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.

Boston Spa and the River Wharfe

This is my favourite daily walk- you can see me jumping for joy even though I get to do it pretty much every day at the moment!

As you travel through the village of Boston Spa towards Newton Kyme, you’ll find the entry to the spa baths walk on your left just as the shops start to disappear. If you look closely, you can see the original spa baths sign engraved into the wall here.

Following this path through the middle of some lovely houses, you’ll reach a hill descending towards the site of the original baths.

Still jumping for joy as Daddy gets ready to release my ball- my favourite thing ever!!

As you travel down the hill (chasing the ball in Merlin’s case!), you can either continue straight ahead towards Newton Kyme or make a sharp left towards our river walk. The river is down a sloped bank and as you walk along, you’ll spot the bridge below in the distance, with its beautiful arches.

This is my favourite kind of peril- dropping my ball down a slope and chasing it- then crying for Daddy to rescue me!!

As you pass under the bridge (which has great echoes by the way!), you’ll arrive at Merlin’s daily ball chasing patch. He enjoys running the length of it and skidding through the mud to grab his ball!

Muddy tongue out, Tuesday post-ball chasing

From here, the path to the right leads to a great swimming spot. It’s always a joy to watch Merlin dive in for his ball- he’s such a strong swimmer. It’s far enough away from the weir to avoid the drift, while the reflection in the still river is glorious with a bright blue sky above.

Continuing with the river on your right, you’ll reach a narrow path, from which you can spot Stick Man in the river on a low water day. The steps leading upwards are breath-taking for another reason: you’ll need to prepare yourself for the climb (and watch out for flying chocolate Labradors rushing back down again in pursuit of the ball)!

At the top of the climb, turn left to complete this circular walk and you’ll see a relatively new housing estate on the right. The fields and grounds around the estate are a great place for a picnic, sledging session, coffee stop and of course another ball throwing session!

There is a lovely bug hotel here too to check out, built by local joiner Tom Brothwell. You can see the beautiful church from here as well.

merlin the chocolate wizard
Hello!! Anyone home?

As you go back into the woods, head right down some much more gradual steps and back to the ball throwing open space. You can turn to the right just before or just after this to enter the gorgeous village of Boston Spa. Here you’ll find some lovely coffee and gift shops, as well as a few bars and restaurants for a lunch or tea stop (when we’re out of lockdown!).

Try Harts for the best ice cream sundaes, tiffin and hot chocolates on the block (their hatch is open throughout lockdown!).

It’s a great end to a lovely walk and even Merlin gets the last bits – yum!

harts coffee shop boston spa
puppy eating ice cream
The pure bliss of an ice cream treat!

Read more about Merlin on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/merlinthechocolatewizard/