Welcome to Walkshire

Welcome to Walkshire, the year long campaign from Welcome to Yorkshire to make the county the home of walking in the UK. You might ask yourself what is Walkshire? What does it mean for me and hopefully, how can I get involved?

We are blessed with some of the most iconic locations in the country to stretch those legs and get outdoors, however, Walkshire isn’t just about celebrating the countryside and our many beautiful sites across the region. Just as walking is accessible to all, Walkshire is accessible to all. We will be focussing across the year on urban walks, walks on your doorstep, walks with friends and walks that discover the history and heritage of our fine county.

Whilst we will be covering walks all over the region it is really important to make sure that you follow the countryside code at the latest Covid restrictions at all times. We’d want you enjoy Yorkshire but respect the people and places of our unique part of the world

There will be a walk a day published across all our website and social media channels. This will help you build up a library of walks to choose from when you have time to get out and about. These will be themed seasonally ranging from a mental health focus in January, child focussed walks in the school holidays and spooky ghost walks at Halloween. We’re also collating many of our walks on our handy Walkshire map so that you can find them easily and check out different types to try out when you’re ready.

Walking is also a fabulous way to support some of our communities and local businesses. That cup of coffee, the ice cream for the kids or the quick snack to refuel will make a big difference to some of the businesses that have had a hard time in the last year. They want to see you, and Walkshire provides that great excuse to see them.

We’re also working with some famous faces from the region who will share their experiences and favourite places for a stroll, as well as some of the region’s finest bloggers who will talk about the thing that they are passionate about, walking. We know that you will be engaged and inspired by their stories as they talk with passion about the places that they love. They are all different people with different approaches but united by a love for the region and benefits of walking. You’ll get to meet people (and the odd dog) that you’ll want to learn more about, and from, in the coming weeks and months.

We will also be working with Yorkshire Cancer Research and helping them raise much needed funds to continue their good work in the battle against cancer and it’s impact on people and families. The benefits of walking and being healthier reduce your chances of developing cancer and you’ll have opportunities to get involved with fundraising during the month of May when we hold our ‘Tour de Walkshire‘. We’re proud to be supporting such a great local cause.

You also hear from great organisations such as Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Sustrans and the Canal & River Trust, and with three National Parks in the county you truly are spoilt for choice on where to roam. All of these maintain great and unique walking routes across Yorkshire and we hope you’ll enjoy their stories and routes over the year.

So what is Walkshire and how can you get involved?

Simply, Walkshire is for everyone. We’ll show you over the course of the year that Yorkshire has every type of walk that you could possibly imagine in every location the region has to offer. You can get involved by getting out and about, sharing your experiences of Walkshire on social media and this website.

A final request from us here at Welcome to Yorkshire as you enjoy Walkshire, please make sure you respect local Covid guidelines, always follow the countryside code and be sure to check the weather before setting out on a walk. Yorkshire is the most beautiful place and let’s make sure we keep it that way.

Enjoy 2021, the year of Walkshire.

3 Walking Trails through Skipton Woods

Gateway to the Dales and rich with history, Skipton is a picturesque and fascinating place to explore.

One of the best walks in Skipton is the route through Skipton Castle Woods, a walk that combines scenery with culture and is accessible to all.

Skipton Castle Woods

The main path through Skipton Castle Woods is a gentle, family-friendly ‘there-and-back’ stroll between the main entrance and the Great Flood Bridge, alongside Eller Beck.

You can extend this route but exploring some of the upper paths in the river valley. These are accessed either via a set of steps or a climb up a fairly steep slope (with handrail).

Both of these routes are roughly a mile in length.

For a more strenuous but still relatively accessible walk, try the Earl of Thanet Trail, a circular route from town to Skipton Castle which offers glorious views through the trees. This route is about 2.5 miles.

Children will love exploring these woods, a wonderful natural playground overflowing with wildlife. Use the Woodland Trust’s ‘nature spotter activity sheet’ to tick off bugs, birds, and types of trees. Kingfishers around the Round Dam Pond are a real highlight.

Plan your visit to Skipton Woods.

The Hole of Horcum Circular

The Hole of Horcum is a popular walking destination in the North York Moors and it is easy to see why. A huge natural amphitheatre, carved out over time, together with some quite amazing landscapes.

When viewed from above, a view you get right at the start of the walk, it looks like a huge bowl carved out of the land. It is huge at 400 feet (120 m) deep and about ¾ mile (1.2 km) across. Quite spectacular to see with your own eyes.

Also known as a ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’, legend has it that a giant named Wade was having an argument with his wife. He scooped up some land to throw at her. In reality, the anomaly was created by water seeping up the hillside and eroding it, widening the valley over millennia.

This 5 mile circular walk gives you a whole experience of the Hole of Horcum. Walking around it from the top then back along, within and through the bottom of it.

The walk starts and ends at Saltergate Car Park and as soon as you get out of the car you get a panoramic view of this natural phenomenon. 

After carefully crossing the road, turn right along the top of the rim/edge of the hole. Take in the expansive views.

You will then reach a gate with options to turn. Go through the gate and straight on. This takes you over Levisham Moor, amongst the heather and keeping the views over the Hole of Horcum from above. This is a wide path that runs for around 2 miles.

Then you will come to a signpost. To continue the circular walk, turn left where it is signposted ‘Hole of Horcum’.

In this next section the scenery changes and you follow rows of trees and a stream. Look out for the Highland Cattle.

At the bottom of this path you come across another signpost where the river and stream meet. Again turn left following ‘Hole of Horcum’.

From now on you are walking straight up the middle of the natural wonder. Taking in the views from within. The path passes through fields and beside an old farmstead that was located within here once upon a time. Sheep and cows graze all around.

Of course, we started up at the top and you can see straight ahead the final section which is a climb back up to the top. Not too long a climb, but take rests and, as you pause, look back over the landscape. It is definitely unique and to be savoured.

At the top of the climb you end up back on the path you started on. Turn right and back to the car park where a refreshment van awaits.

I have put a route GPX on to help you get around if needed.

river ouse and dog

A Walk Around Clifton and Rawcliffe Ings, York

A wonderful walk just to the north of the City of York which takes in a wander beside the River Ouse together with the wide open green spaces of Clifton Ings and Rawcliffe Ings. Perfect for dogs, nature lovers and families alike.

clifton ings

The walk around the circumference of both Rawcliffe and Clifton Ings is only 3.5 miles, so achievable to many. There are many detours that can help create a much longer walk if you wish. Keep heading north along the cycle path toward Skelton or just a mile or two south you can be in the City of York itself.


The big Park and Ride car park, Rawcliffe Bar, is free and is predominantly used for people heading into York and back. However, the beauty of it is that it is situated right beside the Ings and the River Ouse too.

Behind the bus stop within the car park, look for the path that leads away within the trees and down to the open space.

dog walk york

Rawcliffe Ings

I did this walk anti-clockwise so you get much of the river in the first half. Upon reaching the cycle path from the car park, turn right, and head under the road bridge that carries the A1237 York Ring Road above.

Here you are within Rawcliffe Ings, and soon you will meet the riverside. Once at the river turn left and follow it heading South. This will lead naturally into Clifton Ings.

Clifton Ings

It is a joy to walk along the river here. To your left is a wide open green field for the dogs to run and run. To your right the river is a pleasure to walk beside.

running dogs

The main path is raised on a flood defence so the elevation gives a perspective all over as you walk.

Every now and then you get sandy beach-like areas that children or dogs will love, whatever the weather.

tree and dog

As you walk along the riverside, the raised path it will eventually leave the water’s edge and bend left, back toward the concrete path and cycle path.

Here is where you can turn right and head into the city or turn left to continue back beside Clifton Ings.

Now the open field is to your left and there are well maintained meadows and nature reserves along the way to your right.

Keep following the path back to the car park you started at, but make sure you enjoy every step and view along the way. Also keep an eye out for the well maintained and kept meadows, full of colour and butterflies galore.

I have placed the GPX route of my walk on the map.

7 Walks in the East Riding of Yorkshire

For week 36 of our year-long Walkshire campaign, we’re doing an East Riding of Yorkshire Takeover, sponsored by Visit East Yorkshire. Discover seven wonderful walks through the Wolds and along the captivating coastline of Yorkshire.

Horse Dale near Huggate, The Yorkshire Wolds

1. Bridlington Walking Festival – Heritage Trail

Take a trip down memory lane on this easy 1-mile heritage trail along the seaside promenade in Bridlington, using the #WhatWasHere app to bring the past to life. Discover more.

2. Danes Dyke and Flamborough Head Peninsula

For sensational scenery, try this challenging 10-mile circular hike around famous Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire Coast, passing through Danes Dyke Nature Reserve en route. 

3. Huggate Poetry Bench Circular

Calling all artists, writers, and contemplative thinkers – discover the pastoral beauty of Huggate on this short Wolds stroll and pause for creative inspiration at the Poetry Bench.

4. Hessle Quarry and Whiting Mill

Go on a guided walk around this heritage area and discover the social, natural, and industrial history of Humber Bridge Country Park. See a unique example of a 19th-century whiting mill.

5. Lost Houses of Risby

This leisurely trail between Skidby and Risby Park encompasses rolling farmland, woodland, two ‘lost houses’, and the site of an abandoned medieval village. Amazing views.

6. Wayrham Dale

Traverse the secluded dales around Wayrham in the Wolds for solitude and spectacular scenery. Get glimpses of York Minster and the White Horse on the Hambleton Hills.

7. Burton Agnes Circular

A 7.5-mile triangular trek between three historic points in the scenic Yorkshire Wolds: Beck Head in Kilham, Drummer’s Well in Harpham and Burton Agnes Manor House.

Wentworth Castle, Baroque Wing

Heritage Open Days in Yorkshire 2021

Studley Royal Deer Park, Fountains Abbey

Yorkshire Heritage Open Days 2021

Heritage Open Days is an annual ten-day celebration of England’s heritage and culture that takes place every September. Thousands of volunteers join over 2,000 local experts and organisations to put on an astonishing number of special events that offer a unique insight into the country’s history.

Unsurprisingly, there are endless Heritage Open Days events in Yorkshire each year, from walking tours around historic sites and iconic city streets to fun family-friendly events which bring the past to life. This year there are also several online offerings for those who would prefer virtual sessions.

One of the most special aspects of the Heritage Open Days festival is that several private buildings with notable architecture, artwork or stories open their doors to the public, offering visitors the chance to see precious historical gems that are usually out of bounds – for a short time only.

With hundreds of Heritage Open Days events happening across Yorkshire between 10th – 19th September 2021, it is hard to choose where to go and what to see. Use this round-up of our favourite events, separated into handy categories, as your guide to Yorkshire’s Heritage Open Days for 2021.

Historic Fossgate, York

Walking Tours

Whether you are a history buff, architecture enthusiast or art lover, there is a walking tour for you. Two of our highlights are the ‘Heritage Plaques of Harrogate’ trails, examining the people who paved the way for this celebrated spa town, and ‘Voicing the Hidden’,a creative street tour through Fossgate and Walmgate in York led by a local poet, a filmmaker, and a historian. Those who like to be active will enjoy the ‘Huddersfield Heritage 5k’, a relaxed guided jog around the city’s most historic buildings which offers insights into the legacy of the influential Ramsden family. A one-mile walking version of this tour is also on offer.

Stained Glass Window, St Martin-on-the-Hill

Not Normally Open

One of the most special aspects of the Heritage Open Days initiative is that some of England’s most treasured old buildings that are usually closed to visitors are opened to the public for the duration of the festival. See exceptional architecture and stained glass at All Souls Church in Halifax, on a guided tour or independent visit. Experience the unique artwork of the Church of St. Martin-on-the-Hill, ‘Scarborough’s Pre-Raphaelite gem’. Hear a potted version of Thundercliffe Grange’s near-1,000-year history whilst sitting by the Russian Bath in the property’s gorgeous 22-acre garden.

Botanical Gardens, Sheffield

Unique Insights

There are many opportunities to get unique insights into some of Yorkshire’s most historical sites. In addition to showcasing remarkable wall paintings that are usually kept hidden from view, there are also recent discoveries to be shared at Beverley Friary, a neighbour of Beverley Minster with a melting pot of different architectural styles. At Chevin Park you can explore the Lost World of the Victorian Asylum whilst admiring this grade II listed building. For the green-fingered or those seeking an outdoor experience with a difference, check out the ‘Apothecary Guided Tour’ at the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield.

Photo by Alana Harris, Unsplash

For Foodies

As part of their Edible England theme, Heritage Open Days 2021 includes a host of mouth-watering food events across the country. Yorkshire has options to suit children and adults alike, from the hands-on family-friendly ‘Tolson Museum Time-Travelling Food Trail’ in Huddersfield which tracks food through the ages to the Heritage Pub Walk in Sheffield. Combine eating with education of the Bridlington Edible History Trail or sit back and stuff yourself silly at the Yorkshire Pudding Festival in Leeds. Leeds is also showcasing historic culinary collections in Leeds Libraries, for those who aren’t feeling quite as peckish.

Studley Royal in Autumn, Fountains Abbey

For Families

A lot of the Heritage Open Days events across Yorkshire are suitable for children, but there are some sessions that were obviously designed with kids in mind and will not fail to enchant and entertain little ones. Our favourite is the Historic Ghost Walk in Wakefield. Fountains Abbey, with its playground, gorgeous grounds, and endless activities, is offering one-off free entry to all visitors. You can even enjoy a screening of Shrek in the sensational gardens at Wentworth Castle which will make the film even more magical.

For more details of what’s on offer, visit the Heritage Open Days website.

Yorkshire Autumn Arts Events 2021

Yorkshire is ready to celebrate the arts this autumn – and Yorkshire’s arts community has not disappointed.

From films and theatre to music and literature, there are Yorkshire arts events to satisfy all interests. Here is our round-up of the top 6 unmissable autumn arts events in Yorkshire – which will you be attending?

Top 6 unmissable Yorkshire arts events for autumn 2021

1. Sheffield Showcase, Sheffield
2nd – 5th September

This four-day extravaganza features over a dozen Sheffield arts and culture groups who have joined together to create a diverse programme of events held at various locations across the city. Soothe away stress with jazz or chamber music, explore thought-provoking themes through a socio-political comedy, and introduce children to the beloved bard with a slapstick performance of a Midsummer Night’s Dream – complete with lightsabres – performed by the Rubbish Shakespeare Company. Check out the full Sheffield Showcase line-up.

2. 80s Classical, Leeds
Friday 10th September

The long-awaited return of this 80s music event following its sold-out world premiere in 2019 and cancellation last year. Various 80s icons are returning to Leeds on Friday 10th September to perform an open-air symphonic spectacular in Millennium Square with the 60-piece orchestra of Opera North. Performers include Jimmy Somerville, Brit Award-winning duo Go West and Yorkshire’s John Parr. Book your tickets now before it sells out!

3. Ilkley Literature Festival, Ilkley
1st – 17th October

Ilkley Lit Fest is back with another world-class line-up of authors, poets and playwrights, performing and describing the journey behind their celebrated literary works. The diverse schedule also celebrates pictorial creativity in the form of film and visual arts events. The festival is operating online as well as physically, with live-streamed and digital-only sessions running alongside the in-person experiences and workshops. Browse the full ILF line-up.

4. Widescreen Weekend, Bradford
7th – 10th October

This year sees the 25th anniversary of the Widescreen Weekend, held at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. This popular festival celebrates the past, present and future of film with screened restorations and ‘rediscoveries’, and ties into the museum’s current Sound Season exhibition which showcases cinema technologies and the sensational scores of the legendary composer, Ennio Morricone. Showings include Spartacus (1960), Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet and family-friendly Missing LinkFind out more.

5. York Theatre Royal, York
30th September – 2nd October, 19th – 23rd October

York Theatre Royal has some fantastic high-profile shows in October 2021. Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell reaffirms his masterful storytelling ability with an evocative exploration of the human heart through the working-class nightlife of 1930s London. West End hit production of Sir Arthur Conon Doyle’s celebrated The Hound of the Baskervilles, performed by the award-winning Original Theatre Company, is a delightfully inventive and farcical twist on the greatest detective story of all time. Book tickets here.

6. Coastal Sculpture Collection, East Riding of Yorkshire
Dates TBC

Yorkshire-born artist and sculptor, Emma Stothard, has spent the last year working with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Yorkshire Coast BID to create the Coastal Sculpture Collection, a series of inspiration pieces that will be displayed along the Yorkshire coastline including Flamborough, Whitby and Scarborough. The first to be installed is the ‘Spurn Butterfly’ at Spurn Point – an exquisite 8ft butterfly created out of copper and bronze wire that signifies the vital coastal conservation work of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. More to be revealed soon.

Explore Chesterfield Canal during the Walking Festival

The third Chesterfield Canal Walking Festival will run from 11th to 19th September 2021. It is believed to be the biggest such event based on a single canal in the country. The Festival started in 2018, got bigger in 2019, but was cancelled last year due to COVID. This year’s return is eagerly anticipated and has been warmly welcomed.

Altogether there will be 41 guided walks of various types and lengths across the festival. They vary from a one mile stroll to a full twenty miles, perfect for all abilities to get involved and enjoy. The walks are spread all along the canal’s scenic 46 miles from Chesterfield to West Stockwith on the River Trent. Much of the scenery is beautiful, none more so than the Giant’s Staircase of 23 locks in just over a mile between Kiveton and Shireoaks in South Rotherham that features in several of the walks.

There are special interest walks, such as Wildlife, History, Architecture and Restoration. You can also combine a walk with a cruise on one of the Trust’s trip boats to rest your weary legs. Serious walkers will no doubt want to join the 20 mile jaunt from Chesterfield to Worksop. This covers the 12 miles of canal that has been restored since 1989 and the 8 miles that is still to be re-awakened. Chesterfield Canal Trust is currently campaigning to complete the full restoration by 2027 – its 250th Anniversary.

All the walks are free except for those combined with a boat trip. All walks must be booked in advance and that can be done here

The Chesterfield Canal Trust, the charitable company hosting the event, wishes to thank all the walk leaders and the organisations that have helped ensure the festival will be a success. All the walks will be subject to the latest COVID advice, so participants should come prepared with a face covering, even if it will not actually be required.

St Ives Estate Bingley

St Ives Estate, Bingley

Walking with young children can be hard work at times but this walk offers something for everyone with an easy route, café stop and a fabulous children’s park.

Situated between Harden and Bingley in West Yorkshire, St Ives is a vast estate with some fabulous walks through beautiful meadows and moorland, as well as along flat paths.

I usually do it with a toddler in tow, so I stick to the paths and the park area. You’ll find a full description of my walk here:

A Yorkshire Pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey

A pilgrimage, tracing the steps of the monks who walked the route in 1132 AD, has been an annual event in Ripon on Boxing Day for the past 45 years.

Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. It is located approximately 3 miles southwest of Ripon in North Yorkshire

In December 2020, Covid restrictions sadly prevented the annual event from taking place. After the easing of lockdown restrictions in July 2021, Ripon Together decided to arrange a Yorkshire Summer pilgrimage as part of its ‘Healthy Journeying’ campaign, with the aim of getting people out walking in Yorkshire.

While you can enjoy the route all year round, we are encouraging residents and visitors to Ripon to do it on this year’s delayed annual pilgrimage. Taking place on 4th September 2021, we will be tracing the steps of the original founders of the Abbey to celebrate the ongoing Walkshire campaign.

Led by Canon Barry of Ripon Cathedral, the walk will set off at 12.30pm on Saturday 4th September and should take about an hour at a leisurely pace.  There are three food outlets at Fountains Abbey, while two additional concessions will offer cakes and liquid refreshments on the Abbey Green where you can also watch the Ripon City Band. Now in the national premiership of brass bands, they will play two sessions featuring some Yorkshire pieces, finishing at about 3.30pm. 

The Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid, commonly known as Ripon Cathedral, and until 1836 known as Ripon Minster, is a cathedral in the North Yorkshire city of Ripon. Founded as a monastery by Scottish monks in the 660s, it was refounded as a Benedictine monastery by St Wilfrid in 672.

The Yorkshire Pilgrimage is free to join, though we will need to know the numbers attending for safety reasons. To facilitate this, free tickets for the event are available through Eventbrite at   

Paper tickets are also available from Ripon Cathedral and Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre. 

Yorkshire Wolds Dew Pond Wander: a journey through time

Credit: Dew pond- F Grace EM

Dew ponds – sometimes called cloud ponds or mist ponds – are man-made ponds which were created in the 18th and 19th centuries to provide water for farm animals. In the dry, chalk landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds, a natural supply of surface water was not always available, so the ponds were an essential source of water for the animals.

Despite their magical name, it’s thought that the water in the ponds came mainly from rainfall, rather than dew, clouds or mist. For almost 200 years, farmers relied on these ponds to provide water for livestock, so the ponds were regularly maintained as an essential part of the farm.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has worked with the local farming community on a two-year project to restore a network of these ponds right across the Wolds. They’re once again an important feature in the landscape and an oasis for an array of wildlife such as emperor dragonflies, great diving beetles, frogs, toads and newts. They are also an important source of water for farmland birds, which have declined rapidly in recent years, as well as mammals such as deer and hare.

You can discover several of these dew ponds along a beautiful circular trail in the Wolds, starting from the picturesque village of Thixendale. So why not pull on your boots, explore the stunning landscape for yourself and take advantage of the wildlife highlights along the route?

Take a look here –

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity entirely dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild places.

To help protect our wildlife and wild places please:

• Observe the latest government guidance on social distancing
• Follow any signage on our nature reserves
• Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead
• Take your litter home with you