Do you enjoy a pleasant country stroll? How about one with a mystery? Then why not visit the beautiful town of Richmond in North Yorkshire and follow a circular walk from the Castle Gates in the footsteps of the famous Drummer Boy? Though hopefully you’ll get further than he did!
Legend has it that, many years ago, probably at the end of the eighteenth century, a previously undiscovered tunnel was found to lead away from Richmond Castle and towards the hamlet of Easby, where there is a ruined abbey.
Eager to discover the exact route and destination of the tunnel, but too big to fit down it themselves, soldiers persuaded one of the regimental drummer boys to go down, with instructions to walk along the tunnel whilst continually beating his drum, so that the route could be followed above ground.
The drum’s beat could be plainly heard leaving the enclave of the castle, heading across Market Place and along Frenchgate, to the banks of the River Swale and heading towards Easby.
However, about half a mile from Easby Wood, the drumming ceased – and was never heard again. Did the tunnel end there? Had the roof collapsed? What happened to the Drummer Boy?
The answers to these questions have never been discovered and the only marker of the tunnel above ground is the Drummer Boy’s Stone, pinpointing the spot where the drumbeats of this poor unfortunate lad were last heard.
To complete the walk, continue along the footpath to the picturesque ruins of Easby Abbey (now in the hands of English Heritage) and admire the scene so romantically painted by the famous artist JMW Turner, explore the nooks and crannies and perhaps visit the church of St Agnes next door. Picnic, perhaps, on a glorious sunny afternoon.
And then return along the route of the old railway, well used by walkers and cyclists alike. Perhaps visit the wonderful Richmond Station, now a cinema, restaurant, art and crafts venue – something for everyone- and then climb back up into the Market Place of this glorious old town.