The Bluebells of Ilkley’s Middleton Woods

This Mother’s Day, finding a beautiful spring walk is high on every mummy’s agenda (well, that and breakfast in bed, which I’m still waiting for five years into my motherhood journey).

If you’re local to Ilkley, you are EXTREMELY lucky to have my absolutely FAVOURITE display of bluebells on your doorstep. In fact, the circular walk along the river bank and up through Middleton Woods is probably my favourite spring walk in Yorkshire! With fantastic views across the Wharfe Valley, beautiful woodland to explore, a pretty riverside and the chance of seeing lambs, what’s not to love?

The walk is only 4-5km, so it’s a great walk for children too (though it’s not buggy friendly). Starting at Riverside Gardens, follow the river before reaching the leisure centre and the bottom entrance to Middleton Woods. Continue uphill and in a north-westerly direction, passing behind the monastery, then head back downhill to join the river path. The bonus is that children can be bribed to the end with a fab play area (and an ice cream). Read the full walk description on the Muddy Boots Mummy site here. If your children need a little encouragement, perhaps you could try this Spring Walk Bingo!

This is actually one of the first walks I did on Muddy Boots Mummy. I launched the blog whilst I was pregnant with my son to motivate me to get out and about. It’s become a go-to resource for families across West Yorkshire to find child-friendly walks and places to enjoy the outdoors. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to discover more places as we venture further afield in the upcoming months!

Skipton Castle Woods

If you are visiting Skipton, you simply have to walk through Skipton Woods. It’s the perfect place for little ones to explore, with routes of varying distances available. There’s a particularly great short walk starting from the top of the High Street.

The best way in is by starting on the canal and walking up behind the castle (Mill Bridge entrance), as this way you get to view the castle sat way up high on the rock.

You’ll find the entrance to the Woods, a Woodland Trust site, just between the houses. The wicker lady with her bow and arrow points you in the right direction. If you’re after a pram friendly route, enter the woods by walking up Chapel Hill instead and follow the road round to the right. This will bring you to the same entrance. You can follow the path all the way up but you’ll need to retrace your steps back out.

One of the routes we like doing regularly is the ‘red dotted route’. This takes in the whole woods and exits onto Short Lee Lane. To make things even better, there is usually an ice cream van parked in the lay-by, giving our 5-year-old all the motivation he needs! From here, you can go over the stile into the field on the left and climb up to the top to take in the amazing views over the town. The footpath continues down the hill, emerging onto Chapel Hill. This route is 3km.

Our little man loves exploring the woods and there is always so much excitement. Obviously, throwing stones into the water (Round Dam) features high on the list, but he also loves playing hide and seek, running round the bench amphitheatre, watching the waterfall and jumping in all the puddles. Apparently all the ‘big sticks’ can be found here too!

To read more about this walk from Little Miss Yorkshire, read the blog on her website here, or follow her on Instagram.

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Otley Chevin for families

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As a family with primary school-aged children, we love enjoying a local walk and the views and countryside in Wharfedale are breathtaking. After launching Wharfedale & Craven Mumbler, the hyper-local parenting community, 3 years ago, we have done plenty of exploring of the local area. One of our favourite places is Otley Chevin– there is so much to see and explore there. 

The Chevin is situated on the outskirts of Otley. It’s one of our regular go-to places to visit with the children, who can enjoy following a trail, going off the path to explore the forest and build dens, take in some local history and even enjoy the dry stone wall maze! Whatever the weather, the Chevin has something to offer. The tracks are steep in places so a carrier is advised for little ones and it can get a little muddy – but which kid doesn’t love a muddy puddle to splash in?? Read about the great choices of walks for families on Otley Chevin here.

If you would like to find more ideas to entertain the kids in Wharfedale & Craven please visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Instagram, and join the Facebook Chat group for local parents and carers.