A journey to Yorkshire’s Land’s End: Walking at Spurn National Nature Reserve

Credit: Spurn lighthouse James Hardisty

Yorkshire’s beautiful landscapes have so much to offer, particularly those off the beaten track – or those at the county’s extreme edges. A walk through these wild places provides invigorating exercise for the heart, body and mind.

Spurn National Nature Reserve (or ‘Spurn Point’, as it’s known to many), is one of these iconic landscapes. It’s a natural wonder and fine example of a longshore drift, straight from a geography textbook, whereby over thousands of years, sand and gravel have been eroded from the coast and moved south by the tides. Today, Spurn is a sandy peninsula jutting out 3.5 miles from the Holderness Coast into the mouth of the Humber Estuary. Cars could once travel all the way down this sandy strip, but after a major storm surge in 2013, this journey can only be made by foot, bike or aboard Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Spurn Safari vehicle.  

In this blog post, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust share their top tips for walking at Spurn. Not only is it one of Yorkshire’s most wildlife-rich landscapes (and one of the best places in the UK to see migratory birds), but the peninsula is also steeped in maritime and military history. You can, in fact, climb to the top of the tallest lighthouse in Northern England or explore excavated World War Two tunnels (see our website for opening times). Follow in the footsteps of brave soldiers, lifeboat heroes and wildlife conservationists as you discover this unique and ever-changing place.

Visit here to find out more: https://www.ywt.org.uk/blog/andy-mason/walking-spurns-very-own-lands-end

Why not join us for a 10km guided walk to Spurn Point and back again on Sunday 18th July, 10am – 2pm?

Join our expert guide for an epic journey to Spurn Point and back again! May tales of Spurn’s maritime and military past enlighten your way, as well as some top wildlife spotting tips. You’ll also receive a special certificate to celebrate your achievement!

Please visit our events page here for more information and to book your place!

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:

Follow the latest government guidance on social distancing
Follow any signage on site
Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead.
Take your litter home, as it’s harder for us to empty bins regularly.

Walking with Kids: The Whinger Games

(I forgot the snacks…)

Parents, we’ve all been there. You’re walking, the kids are moaning, there’s a general belief that one more step will be the one that makes their legs fall off…

And you’ve used up the entirety of your snack-based bribery arsenal! 

The horror! 

So what can you do? How can you make it back to base (or even better, the pub!) without stuffing your ears full of grass to drown out the whinge onslaught? 

Well, I can’t promise anything, but here are three top ways to motivate and accelerate your little walkers!

Ready

Take a picture. No, I don’t mean you! Hand it over to the kiddlies, whether it be a camera or a phone, and let them take creative control! The best game to play is photograph hide and seek. Task your explorers with finding an epic hiding spot…. then take a before shot…. and a BOO shot! Then giggle hysterically until you find another perfect hiding spot. 

Playing hide and seek, photo style!

Steady

Ok, so the novelty of the photo workshop has worn off. Enter the animal sound game! Tell them an animal, they have to do the sound. Then have a competition as to whoever does the best version of said sound. But wait…

There are several things you have to know about this game. The sound has to be neither accurate nor even animally sounding. Essentially, it’s an excuse to come up with crazy, crazy noises, which are likely to scare off any nearby walkers and make you look like an idiot. Can’t think why my two love it so much… still, if it stops the whingeing, I’ll take a crazed monkey noise any day! I guess if you are more normal than us, you might want to actually take some time and use this as a mindfulness activity.  A chance to listen to all the actual animal sounds surrounding you as you walk… but if you hear the native call of the angry honey-badger, you’re probably hearing us. Sorry about that.

Poo jumping. Yes!

Go!

Ok. You’ve run out of tricks… the finish line is in sight… but you have some super tired legs who can’t possibly take another step! Let me introduce you to Poo Jumping. Yes. You heard me correctly.

This is a top way of speeding up little legs on the home straight. And, well…. POO! I’m not sure I know of many kids who don’t find poo funny. Fact. So find some poo, run…. and leap over it. It’s a game so good, it has its own t-shirt! 

If you want to find more whinge-waiving wonder games, or more ways to make those walking moans sling their hook, head to: www.thereluctantexplorers.com

Heber’s Ghyll, Ilkley

Heber’s Ghyll, Ilkley

Heber’s Ghyll is a cracking family-friendly walk in Ilkley. Given it is less than 3km in length, this is a wander that really packs a punch!

The woodland surrounding the Ghyll is full of places to explore. During the spring, you’ll see it packed full of bluebells. If you take a trip there during the late summer and autumn, you’ll find blackberries to pick (and eat, of course!).

The path that leads around the woodland climbs out onto the open moor and then up onto Woodhouse Crag, where you’ll find the Swastika Stone.

The Swastika Stone, Woodhouse Crag

What on earth is the Swastika Stone? Well, it’s probably the finest example of one of the hundreds of Neolithic stone carvings found on Ilkley Moor. It’s a scheduled monument, and is pretty cool to go and see.

Dating back to c. 2800 – 500BC (at a best guess), experts are still undecided as to what purpose these ancient rocks served. Some believe that there is a religious connection, but they could equally be way markers, star charts or perhaps a bit of graffiti left by a prehistoric farmer who had a bit of time on his hands!

Had your fill of this little history mystery? Head back into the woodland at Black Beck and you’ll descend alongside the waterfalls of Heber’s Ghyll.

The waterfalls of Heber’s Ghyll

The path criss-crosses the descending water, with plenty of bridges to trip trap over. You’ll also find spots to get down to the water’s edge too, so on a sunny day, why not dip in your toes and have a splash?

However, the most important thing to know about Heber’s Ghyll when you’re walking with little ones is that it is the home of not one, not two, but TEN hidden dinosaurs. So keep those eyes peeled for some roar-some discoveries!

For the full route description, head to thereluctantexplorers.com. We’ve paired the walk up with some whinge-reducing walking activities, perfect for a magical woodland wander.

One of the resident dinosaurs of Heber’s Ghyll

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.

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.

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.

Fraisethorpe to Bridlington

Walking along the beautiful East Yorkshire Coast, from Fraisethorpe to Bridlington, is one of my favourite walks with my children.

Situated just south of Bridlington, Fraisethorpe is a lovely, quieter beach. You can park in the farmers’ field on the cliff edge (£5 for the day in the summer months), from which you can easily walk down to the beach. The beach is dog friendly and a good one for finding shells and pebbles or flying a kite. If you’re feeling brave, you can also go for a paddle (though there is no lifeguard on this stretch). There is also The Cow Shed, a lovely café serving food and drinks.

Heading north along the coast, the next place you come to is South Shore, about three miles away. This is the start of Bridlington, where you’ll find more good cafés and rest stops. Walking further north, you reach Bridlington’s South Beach. Take the land train from South Shore to Bridlington Spa or head to the town centre for fish and chips!

You could also do the walk by starting out at Bridlington. The park and ride at South Shore is a great place to park, with easy access to the beach via steps. Alternatively, you can park along South Marine Drive in Bridlington.

Walking from Fraisethorpe to Bridlington and back is a 6-mile round trip, a good length for older children. When my children were younger, we just did stretches of it and turned back.

For more information about this walk and lots of other fabulous family friendly walks around East Yorkshire, please visit the Hull & East Riding Mumbler website.  

East Yorkshire is a wonderful place for families, with plenty of things to do and lots of activities and events going on. To find out more, check out Hull & East Riding Mumbler, a website that has all the information you might need. You can also follow them on Facebook or Instagram.