Cover Bridge - Thornton Steward - Jervaulx - Cover Bridge

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History and religious connections are prevalent throughout this walk, beginning with the ancient Ulshaw Bridge built in 1674. A wonderfully simplistic sundial inscribed with that date stands in one of the bridge's pedestrian refuges. The River Ure (flowing down from Wensleydale) and the River Cover (flowing down from Coverdale) merge 100 yards downstream; the strategic placing of Low Danby Mill was testament to the power of their combined forces. Charismatic Danby Hall is set in a tranquil estate of open parkland with rolling pastures and magnificent old trees. The views across to Witton Moors and the hills stretching back up Coverdale are sensational.

The route passes through rich pastureland and leads to the tiny simple Church of St Oswald's, dating from at least the 11th Century. Step inside and a fascinating story unfolds: thirty bodies dating from the 7th to the 10th Century were discovered near here in 1996. A gravestone in the churchyard is a poignant memorial to them.

The village of Thornton Steward is as fascinating as its church and the information board, illustrated by local artist Jo Stockdale, highlights the village's history. Continue through lush fields to the grand old arches of Kilgram Bridge and be sure to lean over the parapet and quietly watch the dark silky water. We saw a kingfisher when we mapped this walk and the following week saw a bat flapping backwards and forwards in the autumn evening as he hunted tiny insects just above the water. Suddenly he in turn was victim, as a small elegant merlin gracefully grasped him from above and then flew away with him!

The next short stretch of road is quiet and rural, but you soon turn off at the gate lodge and enter the ancient estates of Jervaulx Abbey. French Cistercian monks established it in the 12th Century and the old fish lake and the extensive earth mounds are clues to their way of life. Today its skeleton still has the power and ambience of a great building and it is worth a detour.

The abbey tea rooms may be open; otherwise continue down the road to the track towards the river. A relaxing, peaceful riverside walk takes you back to Cover Bridge; the inn there offers a selection of the best ales in the area!

England - North England - Yorkshire - Yorkshire Dales - Wensleydale


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Good for Kids, Great Views, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
05/06/2016 - Max Taylor

Did this walk again with family in May 2016. Excellent day out, excellent walk and I can confirm the Village Hall in Thornton Stewart is still open for tea making and use of Toilets. Well done and thank you Thornton Steward!! Lots of wild life visible (including good sized hares) so keep dogs on the lead - but despite that there are opportunities for letting your dog off, especially on the return walk alongside the River Ure.

15/09/2014 - Phil Catterall

This was a super easy walk completed by 15 members of Ryedale Walking Group on 14 September 2014. We rambled around the abbey itself late afternoon (suggested fee £3 per person). This was a more natural experience than a visit to the old Abbeys which have been taken over by the National Trust and English Heritage which can be rather 'sanitised'. At Thornton Steward the village hall at SE 176871 is still left open for walkers to enter and make themselves a cup of tea as mentioned by Max Taylor in 2012. There are biscuits also and we took advantage of this, making a donation in the honesty box.

12/10/2012 - Max Taylor

Excellent walk undertaken 5 Oct. - very well signposted and instructions clear. We had a dog with us; at times he needed to be on a lead (and you must observe sensible precautions in a sheep rich environment), but on the whole a good dog friendly walk. Jervaulx makes a very good lunch point, and the abbey tea room has good cakes. The Church Hall at Thornton Stewart has toilets and tea making facilities for 'ramblers' to use. A quite easy walk, but full of interest.

06/05/2009 - Stephen Rowe

My wife and I did this walk 3/5/09 very enjoyable, easy to follow instructions although Gatehouse to Jervaulx estate now has a new fence round it. I would still like to know the significance of the earth mounds???

12/10/2008 - David Turnbull

We have just got back from this walk. We enjoyed it a lot a well placed tea shop at Jervaulx for cake and a good walk for autumn colour. Thank you

29/10/2007 - Paul Paintin

Combined this with 2623, coming from Middleham on that route and joining onto this one. Great days walking introduction to the area.

11/10/2006 - Walkingworld Administrator

This walk was checked and updated October 2006.

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3.1 Miles