. At the bottom of the steps turn left following by the side of the river. These woods here now are Billy Banks Wood.

The riverside path

The path continues heading upstream to the left of the trees which surround the riverbank. The riverbank here meanders in a large curve around to the left. There are other paths which cross this area, but just keep close to the riverbank. After a few hundred yards, go through a smaller wooden gate, attached to a larger wooden gate and continue ahead. The path now becomes a little firmer underfoot as it is partly gravelled and passes down an avenue of trees. At the end of this go through the wooden gate and then right over the stile.

The woods straight on and to the left here are Hudswell Woods. The National Trust owns these woods. The woods are 134 acres of mature semi-natural woodland, and are rich in wildlife and plants. Ash and Wychl are the natural type of woodland here, but other species such as sycamore, oak, beech and some conifers, notably scotch pine and larch have been planted. The River Swale is reputed to be the fastest flowing river in England and in spate causes erosion to its banks. Resident birds include mallard, goosander, dipper, kingfisher and pied wagtail, with common sandpiper and sandmartin in the summer.

Over the stile, cross the bridge and enter out into a car park, which has an accompanying picnic area and toilets. Leave the car park and turn left up the fifty yards to meet the main road. Cross over the road (A6108 to Leyburn and Reeth) to the pavement on the far side and turn left along it. Pass over a small bridge over a stream and almost immediately turn right up a rough lane, which heads diagonally right away from the road. Pass through a metal gate and as a house comes in to view about fifty yards ahead on the horizon, turn right up a steep rough track, known as Green Lane.

View back across to Richmond Castle

The track heads up hill steeply for a few hundred yards, but affords excellent views over to Richmond and the castle to the right. The path bends around to the right and flattens. Shortly afterwards at a house, it bands back around to the left and continues upwards until it enters out on to a lane. Turn right along the lane and head back along this towards Richmond. This lane affords excellent views of Richmond and the surrounding area and the route from here back to the market square is part of the coast-to-coast walk (St. Bees to Robin Hood's Bay). The lane enters in to a more residential area before joining the main Reeth road at a T-junction. Turn left here, and immediately cross the road. Take the first right a few yards further on down Cravengate, then turn left into the cobbled Newbiggin and pass the front of St Joseph and St Francis Xavier catholic church. As the road bends to the left around the Unicorn public house turn right into Finkle Street and back in to the market square.

The view along the lane

View down in to Richmond


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