Water Water Everywhere

A walk from The Royal Oak, Ripon | 8 or 4¼ miles

The canal south of Ripon is a delight. Spot wildlife in the wetlands, watch narrowboats as they negotiate the locks and discover the film set-like canal basin. This route also includes hidden corners of the River Skell with views of the cathedral plus a footbridge just down river which leads you to and through the cathedral yard.

The picturesque village of Bishop Monkton is also well worth a visit not least for the beck that runs through it spanned by no less than seven little bridges. You also walk through the peaceful hamlet of Littlethorpe.

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The majority of the outgoing route follows very quiet roads and includes two field crossings. The return along the riverbank and canal towpath makes for easy walking and navigation. Halve the route by catching the bus to Bishop Monkton and walking back (see 'Short of time' section).


Turn right out of The Royal Oak then left down Duck Hill. Turn left onto B6265 then right at the roundabout onto King St. Cross bridge, then before church turn left onto footpath.

Bear right at the next bridge onto Bondgate Green, then first right onto Bondgate Green Lane. At the end turn right onto Dallamires Lane to pass the leisure centre. At crossroads fork left up Knaresborough Rd.

Turn left down Littlethorpe Lane. Where road ends continue down path to cross bypass. Follow the lane as it winds its way into Littlethorpe. At church turn right onto Pottery Lane for a mile.


As the road bears right in front of the Fairfield chicken farm continue ahead on a track towards the barn, bearing left and through a handgate. At the giant concrete rings turn right to walk through a field of saplings - and often chickens!

Go through a handgate, cross the track and proceed to the right of a fencepost along the cart track. Cross the culvert, go over two stiles and along the path between a hedge and fence to the road. Turn right to explore Bishop Monkton.


To continue walk turn left onto Boroughbridge Rd. At village sign turn left through handgate onto footpath. Go through metal gate and follow left edge of field.

Go through another handgate to reach river then turn left and through metal gate to proceed along the bank and over gated footbridge.

Pass through kissing gate to reach Oxclose Lock.


Go through the gap beside the gate and continue ahead on the Tarmac lane. Cross the canal via Rentons Bridge and go around the gate to continue north.

Pass Nicholson's Bridge and over footbridge to pass Bell Furrows and Rhodesfield Locks.


Follow the path beside the B6265 and through the underpass eventually to enter the canal basin. Leave the basin by turning right at the yoga studio. Turn right briefly onto the B6265 then first left down an unnamed minor road.

At the end cross the river via the footbridge and continue ahead up the road. Turn left down the High St Agnesgate, then immediately right through the gates and into Ripon Cathedral yard.

In front of the cathedral continue ahead down Kirkgate back to The Royal Oak.

Short of time?

The full route is 8 miles, but if you have limited time, take bus 22 or 23 from Ripon bus station to Bishop Monkton and walk back from point 4 on the map (see leaflet), making a distance of 4¼ miles. The bus leaves every two hours or so and the journey takes 16 mins. See transdevbus.co.uk.

And what about lunch?

The Royal Oak, Ripon. Homely, stylish 18th century coaching inn with eight bedrooms. Visit on a Sunday to enjoy one of the family roast boards which you carve yourself at the table. Advance booking necessary.

What are the best bits?

Bishop Monkton: Dates back to AD 661 when it was part of the monastic community of Ripon; hence the name. The beck that runs right through the centre is a lovely spot for a halfway rest. A cornmill, rebuilt in 1784, lies to the east of the village.

Ripon Canal: The canal opened in 1773 and initially carried flax for the Knaresborough linen industry as well as timber and coal. Today it's the northermost canal connected to the English waterway system.

Ripon City Wetlands: Bring your binoculars and look through hides on the canal bank to spot bitterns, avocets, little ringed plovers, kingfishers and otters among the reedbeds and in the water. Run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Ripon Canal Basin: The cobbles, warehouse and forge give this corner of the city a timeless feel. It was reopened in 1996 after restoration.

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