park in the sunshine grass flowers

Valley Gardens, Harrogate to RHS Harlow Carr

One of the most popular walks in Harrogate takes you from the Royal Pump Room Museum to RHS Harlow Carr. The draw is twofold. Firstly, flower lovers will delight in the majestic Valley Gardens, with their seasonal displays of colourful blooms, as well as the 58-acre showcase of RHS splendour to be found at Harlow Carr. Secondly, the walk features a Betty’s Tea Room and Café at each end and we know of no other walk that makes this delicious claim!

Bettys café and tea room in Harrogate
The iconic Bettys Café and Tea Rooms in Harrogate

Before you start your walk, make sure to visit Bettys on Parliament Street in Harrogate, if only to gaze upon the incredible treats in the sumptuous window displays. From there, head down the hill past the Turkish Baths and the Winter Gardens building. From the traffic lights at the bottom of the hill, you’ll see the Royal Hall diagonally to your right. Take a left and pop into the Tourist Information Office. Here you can pick up a map for this route which includes a discount for entrance to RHS Harlow Carr. Ahead, you’ll find the Royal Pump Room Museum. Here, you can discover the history of the spa town, learning how the Victorian gentry took in the strongest sulphur waters in Europe.

From the Royal Pump Room Museum, use the pedestrian crossing to enter Valley Gardens. Here the walk begins in earnest, at the main entrance to 17 acres of award-winning English Heritage Grade II-listed parkland. You can explore immaculate floral displays and intriguing themed gardens, while the park also features a children’s play area and sporting activities.

Of the three paths in front of you, take the left hand option and walk alongside the stream. We stopped several times to watch ducks in the water and squirrels racing up the trees to our right.

You’ll soon reach the Magnesia Well café serving refreshments inside and out. You could even treat yourself to an ice cream to take with you on your walk. Check out the circular feature where the pathways meet- this area is known as Bogs Field and contains several capped wells. You can find a total of 36 mineral wells within Valley Gardens.

flowers and grass in the park. people sat outside having drinks and snacks. sunshine café
The Magnesia Well Café in Valley Gardens, Harrogate

To explore the gardens further, you can wander through the Japanese Garden, visit the play park or even enjoy a game of pitch and putt. Whatever you choose to do, just return to this circular meeting of paths to continue the walk.

Japanese ornament, path and trees with red branches in a Japanese style park
The Japanese Garden in Valley Gardens

From here, roughly opposite the path that brought you to the Magnesia Well, you’ll find a bench-lined path passing the tennis courts with a grassed area to your left. This part of the walk is slightly uphill. At the fork of the paths, follow the right hand dirt path into the pine woods.

path leading into pine woods information board
Track into the pine woods

Now all you need to do is follow this one path towards the west. Look out for an abundance of wildlife amongst the trees. Keep any dogs and young children close to you as you’ll need to cross a road en route.

A small brown dog running towards the camera along a path through a woods

Approximately 10 minutes after crossing the road, you’ll reach an information point with binoculars offering panoramic views of the countryside. To the other side of the path, a feeding station brings a wide a variety of birds into close range. Once you’ve enjoyed this special spot, you’re on the home straight. Your destination of RHS Harlow Carr is now within sight, with its stunning gardens, beautifully stocked garden centre and homeware shop. There’s also, of course, another Betty’s Tea Room.

Manicured lawns and stunning flowerbeds blue sky
RHS Harlow Carr

www.visitharrogate.co.uk/

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/

Embsay Reservoir

A walk from Little Miss Yorkshire

Embsay Reservoir walk is a great starter walk for little ones. It is only a short, one-mile circular walk, but it packs a lot in.

The walk offers stunning views out over Skipton, with Embsay Crag and Crookrise Crag forming a beautiful backdrop to the reservoir.

The walk starts at the Yorkshire Water car park, which offers free parking (BD23 6PR).

You’ll find that the terrain is mixed. Half of the route consists of a track, with other parts of the walk being comprised of stony paths. There are also some grassy areas which can get muddy, so you might want to pack wellies if required. The route is not pram friendly, though in the height of summer you may be able to navigate a good off-road pram round if it is dry enough.

I would recommend doing the route anti-clockwise, taking in the crest road first. Once you go through the gate onto the grassed area, there is a sandy beach which appears near the weir when the water level is low in the summer months. This is the best place for paddling and throwing stones in the water. The route continues around the reservoir before crossing over a footbridge. On the top of the hill is perched an old barn which my little man loves to explore, trying to see if the ‘dragon’ is at home. This is also a good distraction to stop him from lingering at the next beach area. This is the one used by geese, so I would be careful when looking for ‘stones’ to throw in the water!

From this point the path emerges onto the track. Here, you’ll find THE best puddles! This is why I suggested going anti-clockwise, as you’ll find that a change of clothing is required immediately after this!

There are plenty of benches dotted around, which make for good snack spots. You could also just sit down and watch the other families walking, the boats and wind surfers on the water, the dogs swimming and the geese flying around.

You can extend the walk by climbing either of the Crags. I would certainly recommend doing this at some point.

Read the full blog on Embsay Reservoir by Little Miss Yorkshire here.

For more family friendly walks in Yorkshire, check out Little Miss Yorkshire’s website or Facebook page.

Family Woodland Walk at Coxley Woods

With a very active 5-year-old, we love to explore our local area by going on adventures! We find woodland walks the perfect place to keep him interested and entertained, allowing us a decent walk as a family without a struggle to keep him going.

Coxley Woods, in rural west Wakefield, is our absolute favourite place for adventuring! There is a little stream for dam building and wading, trees for den constructions and swinging and ducks and horses to see. In the spring, the woods even take on a carpet of bluebells and wild garlic!

When exploring the woods, we love these two circular routes, one of just over 1.5km and a slightly longer version further up the valley of 5km. Many Wakefield parents and carers from my Wakefield Mumbler parenting community enjoy these too!

We hope you have a brilliant day out exploring our favourite Wakefield woodland!

Walking around the York City Walls with Kids

Walking around the ancient walls in York is one of our favourite things to do with our kids. Seeing the city from this elevated perspective, away from the busy streets, is just wonderful at any time of year.

You can do the full 2-mile circular walk or you can choose to do just a section (we like the one from Monk Bar to Bootham best as it takes you all around the back of the Minster and Dean’s Park), depending on how little your children’s legs are! The most perilous areas are made safe with railings, although it’s worth noting that some areas are still exposed. There is currently a one-way system in place, so you don’t have to worry about getting past anyone. 

Be sure to take some paper and crayons as at each major Bar (the name for the old gates) there is a bit of historical information along with a ‘City Walls Rubbing Trail’. If you complete the trail, you get a map of the walls as well as some other fun images.

york-city-walls-kids

The access to the walls is up ancient stairs and there are many ups and downs, taking you down to street level and back up to the walls, so the walk is, unfortunately, not suitable for wheelchairs or prams. On the walls there are lots of sections with a couple of steps along the way too, so we’d definitely recommend walking or using a sling if you have a little one.

There are lots of fabulous photo opportunities along the way, including the beautiful York Minster backdrop and the four main Bars, plus lots of other twists and turns along the way.

For more information about this walk and lots of other fabulous family friendly walks in York, just visit the York Mumbler Website.

York  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 York Mumbler, a go-to parenting website that has all the information you might need. You can also follow the news page on Facebook, Instagram, or join the York Mumbler Chat Group for local parents and carers.

Finding mud when on a walk with children

Five Things That Always Happen on a Walk With Children

One particular film scene that really captured my attention as a kid came from Crocodile Dundee. Grizzled bushman Mick pretends that he can tell the time by observing the position of the sun. In the movie it is a trick. The charming chancer sneaks a sly look at his business partner’s watch before claiming to read the sky. But I always wondered whether it was possible. Thirty years on, I am sure it must be because I have developed a similar skill in real life. I can set my watch by the five things that always happen on a walk with children. 

Walking in the Wharfe Valley in West Yorkshire

If there are any positives to take from the coronavirus pandemic, one of them is the newfound acceptance of spending the whole working day in your pyjamas, and another has to be the opportunity it has presented us with to explore our local areas. 

We live in Burley-in-Wharfedale, near Ilkley in West Yorkshire, and we are lucky to have so many spectacular routes on our doorstep. However, one walk in particular has captured the imaginations of the entire family. And we rarely all agree on anything. Seriously. It takes about three hours to pick a film we all want to watch. 

Our Favourite Lockdown Route

We deliberated, cogitated and digested for weeks before settling on the Walkshire route that suits us all best. Eventually, the walk along the old railway line from Burley, crossing Otley Golf Club and returning to our village via the footpath that leads to the Otley Old Road won out. 

It has everything. Trains for my locomotive-obsessed three-year-old lad on the section where you walk parallel to the current railway, trees and nature for my seven-year-old daughter, a budding naturalist, and beautiful views across the expanse of the Wharfe Valley that us parents appreciate as we emerge from the wooded canopy by the golf course. 

And, having enjoyed that walk with children in all seasons and weathers, I can categorically state the exact point at which all of these events will occur. Like clockwork. 

Five Checkpoints on a Walk With Children

1. Taking an Hour to Get Out of the House

Obviously this occurs before we begin. I have never understood how it can take us so long to leave the house at the same time. It might be understandable in winter, with gloves, scarves and hats to find, but it also happens in summer. 

No matter where children put their shoes when they come home, the footwear instantly disappears and hides. Usually, the pairs split up and take up position in two separate, tricky-to-find locations, just to delay your exit even longer. Surely there is a research team at one of the great Yorkshire universities looking into this exact problem right now. I am keen to read that paper. 

Once everyone is fully clothed, you ask the all-important question, “have you been for a ‘just-in-case’ wee?”. The answer is invariably “no,” so the children take off their coats and gloves to oblige and the whole process pretty much begins again.  

2. There Will Be Mud

Have you ever seen footage of dowsers attempting to discover sources of ground water using those v-shaped sticks? Well, children don’t divine water, but they do have a natural and highly tuned ability to seek out mud wherever it may lay. 

Finding mud on a walk with children

This is understandable in winter as this is Yorkshire after all and the rain is all part of the charm of that time of year around here. But even following a Yorkshire heatwave (definition: two days of sunshine), they will uncover any patch of sludge there is to find en route, no matter how miniscule. 

This occurs within seconds of us heading away from the residential streets and climbing up onto the old track bed. It is preceded by parental warnings that they will have to suffer wet feet for another couple of hours’ worth of walking, but that always falls on deaf ears. Every time. 

3. Someone Will Fall Over

No walk with children is complete without someone falling over. Usually a child, but sometimes me. The paths are uneven, there are jutting tree roots and, let’s face it, children are always in danger of tripping as they charge about and release some of that energy they tend to store up. 

When it is a child that tumbles, there is an assessment to make. Is it sufficiently serious to turn around and go home, or will it be okay once you’ve bribed them with sweets and fizzy drinks for pushing onwards? It’s almost always the latter, but either way, are you even a dad if at this point you don’t look sorrowfully at the injury and say, “I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to amputate?”

This is usually just before we cross the A65 Burley to Menston road for some reason. Perhaps it is the point where they are so engrossed in running around and having fun that they forget about the need to do something as silly as look where they are going. The same goes for when I’m the falling victim too, by the way. 

4. “You Brought the Wrong Snacks” 

Once we have crossed the A65 and we are walking through the woods on the edge of Otley Golf Club, I deem that we have made it sufficiently far to reward ourselves with snacks. The initial burst of energy is on the wane and we all need a boost. 

However, whatever I bring to replenish ourselves, it’s the wrong snack. Every time. If I bring apples, they want bananas. If I bring bananas, they want apples. Same with chocolates and sweets. Even if I asked them what they might want before we set off, that has changed by the time we reach this point on the walk and I should have pre-empted that when packing the bag. 

Short of lugging a suitcase filled with the contents of the newsagent’s confectionary aisle around the Yorkshire countryside, there is no way of avoiding this. 

5. “Can I Go On Your Shoulders?”

Eventually, once the disappointment dies down, they eat the treats and that energises us to carry on. We cross the golf course (making sure we use only the marked paths, avoid interrupting players mid-swing and keep an eye out for eagles, albatrosses, bogies and other potential hazards) and make it to my favourite part of this walk with children. 

Walking in Yorkshire with a child on your shoulders

You get to stroll through a meadow with spectacular 360 degree views filled with lush green landscapes, sweeping around from the Otley Chevin, past Burley Moor, round to Weston and back to Otley itself. With the cattle and sheep grazing in the pastures and the dry stone walls dividing the fields, every time it provides the proof I need that we were spot on when we decided to move here. 

And then I am shaken from my reverie by those six words. “Can I go on your shoulders?” The three-year-old simply runs out of puff this far in. We have walked more than two miles by this point, so it is no surprise. But as I eye up his mud-caked footwear and consider how recently I washed my coat, it is far from an enticing prospect. 

Still, I lift him up and think about all the good that the resistance training is doing me on the mile-long slog back home. My thought process is only broken by his occasional comments about how I could “speed up a bit if I tried.”

Then it’s back home, hot chocolate on the go, coat in the wash and kids’ shoes scurrying around the house ahead of the next family trip in Yorkshire. Then we snuggle up on the sofa to watch a film. Minions? No. Frozen? No. Trolls? No. And so on for the next three hours. 

Maybe I could tempt them with Crocodile Dundee next time…

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.

Walkshire through the eyes of an 8 year old

Here is a blog by our youngest contributor, so far, Eden. He was asked to write about his three favourite walks where he lives as part of his school assignment this year and got in touch to ask if it could be part of our Walkshire campaign. How could we refuse?

We hope you enjoy Walkshire through the eyes of an 8 year old, we certainly did at Welcome to Yorkshire.

My favourite three local walks by Eden, aged 8.

Hello, my name is Eden and I am from Cullingworth in West ‘Walkshire’. I am very lucky to have lots of nice walks around where I live. As part of my schoolwork this term I’m writing about three of my favourite walks and I wanted to share them with you.

The Viaduct (The Great Northern Trail)

This walk starts at Cullingworth Village Primary school, on the site of the old train station. You can see the old station sign in front of the school.

Following the path opposite the school you will walk onto the first viaduct. This crosses over a lot of houses so make sure you wave to people sat out in their back gardens. The viaduct is nice and wide so if you have a dog or want to cycle it’s a great place to go. The path then continues following the route of the old railway line between Keighley, Cullingworth and Queensbury on the outskirts of Bradford. The path is more or less flat because it used to be a railway track and needed to be level for the trains.

After about 10 mins there is a lovely tunnel that you can stand underneath to shout and listen to the echo or you can take a short cut over the top of the tunnel on the right hand side. The route continues for another 15 minutes until you reach the splendid, amazing, wonderful and cool Hewenden viaduct.

Built in the 1880’s, taking 3 years to complete, it was finished in 1883 making it 138 years old. That is very old!!! It has 17 arches and curves to the right. The views of the countryside from on top are stunning, splendid and special especially of the reservoir below. I like to imagine going back in time and travelling on the train on this railway.

At the other end of the viaduct is a hidden station and if you look closely you can see the old platforms and station house.

I love this walk because of its history and the hard work that went into building the amazing viaduct.

Goit Stock Waterfall

Goit stock is a beautiful, amazing and splendid waterfall in Cullingworth and we are lucky to live near it. The waterfall has been formed over hundreds of thousands of years and is lovely natural beauty spot. It is a short walk from where I live so we go and see it regularly. In normal times I love to take my friends to see it when they come to stay with us.

The things I like about the waterfall are the sound it makes especially after heavy rainfall. It can sound like an angry roar from a lion and is very loud. When it is quiet, I like playing in the shallow water with my friends and stone skimming. It is the perfect place to skim and I love doing that with my daddy.

After we’ve finished playing, we walk down the beck towards Harden passing through a mystical woodland full of dear, badgers and singing birds. I love checking out the various plant species with my mummy who knows the names of them all. She is so clever like that.

We then like to rest our legs at the Malt pub in Harden where they have a lovely space to play football and excellent ice cream!

Cow House Beck/Emma’s Badger Sett

My favourite place for a walk and a picnic is Cow House Beck that has thousands of flowers in the meadow making it beautiful, splendid and peaceful. I love to play in the stream here with my friends and family. In the summer I had lots of fun here running around in the field in the open air.

In the summer last year, we found an abandoned badger cub very close by. It was surprise to see it out in the daylight and it was the first time I had ever seen one. My mummy is a brilliant ecologist and was able to rescue the young cub with the help of the RSPCA. This cub was then named Emma, in honour of my mummy, but I wanted to call it Gonzo after the character in the Muppets. Thankfully, Emma was looked after and then released into a safe spot somewhere else the country.

Therefore, because of this special experience and the lovely setting of Cow House Beck this is one of my favourite places to walk too as it brings me happy thoughts every time I visit.


Railway Children Walk

Distance: About 2.5 miles 

Pram friendly: No 

As well as being famous for the home of the Brontë sisters, Haworth has another claim to fame: the village and surrounding area was used as the location for the film The Railway Children.

This two-and-a-half-mile walk takes in part of the Railway Children Walk through some glorious countryside beside the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

Follow the railway line and stream and you will eventually find yourself on the Haworth Cobbles – and if you’re too tired to walk back you can jump on the train and gently chug through the countryside.

Full details of the walk can be found here.

Visit Bradford

National Railway Museum

Ingleton Waterfalls Walk

 The Ingleton Falls Walk, a firm favourite for me, especially on the quiet days away from the Summer holiday season. If you are in Yorkshire and feel like a shorter walk packed with gorgeous scenery and fresh air, get yourself to here, a super trail for the whole family.

A circular walk of just over 4 miles that leads up one river across and down another. Starting low it was off through the limestone woodland. Rich in trees and moss. Greens abound even in mid-Feb, you can imagine a different kind of beauty when the trees come to life with leaves. It is also hard to miss the songbirds singing in the trees above. You will see plenty no matter the time of year you go.

Read the full guide to this walk here.