Follifoot and Spofforth

Rudding Gates in Follifoot near Harrogate

Since starting up my outdoor shoots again I’ve been concentrating on local subjects (generally where I can walk to!) with finishing off the selection of images for my 2022 calendar range in mind. One such local walk took me to Follifoot and, as it was a lovely day, on to Spofforth and back to Knaresborough via Plompton. I’d estimated this as about nine miles by glancing at the map – but in practice it turned out to be an eleven mile hike!

Church of Saint Joseph and Saint James at Follifoot, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Church of Saint Joseph and Saint James at Follifoot, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

The walk took in part of the Harrogate Ringway, skirting Rudding Park through the golf course and arriving in Follifoot through the churchyard at the pretty little Church of Saint Joseph and Saint James.

Saxon Cross and Rudding Gates former entrance to Rudding Park Estate in Follifoot

At the centre of the village there’s further evidence of the proximity of Rudding park with the impressive Rudding Gates, a former entrance to the estate (now separated from the rest of the park by the by-pass). On the village green there’s also an impressive ancient Saxon cross.

Ruins of Spofforth Castle in Spofforth, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

From Follifoot it’s a pleasant walk along the River Crimple to Spofforth, where I arrived near the impressive ruins of Spofforth Castle, a fortified house built on a rocky outcrop.

Rock outcrop forming one wall at the ruins of Spofforth Castle

In fact, you can step through one of the upstairs windows right onto the gritstone to gain an interesting view of the interior of the building!

Church of All Saints at Spofforth
Church of All Saints at Spofforth

Also worth a look in Spofforth is the grade II* listed All Saints church and its churchyard, which is partly grazed by sheep (thought they were all hiding under a tree out of the sun on my visit).

John Metcalf or Blind Jack Memorial in the churchyard at All Saints Church Spofforth

The graveyard is home to the memorial to Blind Jack of Knaresborough, famous local roadbuilder, which is also a listed building! It took me a while to find it – so if you’re visiting have a look in the porch of the church first where you’ll find instructions on how to locate the headstone…

View from Birkham Wood towards Knaresborough

I took a different path across the Crimple Valley on my return, passing numerous gritstone rock formations along the way to Plompton and beyond, by which time I’d already figured that my nine-mile estimate for the distance of the walk was probably a bit short! At Birkham Wood, however, the landmark of Holy Trinity church spire could be seen on the horizon indicating it was the last stretch back to Knaresborough.

You’ll find all of the images from the shoot in the North Yorkshire gallery on my website.

About marksunderland

Mark Sunderland is a retired landscape and travel photographer still taking the occasional photograph! For image licensing and prints see

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