A Very Merry Walkshire Christmas

Here at Welcome to Yorkshire, we have spent a year celebrating walking in Yorkshire. Inspired by the local community as we walked our way through lockdown, we decided to provide a Yorkshire walk a day for all 365 days of 2021.

To round off Walkshire, we have created this Christmas special. Television shows often feature clip shows as part of their Christmas episodes, highlighting some of the best bits of the season that came before. They may also feature letters from the viewers or a ‘mailbag’ segment as an ingenious way of padding out time. For today’s walk of the day, we have decided to do both!

Best of Walkshire

Cow and Calf and Twelve Apostles Walk – Ilkley

One of my personal favourite walks, this route takes you up around the Cow and Calf and towards the Twelve Apostles. On your way up through Ilkley Moor (bar t’At) you will pass picturesque locations including streams, waterfalls and woods.

Barnsley Boundary Walk

This 73 mile loop is a superb route and incorporates a number of locations across South Yorkshire, including Cannon Hall and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Sheffield Botanical Gardens

This short walk through Sheffield Botanical Gardens is perfect for a taste of nature within the city. The horticultural and botanical significance of the gardens is astounding as there are over 5,000 species of plant within.

Malham Cove

Malham Cove is a fantastic walk in the Yorkshire Dales, this route is a 4 mile walk incorporating Gordale Scar & Janet’s Foss. Along the way you will spot famous locations which have featured in films including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One and TV shows such as The Witcher.

Spurn Point

Yorkshire’s own Lands End is a 6 mile walk along the Spurn National Nature Reserve. The East Riding of Yorkshire walk is fascinating as there sections of it that are only 50 metres wide and you can see out to sea and back towards land.

The Walkshire Mailbag

Thank you to everyone who sent through their submissions to Yorkshire Christmas Walks, here are a few of the best!

Anglers Country Park and Haw Park Wood – Sue Billcliffe

Photo Credit to Sue Billcliffe

“A beautiful but easy 3 mile stroll around Anglers Country Park Lake, Wakefield surrounded by stunning scenery. There are plenty of birds to see too. Wrap up warm and enjoy! You can also take a longer walk into Haw Park Wood just a little further up from the park”

Coxwold Church to Newburgh Priory – Simon Scott

Photo Credit to Simon Scott

“A lovely gentle walk starting at the historic Church of St Michael in the picturesque village of Coxwold with its splendid tombs and impressive octagonal tower. Simply walk down the hill past the crossroads with its ancient spring constantly running, and walk on towards the gates of Newburgh Priory. On your way you can rest at a tranquil lake and see all sorts of wild birds. The perfect stroll after a Christmas lunch!

If you want a detour to extend the walk, then you can simply go up Colley Broach Road with Newburgh Priory to the South and views to the Kilburn White Horse to the North. Without the detour this is a gentle 3 mile walk there and back from Coxwold Church to Newburgh Priory on the edge of the North York Moors and the Hambleton Hills.”

The Wolds Rangers Way – Mark Blakeston

Photo from Shutterstock

“The Wolds Rangers Way is a challenging circular trail which winds its way 43 miles over the Yorkshire Wolds through amazing chalk landscapes with dry valleys with stunning wildlife alongside vibrant market towns and ancient Wolds villages. It also captures the unique history of the Wold Rangers and ensures that their names and stories live on forever.”

Newmillerdam – KT from the Loch

Photo from Shutterstock

“A lovely woodland walk around Newmillerdam, Wakefield, where you can see ducks, birds and squirrels. There is a fun trail for kids to get involved with. You can walk around the water or you can add bits of woodland trail to make it longer. If you start and finish at the car park you pass the lovely Boathouse near the end. This boathouse is perfect for a delicious hot chocolate or tasty treat, where dogs are welcome too.”

Hole of Horcum – Craig Nattress

Photo Credit – Craig Nattress

“Over Christmas take a seven mile ramble around the Hole of Horcum in the North York Moors National Park, stopping off at The Horseshoe for a warming drink or meal in front of the open fire, or walk down to Dalby Forest and around the Bridestones. A winter warmer!”

Beningbrough River Walk – Emma Beaumont

Photo Credit – Sue Jordan, National Trust

“This easy to follow 3 and a half mile route in Hambleton is fully waymarked and gives a stunning tour of the parkland surrounding NT Beningbrough Hall allowing views of both the estate and the river. It is an enjoyable stroll for all the family over the Christmas period. The walk is suitable for children and dogs and provides a variety of scenery including the river, woodland and fields.”

Thank You & Useful Links

As a year of Walkshire draws to an end, thank you to all the people that have worked on Walkshire and all the contributors who helped with the creation of the content that led Walkshire to become award nominated.

For more blogs click here.

View the Walkshire map here.

For the Walkshire homepage click here.

dog in christmas jumper

Lotherton Christmas Lights Walk

Lotherton Christmas Lights Walk is a great festive family day out. With sparkly Christmas lights and a gorgeous hall in the background, it has all the ingredients for the perfect evening in December.

A very excited Merlin wanted to try out every station himself – he made a good drummer!

Playing the drums
dog in christmas jumper
The level of mud is intense!

Merlin’s Elf jumper was very on theme but did become victim to the muddy walk!

12 days of christmas
7 maids a milking plus a furry chocolate one!

It’s a fun theme of the 12 days of Christmas song with an activity station for each day – we sang the song a lot as we walked around. Each is either a photo opp or an interactive musical station or game.

lotherton dog walk
3 French Hens!
dog walks in yorkshire
The Muddy Elf Dog!

The walk is covered with bark chips so isn’t completely boggy – it got a bit stickier on the popular activities. Parking is easy and hot chocolate was good too.

There were some crafty Christmas stalls and mulled wine too. For the kids, you can book to make a decoration and do some Christmas crafts too.

Lotherton is very dog friendly – just the animal area they can’t go in. There’s even a field they can run free in so it makes a good family day out with a dog.


allerthorpe woods dog walk

Allerthorpe Common and Waplington

This 5-mile circular walk around Allerthorpe Common and Waplington is situated near Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire. Allerthorpe Common and Woods are perfect for a dog walk! My dogs loved it and I know your dogs will too.

The pine woodland of Allerthorpe is very attractive to walk through, no matter what season, as the tracks are wide and easy to follow.

At exactly the half way point in Allerthorpe, you have the chance for refreshment or lunch at the very dog-friendly Plough Inn.

dog in the woods

The best place to start is the Forestry Commission car park on Common Lane on the west side of the woods.

If driving east from York on the A1079, before you get to Pocklington turn right onto Sutton Lane. After about a mile, turn left onto Common Lane. The car park will be on the right hand side after half a mile.

To start the walk, cross the road from the car park and through the gate into the common. Here you have 2 paths – to follow my route, take the left fork.

allerthorpe common path

Then just simply keep going straight on through the majestic pine woodland. The path is wide and clear, and yes thre is plenty of safe nature for the dogs to run, wander and play within.

The tree-lined surrounds change to keep variety as you walk. See high pines and colourful natural woodland. It is a joy for us as well as our pawed friends.

allerthorpe woodland

The wide path leads to a narrower woodland path and you walk within the deeper greenery for a mile or so, When you come out of the other side you walk along the track with a huge open green field on your right and this takes you into the small village of Allerthorpe, the halfway point and comes out right at the Plough Inn.

Plough Inn

The welcome at the pub is wonderful. No matter the weather it will feel cosy from snug, warm and comfortable within or in the sunshine outside.

The owners and staff are extremely dog friendly with Malc and Pete getting ever so fussed over.

inside the plough inn

Refreshed, it was time to get back into the fresh air and complete the second half of the walk. Head straight out ahead from the front door of the pub and continue down the road just a few hundred metres to the edge of the village.

Then you will take a right turn away from the road and onto a track. Along here you will feel the mix of urban and woodland. Quaint houses dotted here and there with manicured gardens set amongst the nature they are within. This is Waplington.

allerthorpe track

On the way back you are out of the thicker woodland and into more fielded open areas. The track is clear, wide and continuous so no worries about getting lost.

Eventually you will come to Warren Farm where you turn right and then left around the edge of the crop fields.

farm track

For me the colours of nature were so autumnal and had that wonderful natural orange vibe in the sunshine. But in the greens of summer or black and whites of winter, this is a fabulous walk to wander.

At the end of the fields you will see a gate straight ahead that takes you back into the woods and the path heads left after the gate, within the natural woodland and back to the car park you started at.

dog in woods

If you like flat walks full of a variety of nature then this is definitely a gem for you. Your dogs will love it too!

2 dogs in the woods

It makes for a super family walk too. A great 5 miles well spent in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Six Dales Trail

Today’s walk of the day is the Six Dales Trail. This is one of the most ambitious walks that we have featured during Walkshire. At a mammoth 38 miles, it is more of an expedition than a walk of the day as it could take most experienced walkers two to four days to complete.

Six Dales Trail – Route

This walk starts in Otley, Wharfedale, West Yorkshire, as seen in the image up above, and heads north through the Dales. The Six Dales Trail winds across the entire length of the superb Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Along its way it crosses the five watersheds that separate the dales and give the trail its name. From Wharfedale, it passes over into Washburndale, then into Nidderdale, Colsterdale, Coverdale and finally Wensleydale.

Along its length is everything from steep pastures to high heather moorland, stretches alongside fast-flowing rivers to paths through 18th century parkland. There are a few points of interest to take a look at along the route including The Druid’s Temple.

The trail finishes in Middleham, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, where you will have more than earned that pint and meal in The Black Bull Inn.


This walk is difficult, it is not for everyone and would be tough for young families and dogs. The record for completing the walk is five hours and forty five minutes but we recommend stopping off along the way to get some rest and refreshments.

Useful Links

For more Walkshire Walks of the Day follow this link or read more of the blogs here.

Find out more about the Six Dales Trail here.

A full route guide is available to purchase at local outlets and from the Otley Walkers are Welcome.

Pennine Bridleway National Trail

Today’s Walk of the Day is the Pennine Bridleway National Trail, stretching a vast two-hundred and five miles from the Derbyshire Peak District all the way up to Ravenstonedale in the Yorkshire Dales.

Large parts of the trail are dog-friendly and wheelchair accessible as there are no stiles to clamber over. The surface of the trail is also well kept and so this a way for any individual to get active.

As the trail is so long, there are a number of different walks that you can do along the way. We’ve decided to highlight two circuits: The Settle Loop and The Mary Towneley Loop.

The Settle Loop

The Settle Loop is a ten mile circuit of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail. The route incorporates incredible views of the Yorkshire Dales and of the famous Malham Tarn (as seen in Harry Potter). The picturesque town of Settle is the start and end point for the loop, it has good parking options and is fairly easily accessible via public transport.

The Mary Towneley Loop

This is for a much more experienced walker and will even take them a few days. At 47 miles in length, this mammoth route takes you across the south Pennine valleys. It will lead you to Todmorden and past Stoodley Pike. This loop is not for everyone but will surely leave you with a magnificent sense of accomplishment on completion. The route can be joined at any point though we would recommend Hebden Bridge as there are great things to do

Useful Links

Whether you’re walking, cycling or running along the Pennine Bridleway, there are so many options for exercise across Yorkshire. Learn more about Yorkshire Sport here.

GPX Routes: https://www.yorkshire.com/walkshire/map?tags=nationaltrail#/route/174467

Check out the Yorkshire.com page for the Pennine Bridleway National Trail here.

For more Walkshire Walks of the Day follow this link.

Goitstock Waterfall Walk

Goitstock Waterfall in the sunlight

Goitstock Waterfall is an exciting visit and an underappreciated location in the West Yorkshire countryside. It is close to Bingley and often praised as a hidden gem.

A two mile stroll through the Goitstock Woods will lead you along the Harden Beck to the spectacular waterfall.

Start at The Malt pub in Harden and walk away from Bingley towards Cullingworth. For the best route, follow the signs for the Goitstock & Senior Way. Along the route, you will pass three mills: Hallas Bridge, Harden Bridge and Goit Stock.

Goitstock Waterfall in the snow

The terrain of the walk is relatively level. While it is rainy, the flat dirt paths may be difficult to navigate so it is best to wear your walking boots.

The walk is suitable for children and they will be in awe of the waterfall. However, be especially careful around the beck as the currents are dangerous.

The walk is circular and you will return to the Malt pub which is dog friendly and the perfect place to enjoy a post walk refreshment.

For more Walkshire Walks of the Day follow this link.

Hirst Wood and Saltaire

The route through Hirst Wood and Saltaire is a great family walk. It is mostly flat with plenty of things to do and see. You will take in the canal, river and parts of Saltaire. You can also stop off at the lovely Half Moon or Higher Ground cafés for some delicious coffee, hot chocolate or cakes.

At just over 3 kilometres (2 miles), the Hirst Wood and Saltaire walk is a perfect stroll for a Sunday afternoon. Calmly let your Sunday dinner go down and allow the kids to blow off some steam on the lovely play area. This Hirst Wood and Saltaire route is a great way to get some fresh air for the whole family.

As the leaves fall from the trees this autumn, the park and woods will be glowing a gorgeous amber. This peaceful walk is an excellent route regardless of the season.

Incorporate the Victorian village of Saltaire and you can visit Salts Mill. See the philanthropic work of Sir Titus Salt in this UNESCO World Heritage site and wander the gallery. If you’re feeling like getting your Christmas shopping done early you can visit the variety of independent shops within.

Find the full route here.

All photos by Jill Bell

Towton Battlefield Trail

Today’s #Walkshire Walk of the Day is the Towton Battlefield Trail. The trail takes you through the site of what is alleged to be the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil.

In March 1461, Towton, near Tadcaster, was the setting for one of the most enormous (both in terms of importance and scale) battles in the Wars of the Roses. On Palm Sunday, 50,000 men are thought to have clashed. The battle between York and Lancaster men saw at least 800 men killed and the monarchy change hands from Henry VI to Edward IV. Towton was a decisive victory for the Yorkists and left the House of Lancaster in turmoil.

The history of the location lends intrigue and gravity to the wonderful views of the North Yorkshire countryside. You can learn much more about the history and see artefacts at the Visitor’s Information Centre in the grounds of the Crooked Billet pub.

In 1929, the Towton Cross was erected on the battlefield and you will see it on the trail.

The walk is a signposted circuit of the battlefield beginning in Towton Village. Head west on Old London Road and then following the signs for the Towton Battlefield Trail. Follow the trail and you will come across information signs detailing the history of the land. It may be muddy this time of year so bring your walking boots. Although it is a much safer walk than if you were to walk it in March 1461!

Guides are available twice a month from the Towton Battlefield Society in a 2-and-a-half-mile informative route from a history enthusiast. For more Walkshire Walks of the Day follow this link.

chalk lane

Tatton Sykes Monument and Cottam

A wonderfully quiet and scenic walk. Starting and finishing at the impressive and towering Tatton Sykes Monument, it takes you through the Yorkshire Wolds Countryside of the East Riding of Yorkshire and the scene of an old medieval village that was deserted at the time of the plague and where the remains of a derelict chapel still stands.

The Yorkshire Wolds are a joy to walk, even more so on a sunny day like it was for me. Big open skies, rolling landscapes of farmed fields, colours of all manner of crops and history hidden away from the main roads.

Tatton sykes monument

The walk starts and ends at Tatton Sykes Monument. The monument can be seen for miles around and is situated about a mile south of Sledmere House. It was erected in 1865, in memorial of Sir Tatton Sykes, 4th baronet (1772-1863).

There is free parking beside the monument and space for around 8-10 cars.

The walk starts by crossing the road directly across from the monument onto a tarmac lane called York Rd.

york road

Follow this lane for around a mile and at the farm entrance keep straight on. Here the tarmac goes and you continue on chalk track, gradually heading downhill. Here you really start to get a taste of escapism and big skies. A true Yorkshire Wolds walking feel.

At the bottom of the track you meet another road where you will see the path ahead across it and straight on. Now you are on a grass walking path heading upwards slightly as the well seen path takes you upwards beside fields of crops.

yorkshire wolds walk

I was here in September so it was abundant in colours. On one side the harvested grain in brown and the yellow of mustard on the other.

Keep going straight on for a couple of miles or so, there are no paths to tempt you off track left or right so do not worry. The path feels like a long straight line all the way so far.

Eventually the grass path will turn to a concrete lane until you reach a cross road type junction where you turn left and head towards Cottam.

You will pass a farm on your right so keep going straight on and at the next junction head left where you will immediately see the derelict Church of Holy Trinity. It is the only reminder of the hamlet of Cottam that stood here. A medieval dwelling that was deserted during the plague.

cottam church

After the church the scenery changes once more. Through the ditch that is Cottam Well Dale beneath the Earthworks. If you have dog watch out for cows and bulls.

yorkshire wolds scene

Walking this dale was beautiful and away from it all, we met nobody and the landscape changed all the time. Birds of prey in many numbers could be seen hovering in the breeze above the dale, looking for prey.

Eventually you will meet the road once more where you turn left and walk along the road for about half a mile.

You will then see on your right the chalk track that heads back following your first section back to the monument.

I have included a GPX file to assist you here: Tatton Sykes Monument – Map – Walkshire | Welcome to Yorkshire

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.