A family walk around RSPB St Aidan’s

St Aidan’s RSPB Nature Reserve is the hidden gem of East Leeds (although lockdown brought a lot of new visitors!). It is a brilliant place to come with families, with a number of walking routes around the reserve.

St Aidan’s is a preserved wildlife area looked after by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), so there is a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere and birdwatching is particularly rewarding here.

St Aidan’s also sits right next to the canal, so there are plenty of options to extend the walking up towards Methley or towards Woodlesford, which both offer excellent places to eat or enjoy a drink.

A map of the possible routes through St Aidan’s Nature Reserve is provided here, but do be aware that the trails aren’t marked in colours/ signs- so you need to pay attention to where you are headed. Another consideration is that after significant wet weather, the causeway is often covered.

St Aidan’s RSPB Nature Reserve on a misty winter morning

Many of the paths around St Aidan’s are bridleways and so also accessible to bikes, making it a great choice for families with younger children who prefer to scoot or ride rather than walk. Expect fantastic views, lovely flat and wide paths and, of course, lots of opportunities for bird spotting.

For more family-friendly walks around East Leeds, please see this blog on South Leeds Mumbler, a local community website providing information to parents and carers in South, East and West Leeds.

Children cycling through St Aidan’s RSBP Nature Reserve

Riverside beauty at Barmby on the Marsh

The picturesque village of Barmby on the Marsh is the starting point for a beautiful six-mile circular route around the village, along the banks of the River Derwent and River Ouse and cutting across the edges of fields between the two. It’s a great choice for families with reluctant walkers, with various opportunities to cut the walk short and return to the village if necessary.

There are loads of interesting things to see, from the Tidal Barrage at the starting point of the walk to the huge towers of Drax Power Station. The walk is almost completely flat (as can be expected from this area) and very peaceful. On a beautiful sunny Saturday we only passed one other walker on the Trans Pennine Trail. It was our first time trying one of the suggested routes from the Walking the Riding website and we absolutely loved it!

Read more about this fabulous East Yorkshire walk (where you can also find other great walks for families around Yorkshire).

Hackfall Wood, Masham

Which ingredients make for the perfect family walk? I would imagine that whatever they are, you’ll be able to tick them off at Hackfall Wood. It’s one of our favourite places to explore with children, complete with follies, beautiful woodland, a beach (!) and plenty of woodland magic. What’s more, you’ve even got a lovely pub to walk to at Grewelthorpe. Perfect.

Read about our first time to Hackfall Wood here, when we enjoyed a beautiful sunny spring day. We love days out enjoying Yorkshire’s beautiful landscapes, and love walking! If you want to discover some of the places that we’ve found on our travels, have a look at the Muddy Boots Mummy website or follow my Facebook page.

The Cleveland Way: Robin Hood’s Bay to Boggle Hole

This is a great walk for all ages, with beautiful views and plenty to do along the way.

Tidepermitting: Walk along the beach (heading south) from Robin Hood’s Bay to Boggle Hole. Along the way, search for fossils, shells and rock pools- this is a great beach to explore and have fun. Boggle Hole is the home to YHA Boggle Hole, once an old mill. This is tucked away on the shoreline of an old smugglers’ cove which you can reach by crossing a bridge. They have a lovely café which serves great refreshments, as well as running Seashore Safaris and much more. The tide comes in very quickly here, so you can return to Robin Hood’s Bay on the Cleveland Way on top of the cliffs. Climb up the path between the hostel and the beach (on your left as you look out to sea) and follow it all the way.

This is an accessible route for little legs and brings you out by the Old Coastguard Station in Robin Hood’s Bay. There are spectacular views here. For very little legs, I suggest a carrier, as there are steps to negotiate at both ends. You can do the walk in either direction, depending on the tide.

For more walks and days outdoors around Scarborough and Whitby for families, have a look at the Scarborough Mumbler website!

Wakefield’s ‘The Gnome Roam’

Although this walk is frankly brilliant, I always feel it’s somewhat overlooked by the many families who visit Newmillerdam. Most people who visit enjoy a walk around the lake (often swinging by one of the great little cafes), but that little circuit can get rather busy. If you step back from that main track, you can enjoy the most glorious woodland!

The Gnome Roam is a circular family activity walk, one of Wakefield Council’s great Story Trails. Your task is to follow the route to find the different gnomes who have scattered around the woodland in their attempt to escape the bear! The walk, just under 2 miles long, is buggy-friendly if you don’t mind a push up a hill!

To read more about this WONDERFUL family walk and get all the details you might need, visit this blog. Muddy Boots Mummy is a website providing inspiration for family days outdoors and walks around Yorkshire- see more here. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest adventures on the Facebook page.

May Beck to Falling Foss

If ever there was a magical woodland walk, this is it. Take the trail through the trees on a 2-mile circular route that passes an idyllic woodland tea garden and the 30-foot Falling Foss waterfall before returning alongside babbling May Beck. It’s a lovely shady walk for summer – with shallow waters to paddle in, and a bridge to play pooh-sticks from – and spectacular in autumn when the woodland colours are at their best. If you don’t intend to venture far from the tea garden and waterfall, you can use an alternative car park near Falling Foss instead.

You can do the walk with a pram (though not down to the waterfall). That said, you might find using a carrier is best, if you have one, as it is sometimes a bit boggy under foot.

1. From the May Beck car park, leave the road that you came in on and head up the gravel path. Take the immediate first right turn, along the track just above the car park. You’ll soon see some steps on your left. Take them and follow a narrow path uphill through the bracken.

2. The path soon goes through a gate. At this point, turn right (don’t go over the style to your left). You can then stay on this path all the way to Falling Foss!

3. When you eventually meet the road, follow it downhill to the Falling Foss Tea Garden at Midge Hall.

4. Falling Foss, with its tea garden, is the perfect place to stop and play. You’ll find it’s particularly great for a paddle. Just past the tea garden, you’ll come to a good viewpoint for the waterfall. If you want to get closer, you can follow an unofficial path down to the waterfall, leaving the main path to the right as you face the tea rooms. It is a very steep descent but we enjoy the adventure and lots of people make it down.

5. The tea garden itself is at Midge Hall, a tiny cottage with gardens overlooking Falling Foss. The gardens are fantastic for small children, with wooden sculptures and a small play area to explore.

6. Leaving the tea rooms, cross the bridge and you’ll see a wooden-decked path along the side of the beck. You can follow this all the way back to the start of the walk. There are some lovely places for further paddling and exploration (including a cave if you keep your eyes peeled).

Ryedale Mumbler is a go-to parenting resource full of days out, local walks and ideas for enjoying the Great Outdoors with children. Read more here.

Nidderdale Greenway and Nidd Gorge

We absolutely love the Nidderdale Greenway walk here at Harrogate Mumbler.  It’s a great one for all the family, including the dog. It’s part of an old railway line and the main paths are suitable for bikes, prams and wheelchairs (don’t follow the woodland route if you’ve got wheels, as there are steps back up. It can be steep in places, paths may include steps and boardwalks and it can be slippery in wet weather). The main Nidderdale Greenway runs from Harrogate to Ripley and takes in some spectacular views of Nidd Gorge along the way.

The Nidd Gorge is a magical place where children can spot otters, kingfishers, herons, mallards and many other birds. You might even see the lesser spotted bear from Peru! The Paddington 2 movie was shot in Nidd Gorge, which the Nidderdale Greenway crosses on a viaduct. The Nidd Gorge woodland spans over 100 acres, divided in two by the river Nidd running through the gorge. All in all, there are plenty of different routes and walks to take here.

Read more about the Nidderdale Greenway on the Harrogate Mumbler website here. Harrogate Mumbler is a local parenting website full of handy information on local child-friendly days out and activities. To keep up to date with our latest news, follow our Facebook page.

Hare Head from Bolton Abbey

So many people venture to Bolton Abbey for family walks along the Strid, while those a little more adventurous might try Simon’s Seat. However, for a much quieter route which has just as much appeal, the ascent of Hare Head is a great choice.

The route is a 7-mile circular walk, starting from Bolton Abbey’s Pavilion before taking you up through pretty woodland and across moorland with fantastic views.

You also get to enjoy the best bits of the Bolton Abbey estate, with the route finishing with a walk along the river and past the Strid. To read a full route description click here. To find more family-friendly walking routes and great days outdoors around Yorkshire, visit Muddy Boots Mummy.

The Grosmont to Goathland Rail Trail

This 3.6 mile route follows the old tramway line, built by George Stephenson, between Grosmont to Goathland. It’s a great walk for children because you can do the return route on a steam train!

We enjoy starting this walk with a train ride from Goathland to Grosmont on the Pickering-Whitby line. You could even enjoy lunch in the village before you start! Whilst you can do this walk with a pushchair, be aware that the initial path from Grosmont is steep and narrow. That said, this difficulty is short-lived and the rest of the route is much easier.

The route back to Goathland is well-signposted. Initially, you follow the train line before meandering through woodland and across fields. You can take a quick detour here to the Beck Hole pub (which is next door to a sweet shop).

Read more about this great walk here. Muddy Boots Mummy is a website that provides ideas for family walks and days out in the Great Outdoors around Yorkshire and beyond. To see more suggestions for shorter family walks in Yorkshire, click here.

Deffer Wood, Barnsley

This fab circular walk is just amazing. At 4km, it is PERFECT for families and has pretty much everything you could want in a walk.

Starting and finishing at Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens means you can enjoy their great facilities (including the café, toilets and play area). Additionally, on the route you pass farms and beautiful woodland, enjoy great views and get lots of opportunities for exploring. There are a number of stiles and footpaths across uneven surfaces on this route.

Click here to see the route description. Muddy Boots Mummy is a website that shares lots of ideas for family walks and days out to enjoy the Great Outdoors around Yorkshire and beyond. To see more of my favourite walks for families which are less than 5km in length, click here.