Round Howe and Billy Bank Woods trail
This walk takes you over the banks of the River Swale and along woodland tracks. You'll see fields that are being managed for wild flowers and steep sided hills cloaked in ancient woodland with distant views of Richmond. There are plenty of places to sit on the riverbank for a picnic and you'll even be able to skim stones in places!
Perfect for families
This is a great walk for families, with plenty of open space for running, playing and picnicking.
Round Howe car park
Leave the car park by crossing the bridge across the River Swale and turn left through a gate at the far end. Continue along a surfaced path surrounded by trees, with the river on your left, until soon you will emerge onto more open ground.
The Swale is one of the fastest rising rivers in England. People once said that the Swale “rushesh rather than runneth”. Its name is Anglo-Saxon, Sualuae, meaning “rapid and liable to deluge”
Continue along the now unsurfaced grassy path and through a kissing gate. Keep the river on your left. You'll see an open grassy pasture on your right
An abundance of flowers
The National Trust is working with its tenant farmer at Hudswell Woods to graze this area with Belted Galloway cattle. This light grazing, mainly over the winter months, will help to encourage more variety of flowers to grow by their eating the taller, rougher vegetation.
As the river turns sharp right you will see a large pebble beach. Standing with the pebble beach behind you continue along the diagonal path that crosses the pasture to the woodland edge.
Great for a picnic
This is a super spot for a picnic and trying your hand at stone skimming
Billy Bank Wood climbs steeply on your left. Do not enter the wood, but follow the footpath keeping the wood on your left. Continue on through a kissing gate then bear left and follow a smaller path through rough pasture. This separates Round Howe Wood on your left and Round Howe, the steep conical wooded hill on your right.
The woodlands around here are a mix of trees planted around 150 years ago and others that have grown naturally beforehand and since then. We help care for these woods by selectively felling some trees to encourage further new ones to grow and by ensuring that all walls and fences can control livestock.
The path continues around steep-sided Round Howe through flowery grassland and alongside massive hazel trees that at one time grew in a hedge boundary. You'll soon rejoin the riverside path where you'll turn left to make your way back to the car park
The term Howe comes from haugr - hill or knoll in old Norse. It's thought that during the ice age glacial action caused the Swale to follow the channel you are now following.
Round Howe car park
You made it
Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.