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I have a number of reference books in the guest lounge for guests to use when planning walks. In each room there are plans of the area from the house to Aysgarth and Askrigg, showing walk suggestions and copies of these and other walking pamphlets can be picked up for a couple of pounds in Hawes and Aysgarth.

A book I particularly like is by Paul Hannon, entitled Short, Scenic Walks in Upper Wensleydale. It consists of 20 walks of 5 miles or less, with 12 of them based within 7 miles to the west of Thornton Lodge and 8 within 7 miles to the east. None of these 20 walks include the several that can be started from the doorstep, many of which offer stunning views of my favourite hill - Addlebrough. All of the walks in his book are located within the area shown above and some of the walks can be identified from the names on the map. Addlebrough isn't named but you can see  a hill with a big circular top just below the T of Thornton Rust and above the C of Carpley Green - that's it.

His walks are : (if it's underlined i've found a link to information about the place. you can click on it and it'll open in another window, with this one staying open on your device).

1) Wether Fell.  4 miles. 'A remarkably easy walk to a 2000ft felltop, tracing a Roman road and enjoying views over wild country'.

2) Aysgill Force. 3.5 miles. 'A simple stroll in the valley of Gayle Beck, with an impressive waterfall as its focal point'.

3) Gayle and Burtersett. 3.25 miles. 'A simple ramble along delightful fieldpaths to two interesting villages'.

4) Hardraw Force. 4.5 miles. 'Charming fieldpaths lead to a famous Dales landmark'.

5) High Clint. 4.75 miles. 'A bracing stride with wide panoramas from dramatic heights: needs a clear day'.

6) Around Yorburgh. 3.5 miles. 'An easy climb to colourful uplands, encircling a table-top hill with extensive views'.

7) Cam High Road. 4 miles. 'Glorious views from grassy moorland paths, and an atmospheric length of historic Roman road'.

8) Semerwater Circuit. 4 miles. 'A very easy ramble around an upland lake'.

9) River Bain. 4.25 miles. 'A lovely walk through the Bain's short valley, with big views on the return'.

10) Under Addlebrough. 4.5 miles. 'Excellent, varied walking on the flanks of an iconic hill'.

11) Whitfield Gill. 4.5 miles. 'Two spectacular waterfalls for the price of one!'.

12) Nappa Hall. 3.5 miles. 'A delightful stretch of riverbank leads to a splendid old house, with lovely views on the last leg'.

13) The Ure to Woodhall. 3.75 miles. 'Tranquil riverbank walking to a peaceful hamlet, and a bracing open return'.

14) Aysgarth Falls. 4 miles. 'Wensleydale's best known waterfall takes centre stage'.

15) Bishopdale Villages. 4.75 miles. 'Lovely fieldpaths around delightful villages at the foot of Bishopdale'.

16) Ivy Scar. 4.5 miles. 'Absorbing features in quiet limestone country'.

17) Bolton Castle. 4.75 miles. 'Moor-edge pastures lead to a majestic Wensleydale landmark'.

18) Templars Chapel. 4.5 miles. 'Easy walking from a lovely village, on splendid old tracks giving massive views'.

19) Thoresby landscapes. 4 miles. 'Peaceful rural surroundings to an outstanding Dales village'.

20) Preston under Scar. 4 miles. 'Fieldpaths lead to an old village on a terrace high above the valley'.

Harvey maps have produced a pamphlet in conjunction with the National Park Authority which  has 8 walks between Askrigg and Aysgarth featured on them. Each village sits around 3 mile either side of Thornton Lodge and the house is shown and named on their map A. Their walk number 5 is started from our village Institute in Thornton Rust and is 8.5 miles long and named Rust & Busk. Part of the walk is on Lady Anne Clifford's Way.

If you follow a different footpath from the Institute in Thornton Rust you cross Gill beck just near Flout moor Lane, which is part of their walk number 4 entitled 'More of the High Ground', (and is 7.5 miles excluding the getting to and from the house, which would add an extra couple of miles in total).  If you turn left when you enter onto the lane, in 3 fields distance is Castle Dykes Henge. If you continue up the lane to where it runs onto the moor, there is a way sign pointing westwards back to Thornton Rust (if you go South you can quickly join the walk number 4 mentioned in the previous paragraph). If you follow the grass track on the Thornton Rust trail you get the most amazing view of Addlebrough. Addlebrough is a wonderfully picturesque flat topped hill that sits directly behind Thornton Lodge. It has a permissive route to its summit and takes around 90 minutes to climb to the top from the house.  As with many of the walks in Wensleydale, it's very possible to spend those entire 90 minutes walking without seeing another human. Once up there it's a total joy to wander about, enjoying panoramic views of Semerwater if you walk to the west. On the eastwards facing slope is a little cairn type protrusion at the end of a dry stone wall you access by climbing a very tall stile. If you go to the left hand side of the wall and climb down the slope 10 feet or so, there's a really comfy bench the landowners hauled up the hillside back in 2005. I could sit on that bench all day. It was indeed a joyous moment, a few years back when my son shouted up to me to come and see what he'd found as we'd always been in the habit of eating our picnic sat on the wall near the cairn - or in the snow as we did one February half term...

The Harvey Maps has a map B, which also shows the house, but without its' name, in the bottom right hand corner - the house sits 1 mile from the hamlet of Worton, which is part of their walk number 6, entitled 'Both sides of the valley' and is 7.5 miles , so 9.5 miles to walk from the house. This particular walk goes through both Bainbridge and Askrigg and so provides ample oportunities to stop for food. The walk can also be shortened by around half by heading back towards Worton from Askrigg. As Askrigg is around half way on the route if walking from Thornton Lodge, it's possible to choose to do either the east or west half of the circuit. It's also feasible to walk from Thornton Lodge to Askrigg to do the walk number 3 - 'Hidden Waterfalls' which is only 3 miles ontop of the walk to Askrigg and back. The Harvey maps were £4 each last time I  bought some and are sold in the National Park visitors centre and in the newsagents in Hawes. The National Park Centre at Aysgath is around 3.5 - 4 miles from Thornton Lodge and so, for peope who like longer walks, it's also possible to do the walks number 1 & 2 on the pamphlet, entitled Church, Chapel (and Theives?) which is 3.25 miles long and Woods and Waterfalls which is 3 miles long, each on top of the hike from the house. Most people take their cars to the falls, which allows them to do the circular walk to Castle Bolton, which is around 6 miles if done the way I suggest, but the aim of my paragraph is to give ideas for walking from the doorstep. Anyone walking to or near Aysgarth Falls really needs to drop in to see my lovely friend Jayne at the Mill Race teashop on the bridge. She and her daughter are amazing bakers!

 

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