Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Masham Circular - Wensleydale Walkings

Of course a mention of the town of Masham has you immediately thinking real ale - not suprisingly as it is home to the Theakston and Black Sheep Breweries. I went there to discover another side to the town too, as I was interested in trying out some new walking country.

This walk starts near the hamlet of Fearby, a couple of hundred metres away from the Druids Temple, built by William Danby, the squire of Swinton. The countryside around Masham is much gentler than the Dales further north, rolling fields, rivers, hills and woodland offering pretty and contrasting views.

The start of the walk is on fairly high ground and gives a great view over to the east with the hills of the North York Moors looming in the distance. As soon as you set off the varied landscape never fails to impress - the horizon changes as you cross each field and stile and past sections of woodland. One moment you cross large lush pastures accompanied by sheep and the North York Moors.

A couple of stiles later you are gazing up into distant hills of the Yorkshire Dales with Wensleydale just beyond. These looked magnificent with their dusting of snow on the tops.

As you cut back down towards the Fearby road, you are back in the sleepier more rustic world of the Dales, with drystone walls, gentle valleys and quiet villages.

Finally after crossing the road and heading back into the hills, you are back into a wilder countryside, where pasture becomes moorland and the moss has conquered the walls, alongside Sole Beck, which feeds into the river Burn.

Alongside the dry stone walls, ancient stone barns appear and almost disappear into the surrounding countryside, so much they appear to live in harmony alongside nature.

The wet woodland was home to all kinds of flora such as these patches of giant mushrooms appearing at the foot of the trees

A muddy trek back across farmlands brings this fine circular walk to a close. Just a short distance away is the Druids Temple and my next post will give you an small insight into this mysterious place.

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