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Acaster Malbis and the River Ouse

Acaster Malbis and the River Ouse
4 miles
1½ to 2 hours
Level of walk:
038 (300x200)

Why you should do this walk…

This riverside walk gives your pooch the opportunity to be off lead on grassy paths and have a swim or paddle in the river.  Even though you are close to the city of York, this walk takes you on a tranquil journey by past picturesque villages on the riverside and through wide open fields.

What else you need to know

How to get there – from York city centre, head south towards Bishopthorpe. From the racecourse on Tadcaster Road, turn left at York College along Silm Balk Lane. Or leave York on Bishopthorpe Road. Once in Bishopthorpe, follow the signs for Acaster Malbis. From the A64, turn off at Copmanthorpe, and head through the village following the signs for Acaster Malbis.  Once in the village, look for the signs towards the riverside Ship Inn.

Suggested map – OS Explorer Map 290 York, Selby & Tadcaster

Car park – limited roadside parking, or the Ship Inn car park – for patrons only

Start – The Ship Inn

Length/time – 4 miles, should take around 1½ to 2 hours

Terrain/Difficulty – EASY, mostly on wide, flat paths by the river or on the old railway line. There are a few stiles, but these will present no problems to most dogs due to the large gaps under the gates!

Dog friendliness – dog bins near the start and in middle of walk, easy to negotiate stiles, river for swimming and paddling and some off-lead opportunities make this a very pleasant stroll for your pooch.  Little bit of walking on a quiet road near the end of the walk.

Food and drink – Ship Inn has a pleasant garden overlooking the river and a covered outside area.  Dogs are also allowed in the bar.

Public toilets – toilets at the Ship Inn for patrons.

Other interesting info:

The Latin word for camp is ‘castra’ indicating that the Roman army may have been based in Acaster Malbis, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Acastre.   Malbis comes from the Norman Malbysse or De Malebys family and was a Norman name that means  ‘very swarthy’ in French.

The Walk

  1. From the Ship Inn, head along York Road, with a caravan park to the left and the River Ouse to the right. After a short while cross the road and following a wooden way-marked footpath sign, head up Jorvik Lane towards the river. There is a dog waste bin under the sign.
  2. The lane is quiet – only being used by boat owners to gain access to the moorings, so well-behaved pooches may be let off the lead here. Visible on the other side of the river is the village Naburn and opposite here the sloped bank offers a doggie paddling or swimming opportunity! The path becomes grassier after passing a stile next to a metal gate – easily passed by under by all dogs and most humans too! Keep ahead by the river bank, ignoring the path as it bends to the left.  Instead climb the way-marked stile – there is a big space for dogs to pass through, and continue towards the old Naburn Swing Bridge now in clear view ahead.
  3. Before reaching the bridge, turn left at a way-marked stile by a metal gate. Climb the stile – most dogs will go under the gate, and head in straight line across the field. Sometimes cattle graze here so be ready with the lead just in case! At the far side of the field, climb a stile next to a wooden gate – again most dogs will go under it, and turn right along the road.
  4. After a short distance, pass under the bridge then immediately turn right up some steps and head for the York to Selby Railway Path – part of the national cycle network (route 65) and Trans Pennine Trail. There is a dog-waste bin here. Turn to the right and head up a flight of stone steps to the track-bed of the old York to Selby railway line. Turn right at the top and head along the flat, concrete path. This section can be busy but there is ample room for; joggers, cyclists, walkers and dogs of course!
  5. With the houses of Bishopthorpe visible to the right, turn left along a public footpath – signposted to Acaster Malbis. Follow the path along the edge of a field with a line of trees to the right and another tree in front.  Where the tree line ends continue ahead between two fields towards the hedge. Cross a stile – it has a big gap for dogs, and continue straight ahead on the path along the edge of a field with a Hawthorne hedge to the right.
  6. The paths here are grassy and well defined – giving a sense of freedom and of being in the open space even though the city of York is so near. Cross another stile with a gap for dogs and continue ahead between two fields towards houses and a tree line ahead.  Approaching a large metal gate with a ‘private’ sign, bear right towards the tree where there is another stile and dog gap. Then keep ahead on the path next to a wire and post fence before crossing a way-marked wooden footbridge to the right leading to an enclosed public footpath.
  7. Continue along the path to the road, and turn left back towards Acaster Malbis. Follow the road as it bends to the right, left, then right again before taking a footpath to the left through a caravan park – signposted to Horling Lane, underneath a sign for Poplar Farm. Head through the caravan park and emerge back on the road near the Ship Inn.

The Gallery
















Walk Map



Reviews / Comments ( 11 )
  1. Dawn Lilburn says:

    We thoroughly enjoyed this walk. The Ship Inn were very welcoming of us and Mckenzie and it made a really nice end to a lovely afternoon!

    • Sarah Nicholson says:

      We welcome dogs and their owners in The Ship Inn, both in the garden and in the bar. Water bowls are provided and freshly-cooked food and drink for the humans!

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