Hackfall Woods lie between Masham and Ripon near to the village of Grewelthorpe in North Yorkshire and has a chequered history. Mentioned in the Doomsday Book and at various times belonging to Knights Templar, the estate of Fountains Abbey and sold by Henry VIII following the dissolution of the monasteries it was bought by John Aislabie in 1731. Member of Parliament for Ripon and owner of Studley Royal which forms part of the Fountains Abbey lands he was Secretary to the Navy and later Chancellor of the Exchequer. He accepted a bribe (said to be worth £20 million in today’s money) for which he was found guilty and imprisoned in the Tower of London before returning to North Yorkshire in disgrace. He died in 1742 when his property and lands passed to his son William.
William set about transforming the woods creating an ornamental landscape using the natural beauty of the river and surrounding area. This included Fisher’s Hall, built in 1750 from tufa and thought to be named after his head gardener.
Just one of the ruins and follies to be enjoyed on an enchanting walk through Hackfall Woods.
For more information visit http://www.hackfall.org.uk/
Words and photographs Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller