HOME TOURIST – Walking around Harewood House

As you might recall, the original Leeds Book Club Trio will be taking a little walking holiday next month. In order to get myself all prepared, I’ve been trying to get out for longer and more challenging walks.

This afternoon, Jess (@BookElfLeeds) and I headed out to Harewood House to try the AA Harewood Treasure House walk. At 6.4 miles (10.4km) it’s our longest walk together (I think) but we couldn’t have hoped for a more beautiful day – radiant sunshine, a hugely varied landscape and shimmering blue skies; accompanied by a constant soundtrack, thoughtfully provided by bees and birds.

As before, we weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the weather or the beautiful countryside – it was lovely to come across others (some on horseback) enjoying the same route.

Parking in a lay by down a little way from the main entrance, we darted across the road and started towards New Laithe Farm, pausing only to let the slowest herd of sheep pass by.

Hollin Hall and the pond (tried to take a video, but must have double tapped) is just gorgeous – we both of us fell a little bit in love (and have immediate plans to seek it out should we a) win the lottery or b) survive the zombie apocalypse). We kept our enthusiasm fairly quiet so as to not disturb the many anglers!

Then we came across a beautiful tree. And Jess hugged it. As is her way.

I found a view.

Farming areas are always so much fun to visit – they have very creative gate solutions!

Soon we emerged onto the Harewood estate itself. Just…wow.

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It is just perfectly situated (which lead to this whole Mr Darcy appreciation session. We were nearly melting in the sunlight – having something to distract us was a necessity, Honest). There was this mad moment when a riderless horse galloped by, ahead a herd of cows, who were enthusiastically if somewhat aimlessly running after it. (The rider emerged a second later and retrieved the horse) Quite exciting actually. (Don’t judge).

From farmland to lush woods.

To bridges, streams and lakes

We took a mis-step in our directions at some point along the Leeds Country Way – can’t tell you when or where it happened – but it turned out to be a lucky moment as we inadvertently stumbled upon one of the filming locations for Emmerdale Farm.

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Jess (who has a better navigation sense than I) twigged that we were off the beaten track before we walked too far and our return trek brought us a swooping soaring Kite as a reward.

Assisted by a pair of friendly horseback riders, we found our track once more. Trying to hide my more than slightly aching back and throbbing legs, I started wittering on about the herd of deer that I knew lived on the estate and how much I’d like to see one, though I didn’t expect to, but I’d like to. Pure Witterage. We crossed a patch of wood (where we spotted a pheasant ) and spotted ALL of the deer. They were a little distance away…but definitely deer.

Hooray! It was just the boost we needed for the final push up the hill and into Harewood village. We were all but done.

Now, it was such a glorious day that it seems churlish to quibble about anything but the last stretch down the main road back to the car was TERRIFYING! The verges are over grown at the moment (probably for some very good reason) and the road is a speedy one. So with cyclists and cars flying past, the pair of us already tired and hot …it was a little nervy-making.

Some soothing deer

Once we got back to the car we took stock. All in, we covered 7.6 miles (12.2 km) in 3 hours and 1 minute (that last minute counts dammit – it was excruciating!). We immediately vowed to seek out ice-lollies (I had a twister – it was heavenly) and collapse. But the walk itself was very pleasant and the heat definitely played a part in our feeling so zonked. On a slightly more temperate day, I think that we wold still have ached but a touch less!

We are going to try and get a 10 miler in before we head off in July. Every part of me aches if I’m totally honest with you but I’m feeling really optimistic that we’ll be grand. 🙂


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