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 Walkshire.com 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.

Parking

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 Yorkshire.com 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.

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 https://chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk/chesterfield-canal-walking-festival-bookings/.

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.

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 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pilgrimage-from-ripon-cathedral-to-fountains-abbey-tickets-158397195275   

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 – https://www.ywt.org.uk/wolds-dew-ponds/walk

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

wold rangers way

Horse Hair Jack Trod of The Wold Rangers Way

This is a glorious 9-mile circular walk through the stunning Yorkshire Wolds countryside. This is a smaller walk encompassing much of the new, longer challenge walk, The Wold Rangers Way.

The walk begins and ends at Market Place, in the centre of Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire. You will be walking primarily along well-trodden lanes steeped in history.

horse hair jack trod

The introduction of machinery to agriculture in the 19th century, along with the enclosure of land, created a lot of landless folk with no work. Most headed to the towns and cities but many remained, leading a nomadic existence and living off the land. They were known as The Wold Rangers.

They walked and lived along the lanes all around the Wolds, going from farm to farm in search of work. Known as extremely trustworthy, they were never turned away when they turned up at a farm. If there was no work, they at least received some food or shelter.

gate wolds

In fact, the last of the Wold Rangers, a man known as Dog Geordie, only died in 1987.

The full Wold Rangers Way itself is 43 miles in length and takes in the whole area. However, some smaller day walks have been created using the names of Wold Rangers from the past, like this one, Horse Hair Jack Trod.

driffield

From the centre of Driffield, head east and you’ll soon reach calm and green space. Even before leaving the town, you pass through The Keld, then along and over the A166 before hitting long straight lanes proper.

The walk is effectively 3 long tracks, well trodden and clear. You don’t have to worry about any turns so you can concentrate on the views and enjoying the great outdoors.

Continuing outwards and gradually upwards on Garton Balk (track), you won’t find anything strenuous at all. You soon get to see the lay of the land here, with fields of crops as far as the eye can see.

crops wolds

I was here in mid summer, when the contrasts of crop colours and blue skies made it invigorating with plenty of that feeling of escapism.

From there, you turn right to pass along some beautiful undulating tracks with secluded farms and farmhouses. You then complete the walk by heading back along a track called ‘Long Lane’ back to Driffield. I have put a GPX file on our routes map at Walkshire.com to help you.

tracks

This is a 9-mile walk, but due to the lay of the land, the well-trodden lanes and lack of steep inclines, it doesn’t feel like such a long walk at all. It is definitely a walk to enjoy at a sedate pace, rather than in a rush. You’ll be out with nature in the fresh air of The East Riding of Yorkshire.

This is also a very dog-friendly route too. The lanes are wide and not busy at all, though I would just advise you to be careful of the crops.

Step out and take strides for Yorkshire’s wildlife, one piece of litter at a time

Credit: Jon Hawkins, two volunteers litter picking.

Taking a walk in the countryside, by the sea or down the road to the local park is something we might have taken for granted until last year. We all admire the beautiful scenery, landscapes and local wildlife on a much-loved walk, but how much do we consider the hard work that might be taking place in the background to keep it safe for wildlife and people? It’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoying Yorkshire’s wild places over the eighteen months but it’s been sad to witness so much litter quickly building up in these spots too. Wherever litter is dropped, it can find its way into our watercourses and then into our already suffering seas.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is working hard to tackle the problem of marine pollution. In our latest blog, Marine Pollution Officer, Ana Cowie, tasks us with a litter picking challenge in our local patch, wherever that may be. Our small actions can make a big difference. So if you’re walking round the block or heading to the coast, picking up litter as you wander can lead to a step change for public behaviour and Yorkshire’s wildlife.

Visit our latest blog here: https://www.ywt.org.uk/blog/ana/step-out-and-take-strides-yorkshires-wildlife-one-piece-litter-time

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.

Give Seas a Chance

Yorkshire’s seas were once full of wildlife but due to decades of human neglect and harm, they are falling silent and empty. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s expert marine team are working against the clock to save, restore and enhance our beautiful, essential seas and incredible wildlife. We’ve got the solutions. We just need you. Help us turn the tide and give Yorkshire’s seas a chance.

Donate and take action today: Give Seas a Chance | Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (ywt.org.uk)

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).