Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales.

Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales.

He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales.

To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

THIS short walk of four miles (which can be easily extended) keeps to the lowlands north of Harrogate.

The walking is through the Mountgarret Estate along country lanes and some footpaths.

To the east of the A61 between Ripon and Harrogate lies some rarely visited walking territory. At least I had never walked there till a couple of weeks ago.

I arrived in the pretty village of Burton Leonard and just wanted to take to some Public Rights of Way and explore the area. Burton Leonard is a lovely village with two pubs and an interesting village store set around a village green.

It has a feeling of affluence and would be a perfect place to live for those working in Harrogate. I headed past the school and to a finger sign pointing due east in to the fields.

The path skirts some field boundaries before dropping through a wooded path with conifers on each side.

The path drops to a farm track where a permissive path is well signed and followed alongside some more field boundaries.

I was a little confused as the map has this as a Public Right of Way; it did not matter and I soon reached the idyllic village of South Stainley. The first building in the village is the Parish Church of Saint Wilfrid South Stainley, splendidly sat on some raised ground. It is worth a quick look inside. The village itself is very small.

Having explored the village return along the road to the church carrying on the rough lane leaving the church on your left. After some woodland the lane crosses a stream with some good views across to Stainley Hall Farm.

At regular intervals there are signs that you are walking in the Mountgarret Estate. The Mountgarret Shoot is very popular with pheasant and partridge shoots organized throughout the year. There is clearly other less organized shooting on the estate, it scared the pants off my dog as we passed near some woodland!

A fine story concerning the old Viscount Mountgarret has him fined in 1983 for shooting at some protestors in a hot air balloon with grape shot!

The lane bends to the left half a km from the bridge at the hall and then after a further three quarters of a km there is a choice.

The short cut back to Burton Leonard heads left past some old lime kilns, a farm and a small wildlife reserve.

However if you carry on for 1km to the end of the lane and then follow the road left then right you will arrive at the village of Copgrove with an interesting church.

Follow the footpath down to the small stream (a tributary of the River Ure) keeping the woods to your left before doubling back, initially along a footpath but soon a lane in to Burton Leonard.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 4 miles (extra two-and-a-half miles to include Copgrove)

Height to Climb: 100m (330 feet), extra 70 m (240 feet) on the longer walk.

Start: SE 327638.I parked alongside the green in Burton Leonard.

Difficulty: Easy. The walk sticks to good lanes with some footpaths. The signposting on the longer walk is less obvious.

Refreshments: The Royal Oak and Hare and Hounds are two excellent pubs in Burton Leonard.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 298 and 299) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors.