A 3 mile circular walk around the wooded Pennine valley of Hardcastle Crags, near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. Owned by the National Trust the valley comprises a beautiful shallow river, Hebden Water with steep wooded valley sides and you will have chance to discover lots of wildlife plus some industrial archaeology along the way. If you have children with you, you may wish to bring along crayons and paper as there are several engraved markers around the site, showing the various leaves and seeds in the woodland.
Lower Dunsforth Loop
Why you should do this walk…
If you’re after a relaxing riverside walk where your dog can easily have a paddle or a swim. The countryside around the river Ure and Lower Dunsforth is gently undulating so if you’re not up for lots of energetic climbing this is perfect. It’s also very pretty.
What else you need to know
How to get there – signposted from the B6265 heading south from Boroughbridge or north from Green Hammerton on the A59 York to Harrogate road.
Suggested map – OS Explorer Ripon & Boroughbridge 299
Car park – parking by the road side in Lower Dunsforth
Start – Lower Dunsforth by information board for the Lower Dunsforth Loop in front of the pub
Length/time – 5 miles and 1 ¾ hours
Terrain/difficulty – EASY on quiet roads through fields and by the river side on grassy paths
Dog friendliness – few stiles at start of walk, stiles later in the walk have dog gates. Some sheep and cattle may be in fields. There is a dog-bin in Lower Dunsforth.
Food and drink – nearest dog-friendly pub is the Dawnay Arms at Newton on Ouse. See Directories for details
Public toilets –only in the pub at Lower Dunsforth
Other interesting info:
The earliest recorded name for the river Ure is Earp. It was not until Tudor times that it was known as the Ure.
- From the Lower Dunsforth Loop information board in front of the pub, head along the footpath at the side of the road with the pub to the left. The grass verge is wide, with plenty of room for your pooch to walk on. After a short distance, there are two wooden footpath signs visible on the other side of the road. Follow the second one across a stile (Izzy needed lifting over this one) on to a narrow but short snicket. Pass through a gate at the end of the snicket into a field and head diagonally towards a stile and tree in the left corner of the field.
- Cross the stile (this has has a dog-gate) then turn left immediately to follow the path which skirts round the fence line and past a stone wall and a farm outbuilding to the left. Keep ahead over a flood defence mound and continue ahead towards the hedge line, then turn left to head along it – keeping the hedge to the right. The path bears round to the right and passes beneath the canopy of a large tree before heading to another stile in the corner of the field. Cross the stile (again it has a dog-gate) and continue straight ahead over another field and look out for a stile (dog-gate) in the hedge opposite. After crossing it, head diagonally across a field towards a farm gate and stile to the left.
- Go through the gate to a quiet road opposite Dunsforth Lodge, where it is joined by Dunsforth Lane. Cross the road and head along the quiet lane with hedgerows on either side. At the farm buildings, bear right while still on the lane, then left onto what has now become a farm track.
- Pass a large tree to the left and a public footpath sign with directions to local villages and the river to the right. Keep ahead and continue on to a short enclosed grassy path, which leads to a metal gate ahead. Pass through the gate into a field with a line of Hawthorne trees on the left – and keeping the treeline to the left, look for a gated footbridge across a beck to the left of the trees. Before crossing the bridge, there is an opportunity to keep straight ahead to the river bank where your pooch may indulge in a quick paddle!
- After crossing the bridge, turn right along a grassy track towards the River Ure. The path then heads left, along the top of the embankment – good romping terrain for your dog when cattle and sheep are not about. Keep to the riverside path and pass through numerous gates marking the boundaries of fields – while enjoying views of the river and the occasional boat. Many dogs will want to jump in the water for a quick swim!
- Follow the path as it curves round to the north of Lower Dunsforth village – from where the spire of the church is visible. The river bank becomes overgrown near a field, with bungalows visible in the distance to the left. Cross a stile with a dog gate into the next field, heading along a grassy path towards a large tree next to a fence. Continue ahead on an overgrown narrow path with a wooden post and wire fence on each side. Cross a stile onto a similar path and pass through three metal gates, before crossing a footbridge into a field.
- Keep to the path by the river for a short while before turning left to follow River Ure Lane, a path across a field towards trees, a hedge line and some gates (note that the way-marker was missing last time we visited). Turn left at the gates onto the road and keep left at the junction back into Lower Dunsforth village.
This walk is now on the iFootpath website and App – Lower Dunsforth Loop