A circular walk from the picturesque village of Austwick, through Oxenber and Wharf Woods that come to life with carpets of bluebells in Spring and afford wonderful countryside views. Halfway around you can visit Elaine's Tea Rooms in Feizor.
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|Oxenber Wood, Wharf Wood and Feizor walk from Austwick, in the Yorkshire Dales
|Andrew Forrest - May 2023
|Walk start point:
|Market Cross in Austwick (grid reference SD 767 684).
|A limited amount of roadside parking is available in Austwick, but please park responsibly as Austwick does get busy, especially at weekends and bank holidays. There is also some limited parking on the road in to Austwick from the A65 near Austwick Bridge.
|Directions to nearest parking place:
|These are directions to the start at the market cross - you will need to find nearby parking – see above. Google Maps: get directions here / What3words: files.beaks.basically
|Estimated walk time:
|1 hour 55 minutes
|Moderate - as determined by our interpretation of the Ordnance Survey guidance on technical difficulties. This walk can be shortened as shown in the video.
|Peaks / summits:
|Ordnance Survey - Explorer OL2 (Yorkshire Dales - Southern & Western Area)
Buy this map from Ordnance Survey
|Facilities / refreshments:
|The Game Cock Inn and the Traddock Country House Hotel restaurant and bar are both within 100 metres of the start of the walk. Elaine's Tea Rooms are passed just over halfway round the walk in Feizor - check out the walk video for further details.
|The walk starts in Austwick in the Yorkshire Dales
|View accommodation close to the start of this walk from Sykes Holiday Cottages or Holidaycottages.co.uk
Estimated walk time
Walk time estimates used are from the Ordnance Survey mapping app, which uses a refined Naismith's rule, adjusted by OS overlaying their own data collected from more than one million people using the OS mapping app. Naismith's rule allowed one hour for every three miles walked and added pro-rata an additional hour for every 2000ft of ascent - roughly one hour for every 5km, plus one hour for every 600m of ascent.
Ordnance Survey Mapping App
Use on any device and make it easy to explore the great outdoors for just the price of a coffee a month. Premium allows full UK access to all OS Explorer and Landranger mapping, along with the ability to import and export routes, save maps offline, aerial 3D, and print A3/A4 maps.
This Oxenber Wood, Wharf Wood and Feizor walk from Austwick in the Yorkshire Dales takes approximately 1 hour and 55 minutes.
We leave Austwick by the Pennine Bridleway and then pass over the Flascoe footbridge heading up into Oxenber Wood. In April and May you are met with a beautiful carpet of bluebells with wonderful surrounding views.
Oxenber Wood is a designated site of special scientific interest and includes several areas of limestone pavement. As we exit Wharf Wood, there are views across in the distance to Pen-y-ghent on the horizon.
We then head along Feizor Nick track down into the hamlet of Feizor, and from Feizor we follow the walled Pennine Bridleway back to Austwick
This full Oxenber Wood, Wharf Wood and Feizor walk from Austwick is shown in the video and the route for the walk is shown on the Ordnance Survey map - both above.
Below is a brief description of the walk. Places where you can eat and drink after the walk are shown at the end of the video.
We are starting today's walk from the market cross in the centre of Austwick. There is some roadside parking in Austwick and on the road leading into it near Austwick Bridge. Please park courteously considering locals.
Market Cross in Austwick
Only the base remains from the original medieval market cross, with the pillar being a grade two listed replica from around the 1830s. Austwick itself hosts an annual street market and Cuckoo festival where the village is decorated with handmade cuckoos.
We leave the market cross to walk along the road, initially passing by the Cross Leigh Stores and Post office. On the side of the village store is an information sign telling you more about Austwick.
Cross Leigh Stores sell sandwiches, other food to go, bakery goods and hot drinks if you want something whilst you are on your walk.
Cross Leigh Stores and Post Office in Austwick
Continue along the road where we soon pass by the Game Cock Inn. Once past the Game Cock Inn, just keep walking along the pavement and then along the road.
Road past the Game Cock Inn in Austwick
After about 400 metres, just before the building on the right, we turn right off the road to walk down the Pennine Bridleway following the Feizor 1¾ miles footpath sign.
Turning off the road in Austwick along the Pennine Bridleway
Oxenber Wood is visible now straight ahead. A short distance further on, you meet and then pass over Flascoe Bridge, under which flows Austwick Beck.
Flascoe Bridge in Austwick over Austwick Beck
Walk on for about 400 metres, where you arrive at a path junction. We are going to continue straight on along the walled path here. The wider track to the right forms part of our return journey.
Path junction with Wood Lane (track)
Head straight on now along the walled Wood Lane track as it initially bends around to the left. After a couple of hundred metres, we turn right off this Wood Lane track to head up the walled footpath.
Footpath leaving Wood Lane (track) heading towards Oxenber Woods
But just before we do that, if you look around to your left, you can see Norber and the Erratics on the hill just to the right of Robin Proctor's Scar.
View across to Norber and Robin Proctor's Scar from path junction with Wood Lane (track)
Walk up along the walled path, where, after a short distance, we pass through a gate. From the gate we pass through the gate posts and head straight uphill along the path, keeping to the right of the wall.
Stop from time to time to admire the unusual terrain and views here near the old disused quarry. The pockmarks left on the landscape have now been overgrown with grass.
Old quarry in front of Oxenber Wood
Continuing along the path by the side of the wall, we soon reach and then pass through the next gate.
Gate through which path up into Oxenber Wood can be seen
Through this gate, if it's April or May, you get the first indication of the bluebells that lie ahead. We walk on for a few more metres to turn right uphill just before the information sign telling us about Oxenber and Wharf Wood.
Information Board heading into Oxenber Wood
From the Information Board, walk up the waymarked path.
Path climbing up into Oxenber Wood surrounded by bluebells
The woods are wonderful all year round but are even more special in April and May when the bluebells are out forming a carpet through which the footpath wends its merry way.
Carpet of bluebells heading up into Oxenber Wood
Looking back down the path over the bluebells towards Wharfe and Ingleborough from Oxenber Wood
Continue walking along the waymarked footpath.
After a couple of hundred metres, the path splits just before a wooden waymarker - take the wider right-hand path here. Looking behind, this extra height now affords us views of Ingleborough and Simon Fell on the horizon.
Path surrounded by bluebells, heading into Oxenber Wood
Looking back towards Ingleborough and Little Ingleborough from Oxenber Wood
Oxenber and Wharf Woods are historical wood pastures grazed at certain times of the year to maintain their rich diversity of plants that have adapted to the limestone soils.
This whole area forms part of the Oxenber and Wharf Woods site of special scientific interest and includes several areas of limestone pavement.
Limestone pavement in Oxenber Wood
Continue along the path through some trees.
As the path leaves the trees in this more open area, you can see a line of wooden waymarkers stretching out in front. This path continues on through Oxenber Wood and if you wanted to cut this walk short, you can go straight on here as you will meet up with our homebound path later on.
Path junction in Oxenber Wood
For now, though, we're going to leave this path here taking the left-hand path and then almost immediately left again, following the wooden waymarkers as we head around towards Wharf Wood.
Again, walking along this path, we pass by more areas of limestone pavement. About 400 metres after turning left, we reach and pass over a stone stile built into a wall.
Path through limestone outcrops in Oxenber Wood
Wall stile between Oxenber Wood and Wharfe Wood
Over the wall is Wharf Wood. Just continue ahead on the waymarked path.
If you have any thoughts about this walk or find there are any issues with any of the footpaths used, please share that with us in the reviews below.
The path through Wharf Wood is about 500m long and eventually reaches a stone stile built into a wall over which you can see Pen-y-ghent on the horizon.
Path through Wharf Wood
Pen-y-ghent over the wall stile exiting Wharf Wood
Just before the wall is another information board about Oxenber and Wharf Woods.
Pass over the stile and gate that are built into the wall. We now turn right to start heading along the track.
Pass through this next gate. Looking behind through the gate, which we passed through, you can see Pen-y-ghent again on the horizon, which along with Whernside and Ingleborough make up what is known as the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
Looking back at Pen-y-ghent over the gate on Feizor Nick track
Head now on the Feizor Nick track. The wood over to the right here is Feizor Wood.
Heading down Feizor Nick track
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After about 600 metres, as the track bends down to the left, ahead now is the hamlet of Feizor.
Looking down into Feizor from Feizor Nick track
Continue down the track and head through the next gate. Then, after about 200 meters, you pass by Elaine's Tea Rooms.
Not far past the tearoom, just before a short cobbled section, there is an alternative footpath back to Austwick on your right. If you wanted to walk back through the fields, it basically runs parallel to the path that we're going to walk down.
Looking along the alternative footpath route back to Austwick from Feizor
For now, ignore that and walk straight on along the road. A few metres further on around the next bend just before the road starts to rise, we turn right here off the road in front of the farm building.
We pass through the gate following the Pennine Bridleway to Austwick '1¼ miles' footpath sign.
Path heading down the side of the farm building at Feizor along Hale Lane
This track forms part of the Pennine Bridleway and A Pennine Journey.
The Pennine Bridleway is a 205-mile trail from Middleton Top in Derbyshire to Ravenstonedale in Cumbria, with its full length officially opened in 2012 by Martin Clunes, the then-president of the British Horse Society.
Whereas 'A Pennine Journey' is a 247-mile trail starting and ending Settle in the Yorkshire Dales and is based on a 211-mile walk Alfred Wainwright undertook in 1938 and then later wrote a book about it called The Pennine Journey - The Story of a Long Walk in 1938. The book was eventually published in 1986.
Heading along Hale Lane which forms part of the Pennine Bridleway between Feizor and Austwick
Continue along the track for about 500 metres, where you pass by a building which is Cat Hole Barn, after which the path becomes unsurfaced.
Over to the right ahead is Oxenber Wood again.
Looking over a gate from Hale Lane towards Oxenber Wood
After another 400 metres, by some ruins of Meldings Barn, another path comes in from the left. We just continue straight on here following the Pennine Bridleway Austwick footpath sign.
Footpath junction by building ruins at Meldings Barn
Walk over the footbridge and continue along the walled path.
Footbridge on Hale Lane
Walled path heading back towards Austwick
If you took the alternative path back from Feizor across the fields or cut the walk short in Oxenber Wood and then join that path, the stile that you pass on the right, about 250 metres after the footbridge, is where you re-join our path.
Having walked about 500 meters from Meldings Barn, we reach the path junction that we were at near the start of the walk.
Heading back towards Austwick with Norber and Robin Proctor's Scar ahead on the horizon
Path junction of Hale Lane and Wood Lane - we head left here
This time we will follow the wider gravel track around to the left. This gravel track is called Wood Lane.
Heading along the walled Wood Lane towards Austwick Bridge
After about 600 metres the gravelled track meets Greystonber Lane, which is one of the roads into Austwick from the A65 by Austwick Bridge. We turn right here to pass over the bridge.
Road over Austwick Bridge
We then pass by the Traddock Hotel, restaurant and bar to then head on the short distance back to the market cross where we started the walk.
Heading back towards the market cross
If you want somewhere to eat and drink after the walk, there are a couple of places within 100m or so of the market cross and Elaine's Tea Rooms is a half-way stop in Feizor.
The first place is the Game Cock Inn which we passed at the start of the walk. It serves good food with a French twist and has a range of cask ales. It is dog-friendly in the bar area, has some accommodation and has another beer garden at the rear. It also has its own bakery with desserts and pastries to take out.
Game Cock Inn in Austwick
You may notice on the video and the photograph the sign saying that the business is to let. Since filming this on the 16th of May 2023, I've read that Eric, the French chef and owner is now staying for a few more years, which is good news as I've had a few decent meals there!
The next place is Elaine's Tea Rooms, which was halfway around the walk in Feizor. It serves homemade food, homemade cakes and scones, and has a daily specials board, along with hot, cold and alcoholic drinks. It is dog-friendly and has seating inside and out.
Elaine's Tea Rooms at Feizor
The final place we passed just before the end of the walk was the Traddock Country House Hotel with a bar and restaurant. It has a brasserie menu, a lunch menu, a taster menu, and serves a wide range of drinks. I believe the Traddock is dog-friendly, but they are not allowed in the two restaurants.
Traddock Hotel and Restaurant in Austwick
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Check out the reviews for this walk: