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River Swale meandering through Hudswell Woods
The River Swale | © Seb Mankelow
Yorkshire

Round Howe and Billy Bank Woods trail

This trail explores the banks of the River Swale and the rough pasture behind Round Howe. The circular trail takes in fields of wild flowers, steep hills cloaked in historic woodland, and views of Richmond. It's perfect for families as there's open space for playing, plenty of places for riverside picnics, and prime spots for skimming stones.

Rising water levels

The River Swale can rise very quickly after heavy rainfall. Its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word 'Sualuae', which means 'rapid and liable to deluge' and it's been said that the Swale 'rushesh rather than runneth'.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

Reeth Road Parking car park, Richmond, DL10 4TJ. Grid ref: NZ159009.

Step 1

Head south out of the car park and across the bridge over the River Swale before turning left through a gate at the far end. Continue along a rough surfaced path surrounded by trees, with the river on your left. You'll eventually emerge onto more open grassland. Bear left along a grassy path.

Kingfisher (Alcedinidae) on the River Test
Kingfisher in flight | © National Trust Images/Richard Bradshaw

Step 2

Keep the river on your left as you continue along the path that skirts the edge of the pasture along the riverside.

Step 3

As the river takes a sharp right turn, you'll see a pebble beach in front of you. Standing with the pebble beach behind you, continue along the diagonal path that crosses the pasture to the woodland edge, where there's another kissing gate. Don't go through the gate. Instead follow the footpath back through the pasture, keeping Billy Bank Wood and craggy cliffs on your left.

Step 4

Continue on then bear left and follow a smaller path through rough pasture. This path goes between Round Howe Wood on the left and Round Howe, the steep conical wooded hill, on the right.

Step 5

Continue along the little valley path around Round Howe, through flowery grassland and beside large hazel trees that grow along old medieval field boundaries. You'll soon rejoin the riverside path. Cross back over the footbridge that will take you to the car park and the end of the trail.

End point

Reeth Road Parking car park, Richmond, DL10 4TJ. Grid ref: NZ159009.

Trail map

Path around the fields near the River Swale
Round Howe and Billy Bank Woods trail map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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