A STRAIGHTFORWARD walk from near Masham takes in a variety of attractive scenery and the fascinating stone circle (folly) of Druid’s Temple.

From Masham head out on the minor road to the small hamlet of Fearby.

Park in the village, near the pub, and head west for 200 metres.

Turn left at the school and drop down to the metal bridge over the River Burn. Follow the road to the right and in to the farm at Broadmires.

Continue along the lane, past three gates with the wooded area to your right; three quarters of a mile from Broadmires the track doubles back and starts to climb.

The fine building to the right is Leighton Hall.

The path you are now on is part of the Ripon Rowel Walk, a 50 mile long distance walk from the city of Ripon.

After passing through two small areas of woodland and the farm at Low Knowle the path arrives at the road at Knowle Lane.

Turn right and pass the car park in to the woods that house the Druids’ Temple. The Temple was commissioned in 1820 by William Danby and is a simple folly.

The design was inspired by Stonehenge, but is a temple 100 feet long with 10 feet high stones and an altar for sacrifices. To create ‘the druid’ Danby hired a hermit to live in the temple for seven years without speaking to anyone and to allow his beard to grow like the druids of yore. Unfortunately the druid stayed lonely for four years and who can blame him.

Return to the car park and before the start of Knowle Lane take the footpath to your right.

The footpath drops steeply down towards Sole Beck with a slight kink as you pass through High Knowle Farm.

Before arriving at the pretty stream turn left above the woodland. Follow this through a gate for 300 metres to a road.

Cross the road and continue along an intermittent footpath (sometimes muddy) for a further half a mile till the path divides. Take the right hand path that crosses a footbridge and climbs steadily as it crosses the shoulder of the higher land.

At Stonefold Farm follow the lane to the main road bridge over the River Burn. Over the bridge is an old Corn Mill, Healey Mill.

Climb up the road and return past the school and on to the Black Swan.

Masham is looking particularly festive as Christmas is approaching, and as this is no more than a half-day walk it is worth making a day of it.

On Saturday, December 22 there is planned a torchlight procession.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 6 miles

Height to Climb: 250m (820 feet)

Start: SE 191808. There is parking opposite the café (but do visit it on your return).

Difficulty: Moderate. The walk not long and sticks to paths that at this time of the year may be muddy.

Refreshments: Either visit the Black Swan in the village or travel back the 2 miles in to Masham.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 298 & 302) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.