Huggate and Dry Valleys Distance: 6 miles Duration: 3 hours Level of walk: Medium Check latest weather Why you should do this walk… A circular walk, of about 6 miles, from Huggate that passes through dry valleys created around 18,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. These valleys, known locally as dales,…
Knaresborough, the Nidd Gorge and Old Bilton
Knaresborough, the Nidd Gorge and Old Bilton
Distance: 7¾ miles
Duration: 3 hours
Level of walk: MediumView Walks Key
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Why you should do this walk…
If your dog deserves an energetic romp – mostly off-lead, with some climbs and the added bonus of the opportunity of a swim in the quieter parts of the River Nidd, why not consider this walk? The Nidd Gorge is stunning and a magnet for walkers, while the pretty market town of Knaresborough has many dog-friendly places to pop in to for refreshments when you have finished.
What else you need to know
How to get there – From the A59 Harrogate to York road, turn into the Conyngham Hall pay and display car park by the bridge over the River Nidd opposite the Worlds End pub. By train – Knaresborough station is just 5 minutes’ walk away, along Water Bag Bank and Waterside. By bus – Harrogate and District busses operated by Transdev serve Knaresborough.
Suggested map – OS Explorer 289 Leeds – Harrogate, Wetherby & Pontefract
Car park – Conyngham Hall pay and display car park in Knaresborough
Start – At the car park
Length/time –7 ¾ miles, takes up to 3 hours
Terrain/difficulty – MEDIUM, mostly on grassy paths, tarmacked lanes and cycle tracks but also includes some steep descents and climbs by the river, which may be boggy and muddy after wet weather.
Dog friendliness – very much so, with plenty of opportunities for off-lead frolics and paddling in the river.
Food and drink – plenty of dog-friendly pubs and cafés in Knaresborough including; Blind Jack’s, The Mitre Pub, Marigolds Café and Boating, The Guy Fawkes Arms and the Riverside Café on Waterside. Please see Directories for details.
Public toilets – at the car park in Knaresborough
Other interesting info:
The ‘Knaresborough Bed Race’ has been run in the town every summer since 1966. Teams of six runners and one passenger, decorate special tube frame ‘beds’ for a parade through Knaresborough, before competing in a bed-push race. Most teams are local, however competitors have been attracted from Europe and the USA.
- Turn right out of the car park and cross the bridge over the River Nidd. Take an immediate right opposite Mother Shipton’s Cave and follow the sign for the Ringway Footpath and Conyngham Hall Trail. Pass through the gate ahead into the park, with the river and car park to the right. Your pooch may be let off the lead here. Stay ahead on the cycle track, ignoring the sign for Macintosh Park, and continue over a small bridge crossing a beck. Then follow the way-marked Ringway Footpath uphill.
- Keep ahead to a metal kissing gate next to a cattle grid and continue on the tarmacked path, keeping the tree line to the right and an open field to the left. Pass through another metal kissing gate with a cattle grid to an enclosed path bordered by trees to the right and a wire and post fence to the left. Cross a quiet road – the entrance to Bilton Hall, and continue ahead on the tarmacked Ringway Footpath/Beryl Burton Cycle Way, passing a house to the left as the track bears right then left.
- At a wooden footpath sign, turn right following the signs for Ringway Footpath and Knaresborough Round. Head along the track towards a way-marked gate with a stile on the edge of Nidd Gorge Woods. Even larger breeds of dogs will be able to slip through the stile with no problems! Continue towards a metal gate, but just before it follow the way-marker to the right, keeping a fence to the left as the undulating gravel/stone path winds its way towards the river. At a fork, take the right hand path and head down through the trees – towards the River Nidd below.
- Follow the steps down to the riverside – where there will be plenty of opportunities for your pooch to have a paddle or a swim – conditions permitting. Continue along the path, with the river to the right. Near a footbridge, keep ahead using the duck-boards and following the Nidd Gorge footpath sign. This section passes over numerous duck-boards to make the path passable even when the river is high.
- The path turns away from the river then back again. Cross a footbridge made from two planks of wood, then continue on the path – there are more duck-boards to aid passage. Cross a stile next to the river, again – most dogs will be able to slip under. There are good possibilities for paddling and swimming here. Cross another stile – with a dog gap, towards more duck-boards. Keep ahead on the path – close to the river and ignore the bridleway heading off uphill to the left.
- Soon afterwards, just before a weir, and near to where some buildings – Scotton Mill, come into view on the other side of the river; follow a flight of wooden steps uphill to the left. At Milner’s fork, continue left towards Old Bilton – following the footpath sign for Gardeners Arms. Continue uphill, along the enclosed path – again duck-boards have been provided to help navigate the terrain. After emerging from the trees, the ‘Golf Balls’ of RAF Menwith Hill can be seen in the distance to the right.
- Follow the path along the edge of a field, keeping the hedge line to the left. The path becomes enclosed as it heads downhill, passing farm buildings to the left. Pass through a way-marked gate to a public bridleway sign pointing to the left, along the track leading from Woodside Farm.
- At the end of the track, turn left on to a quiet road, which passes in front of the Gardeners Arms pub – with its pleasant outdoor beer garden, where dogs on leads are welcome. The road passes through the village of Old Bilton. There is a pavement to walk on, and there are very few cars here. Continue ahead, passing a caravan park entrance to the left and the Bilton Pet Hotel to the right. The ‘no-through-road’ becomes a cycle track – the Beryl Burton Way.
- Keep ahead, passing the track taken earlier on in the walk towards the Nidd Gorge. At the entrance to Bilton Hall, cross the road and retrace your steps back to Knaresborough and the bridge across the river to the car park.