Walk: A country estate wander with a glimpse of soap stars

Sunday, 21st August 2016, 6:00 am
A map of the route. This week's walk is courtesy of the Walking Englishman

Apart from doing the fantastic walk around the estate, you can explore the gardens inspired by the noted garden designers Edwin Lascelles and Capability Brown. You can also visit the Bird Gardens that includes a wide range of exotic birds kept in environmentally designed enclosures. The more active can then choose a visit to the adventure playground and also take a boat trip across the lake. Finally you could take a tour of the collections in Harewood House itself. The house has contains a good selection of fine art and period furniture.

This walk provides a suitable and fitting preamble to all the choices of activities on a day out at Harewood House.

The route

The walk around this immaculately managed estate starts at the entrance gates to Harewood Estate near Cote Hill on the A61 Leeds to Harrogate road two miles north of Leeds Grammar School.

At just short of five miles the walk can be enjoyed in two hours but I would recommend you allow yourself three for there are many places to stop and take in the splendour of this illustrious estate.

The first mile is a particular example. It takes you in a westerly direction towards New Bridge and the first encounter with the superb woodland but you won’t want to hurry as this first section provides excellent views of Harewood House itself. The view across from the path is majestic.

After a leisurely amble you eventually reach New Bridge and walk into Piper Wood. More stops immediately occur as you take time out to relax and watch the waters of an estate stream cascade over small falls on their progress to the estate lake. You are looking at the work of Lancelot Capability Brown who designed the grounds of the estate.

After a good viewing, move on through the woods. As you walk you pass the site of the set of the television soap opera Emmerdale Farm. A purpose built village was built on the grounds of the estate in the late 1990s to isolate the popular soap opera from the prying public. Yes, the fictional village of Beckindale is really hidden in the Harewood Estate!

It is well camouflaged from this walk by high walls and discretely planted trees though, so roof-lines are all you’ll see. If you feel disappointed don’t be, for a far more impressive estate village is to come on this walk.

So far you have been walking on the Leeds Country Way designed footpath through the estate, but now leave it to walk due north and out of the woodland at Carr House. You are now on the Ebor Way that eventually leads to York. At Carr House you see the first close sight of the estate lake known as the Fish Pond.

Walk into the estate village of Stank. Despite its unappealing name, the village of Stank is in the most quiet setting. The houses are all stone built and so beautiful.

Move on once more and continue on the Ebor Way alongside The Grove and then take a short detour to visit the church hidden away within the estate. The 15th century church much restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1862-63 is in a magnificent quiet setting. The interior houses a collection of alabaster tombs and effigies depicting the English history of Medieval Armour. The church is open to visits from April to October.

After leaving the church grounds and returning to the walk, head along a walled drive between the church and Harewood village. The final stage of the walk passes the main entrance to Harewood House and then follows the lovely woodland path through Wall Side Plantation back to the starting point.