Hackfall, between Ripon and Masham, is one of Yorkshire’s most important historic designed landscapes. Conceived in the 18th century by John Aislabie, Hackfall was a major tourist attraction in the late 18th and 19th centuries and visitors including Turner and Wordsworth flocked to the area. The woodland was the perfect background for the paths and vistas, numerous romantic follies and water features along the wooded valley. However by the early years of the 20th century Hackfall was almost lost forever due to a lack of maintenance, and ponds, weirs, follies and paths had become badly damaged and lay forgotten.

The consultant team worked together to oversee the implementation of the works, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore key aspects of Aislabie’s designed landscape, facilitate public access and improve habitat quality.

The HLF funded capital works comprised:

  • Opening up a number of views and vistas across the woodland
  • Repair of Mowbray Castle
  • Repair of the weirs, cascades and some of the ponds
  • A series of repair and drainage works across the network of paths
  • Restoration of the Fountain and Fountain Pond
  • Restoration of a number of the smaller folly buildings including the Rustic Temple, Grotto and Kent’s Seat
  • The Alum Spring, an extraordinary natural tufa spring, has been revealed
  • Creation of a parking area to allow safe access and a drop-off point.

Approximate Map Location


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