This annual event is part of Boston Spa’s village festival. Although it was one of the only elements to go ahead this year due to Covid, the trail is still amazing, featuring superheroes and Disney characters executed very well.
There are around 100 scarecrows across Boston Spa, Clifford and Thorp Arch, so it might be best to choose one area per day! Track them down with a map from Doug Yeadon’s or Costcutter in the village.
Walking through the village, you can stop for an ice cream sundae at the lovely Hart’s, enjoy a beer outside the Stew or even have a wander down by the river. There was some great live music on the square, as well as a few street food stands for tapas and Indian treats.
You get to discover many hidden corners of the villages and admire all the handiwork, though watch out for a fright or two!
It was all a bit hot and sticky after a while, so I took shelter in a bush to hide from the sun and the scary scarecrows!
All in all, this is definitely a great day out! The Boston Spa Festival usually takes place in mid-July.
Staying at Mason’s campsite is one of the highlights of our year. Due to Covid last year, this is also Merlin’s first visit! The joy of camping so close to the river, but with great facilities, makes it one of the best sites in the UK.
Setting off on foot from Mason’s campsite, we saw gorgeous woods and river views instantly; you’ll find lots of stone skimming and paddling opportunities there as well.
Walking towards How Gill Farm, we headed through some farmer’s fields which had every different type of stile going. Merlin had lots of fun tackling each one!
Bending round to be greeted by an open expanse and views up to Simon’s Seat, we found that the climb got a bit steeper here. We then veered off up a farm lane to hunt down Brownies.
This was a real find – it offers a gorgeous setting and views, great brownies and coffee too.
We then headed into the woods again and to the stepping stones which are well worth a visit.
We then had lunch in the nearby field, with Merlin fetching the ball on a loop and getting in on a family portrait too!
Heading back to the trail, we curved back round the farm and onto a little road to return to the campsite. We paused at the Craven Arms pub beer garden for a swift refreshment, of course.
Coming into the Swinsty Reservoir car park, you’re immediately into this glorious view – a sandy beach area and the start of the circular walk. We usually go all the way around this reservoir but work is going on at the moment, so we did half of it and then continued all the way around Fewston.
These walks are the woods and water family heaven type. They feature loads of den building opportunities, logs to walk along, tree stumps to leap off and bridges to cross. There are lots of benches dotted along the route and plenty of dog swimming opportunities – for Merlin that is!
Picnic spots are plentiful and the blue sky and tall trees reflecting in the water make for an amazing backdrop.
The large bridge crossing Swinsty gives you a great view of the scale of the reservoir.
You can see the walk mapped out below- it’s also really well signposted and easy to follow. Dogs can be off lead almost all of the walk, with just an occasional road to cross.
You can put Swinsty Reservoir HG3 1SU in the sat nav and park in the main car park.
The treat at the end of the walk was a glorious ice cream from the Dales Van – sat by the side of the reservoir obviously!
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A lot has happened over the last year and you’ll no doubt have tonnes of gossip to catch up on with missed loved ones. Granted, the topic has changed from scandalous workplace relationships to that new pair of joggers and how your workwear wardrobe is really coming together.
If we’ve learned anything, it’s that the small things are always worth celebrating and that time together is so precious. With restrictions easing, we can once again meet up with family and friends outside. Albeit still at a safe distance.
To celebrate this, Keighley born and bred business Fenetic Wellbeing had an idea. They realised that Yorkshire is home to many wonderful things. Most notably among them are its smiling people, indescribable views and the peace and quiet that the northern countryside offers.
Fenetic Wellbeing handpicked some of the most beautiful walks for you to enjoy. They did some calculations, giving you the perfect walk for a lockdown catch-up based on your time spent apart. If you’re sharing your most prized secret, the Betty Eastwood walk has trees tall enough to hide behind. If you want to be surrounded by nature without having to travel too far, the Leeds canal city walk offers exactly that.
All of the walks offer miles of open green space for children and dogs to run free in. You’ll find both rural and urban walks that are accessible for all.
So, if you haven’t seen your dad for 6 months, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on a 5-mile walk. On every walk, you’ll witness scenery far more breath-taking than you’ll find on a Zoom screen.
With all of this right on our doorstep, it would be a shame not to witness it for yourselves.
Please continue to adhere to official government guidance and don’t travel out of your area until allowed to do so. Similarly, please continue to respect the safe social distancing rule wherever possible.
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!
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.
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!