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.
North from Howden
North from HowdenNorth from Howden
Level of walk:MediumView Walks Key
Why you should do this walk…
This is a great romp through wide open spaces that lets you and your pooch enjoy a real sense of freedom and tranquillity. It’s a relatively level route on green paths and along arable fields, where well-behaved dogs can be off-lead for most of the time – and there are no stiles to be climbed. The bustling market town of Howden and its historic Minster can be seen from the walk.
What else you need to know
How to get there – Howden is on the A63 Selby to Hull road and is also very close to M62, accessed via the A614 from junction 37. By public transport, North Howden station on the Selby to Hull railway line is a short walk from Howden town centre. Bus services operated by Arriva and East Yorkshire Motor Services from Selby, Goole and Hull stop at Howden.
Suggested map – OS Explorer 291 Goole & Gilderdyke
Car park – parking available in Howden
Start – Market Place in Howden
Length/time – 6½ miles, 2½ hours
Terrain/difficulty – EASY/MEDIUM, mostly on flat green paths and through or alongside fields
Dog friendliness – This walk offers plenty of off-lead time for well-behaved dogs. Dog-waste bins are provided in Howden.
Food and drink – The Minster View Hotel allows dogs in the bar.
Public toilets – facilities in Howden
Other interesting info:
The terrain around Howden is largely flatland and in some places marshland, much of which is divided by drainage dykes, which are used as markers and guides along the walk.
One of the earliest recorded events in Howden’s past is that King Edgar of England gave Howden Manor to his first wife, Ethelfleda, in 959 AD. Howden’s impressive Minster is well worth a visit. Construction began in 1228, but it was not completed until the 15th century when the chapter house and top of the tower was added.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, Howden became a centre for pilgrims because of John of Howden’s alleged miracles in the 13th century!
- Start at the war memorial in Howden market place, and head along Market Place passing the White Horse pub before turning right at the end of the road in to Bridgegate. After passing the white stone Press Association building, turn left along a road signposted for the Oaks Golf Club & Spa and Bubwith. Continue ahead along a wide pedestrian path, passing some new-build houses to the left.
- Just before the 40 miles per-hour signs, turn left down a track which leads to a path next to a dyke. The path is partly enclosed by trees, and is flat and easy to follow. Ignore a path to the right over the dyke, and bear left past a wooden way-marker post – for the Howden 20 trail. The path crosses a tiny wooden plank footbridge as the views begin to open up. Where the path meets another, cross a wooden footbridge following the Howden 20 trail sign, and then turn left before continuing ahead towards a farm with the dyke to the left and fields to the right.
- Since leaving Howden, Izzy has been constantly off the lead. Just after the path crosses another dyke, turn right and walk alongside this dyke keeping it to the right. After a short while, turn 90-degrees left at a way-marker post and head towards another marker post just inside a gap in the Hawthorne hedge ahead.
- Keep following the Howden 20 signs along the wide, green path – ideal romping ground for Pooch! With a field and the farm buildings seen earlier to the left, and a Hawthorne hedge to the right, continue ahead towards the tree-line. Where the path crosses a farm track, continue ahead on the path towards the trees, following a broken public footpath sign tied to a stone bollard. On reaching the trees – near a junction of paths, follow a way-marker and the Howden 20 sign to the right of a wooden gate, and to the left of a metal gate towards an enclosed footpath. In this area, dogs should be kept on the lead due to presence of ground nesting birds. Follow the way-marker to the right then turn left over a wooden footbridge into an open field.
- Continue straight ahead, following the hedge-line on a clear path along the edge of the field to a wooden footpath sign next to the railway line, by a level crossing. At this point the Howden 20 route path crosses the railway line. Turn left and head along the wide, green farm track that runs up to the level crossing – with the cooling towers of Drax power station visible straight ahead in the distance. By a raised mound of land, bear right on to grassier path and head in the direction of a farm.
- At an old way-marker post near the end of a dyke, turn left and walk alongside the dyke – keeping it to the right. Keep ahead then follow the tree-line along the edge of the field – passing a white and red gas pipe marker post to the right. Soon after, turn left along a green path cut into the field towards another old marker post in front of the trees. Continue on the path as it heads back towards the footbridge crossed earlier.
- After re-crossing the footbridge head along the enclosed path, once again on the Howden 20 trail – and making sure dogs are on leads in the ground-nesting bird area. Having returned to the junction of paths, retrace the outward route back towards Howden and continue straight ahead along the track. Howden Minster is visible in the distance ahead. After passing the farm buildings – to the right this time, continue to the dyke and turn right, then left back to the footbridge crossed early in the walk.
- Cross the bridge then continue straight ahead, along a wide, green path by the Howden Marsh Nature Reserve towards houses and trees. At a public footpath sign end of the path, turn left and head along the pavement by the road back in to Howden.