Round Howe and Billy Bank Woods trail

Walking trail

This walk takes you along the banks of the River Swale and through rough pasture behind Round Howe. 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.

River Swale meandering through Hudswell Woods


Path around the fields near the River Swale


Round Howe car park (Pay & Display)


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 rough surfaced path surrounded by trees, with the river on your left. Eventually you will emerge on to more open grassland.

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The River Swale flows beneath Round How Bridge


Bear left along a now unsurfaced grassy path and through a kissing gate. Keep the river on your left. An open grassy pasture opens up in front of you and the path skirts the edge of the pasture along the riverside. Kingfisher, dipper and grey wagtail are often visible on this stretch of river.

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Belted Galloway cow at Hudswell Woods


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 and another kissing gate (do not go through the gate).

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Sunlight shining through trees at Hudswell Wood


Billy Bank Wood climbs steeply on your left. Do not enter the wood, but follow the footpath back through the pasture keeping the wood and craggy cliffs on your left. Continue on through a kissing gate then bear left and follow a smaller path through rough pasture. This path separates Round Howe Wood on your left and Round Howe, the steep conical wooded hill on your right.

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Hudswell Woods from Across Swaledale


The path continues in the little valley around steep-sided Round Howe through flowery grassland and alongside massive hazel trees that grow on old medieval field boundaries. You'll soon rejoin the riverside path and come to the entrance area at the end of the footbridge that takes you back to the car park.

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Barn in top fields in the beautiful Hudswell Woods meadows


Round Howe car park

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Round Howe and Billy Bank Woods trail


This walk is mainly over level, smooth terrain.  There is a short length of surfaced track at the start otherwise it is on open grassy paths.  In summer it is firm and dry, though in winter it can get very wet and muddy, particularly around the back of Round Howe.  The river banks are steep in places and occasionally fall away from the path edge.

The River Swale can be fast rising so take care during and after heavy rain.

There are steep slopes and occasional rocky outcrops in the woodlands.

At certain times of year there may be cattle grazing the open grassland. Please be vigilant when walking near livestock, especially those with young. Try not to get too close and keep your dog on a lead under close control. If approached by cows, move away as carefully and quietly as possible, and if necessary let go of your dog's lead and let it run free, the dog will outrun the cows.

Round Howe and Billy Bank Woods trail

How to get here

Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, DL10 4HG
By road

From the east - follow the A6108 from Richmond in the direction of Reeth.  You will find Round Howe car park a short distance along this road on your left just as you leave the town.

From the south - follow the A6108 from Leyburn. You will see the car park on your right, just before you enter the town.

By bus

Use the 31B bus - Round Howe car park stop is listed on the bus timetable as "Richmond Caravan Park"

Round Howe and Billy Bank Woods trail

Facilities and access

  • Toilets in Round Howe car park 20p fee
  • Cafes and tea rooms in Richmond
  • Pub in Hudswell village
  • Wet and muddy after heavy rainfall, particularly in winter.