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.
Ripon and Studley Royal
Distance: 7 miles
Duration: 2½ to 3 hours
Level of walk: Medium View Walks Key
This walk from the centre of the city is ideal if your dog likes a good paddle or a swim, as there are many opportunities to get wet along its route! What better way to end the walk than by visiting one of the many dog-friendly pubs of Ripon as a reward? The enclosed paths provide safe off-lead opportunities for well-behaved pooches and Studley Royal Park with its Water Garden is not to be missed.What else you need to knowHow to get there – Ripon is on the A61 between Harrogate and the A1 (M) near Thirsk. Alternatively, leave the A1 (M) further south and take the B6265 Boroughbridge Road past the racecourse and into the city. The No.142/143 busses operated by Eddie Brown connect York, Boroughbridge and Ripon. From Northallerton and Thirsk, the No.70 bus operated by Dales & District runs to Ripon as does the No.70 bus from Leeds and Harrogate, operated by Transdev.
Suggested map – OS Explorer 299 Ripon & Boroughbridge
Car park – several choices of pay & display car parks in Ripon
Start – main entrance to Ripon Cathedral
Length/time – 7 miles, takes between 2½ and 3 hours
Terrain/difficulty – EASY/MEDIUM, mostly on green or gravel, easily navigable flat paths.
Dog friendliness – there are no stiles, and at least eight dog-waste bins were seen or passed on the route. Many paths were enclosed allowing plenty of off-lead time – and there were plenty of paddling and swimming opportunities on the way back from the lake. June to August is fawning season at Studley Royal Park, so dogs will need to be kept on a short lead in this area around this time.
Food and drink – dog-friendly pubs in Ripon include The One Eyed Rat and The Water Rat, see Directories for details.
Public toilets – opposite Ripon Cathedral
Other interesting info:
The water garden at Studley Royal dates from 1718 and is one of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden in England. The garden’s elegant ornamental lakes, canals, temples and cascades provide interest as you pass through this picturesque area. The medieval deer park is home to 500 deer and a wealth of flora and fauna.
- From the main entrance to Ripon Cathedral in the centre of the city, walk down Bedern Bank and turn left at the roundabout. Head over the bridge crossing the River Skell, then take an immediate left turn down a flight of steps to the concrete path on the river bank. Turn left and head along the path under the bridge. Continue along the path to the road at Bondgate Bridge. Cross the road and make for the gap on the other side to continue on the path with river once again to the right.
- At the next bridge head for the pavement next to Williamson Drive. After a short while, pass through the gap in the stone wall near a dog-waste bin and follow the path under the next bridge – close to the river. With a children’s play area ahead, turn left towards some steps back up to the road then continue along the pavement for a short distance to the entrance to Borrage Green Lane – on the right.
- Continue along Borrage Green Lane, soon passing another dog-waste bin. As the path becomes greener, the river is re-joined once again through the trees to the right – and weather permitting there are definite paddling and swimming opportunities here.
- Cross the river at a way-marked footbridge and head along a concrete path at the edge of a park – now with the river on the left. There is another dog-waste bin here. Climb a flight of concrete steps and turn left, and then continue along the pavement next to a road following a line of trees on the left – also passing a weir. At the roundabout, turn left following the sign to Fountains Abbey, before crossing the road straight away to use the pavement on the other side.
- Near the entrance to a caravan park, the road bends to the right. At this point, look for a public footpath sign for Studley Roger and Fountains Abbey on the other side of the road. Cross the road then pass through the kissing gate on to a path enclosed on each side by hedges. At the crossroads of paths keep straight ahead, this route is easy to navigate and being enclosed is safe for well-behaved dogs to be let off the lead. After passing through a wooden kissing gate, the path passes by some houses before reaching a road in Studley Roger village. Cross the road and head between two more houses along an inclined lane following a public footpath sign. After a short while, the now flat gravel path becomes bordered on each side by wire and post fences as it heads towards a tall wooden gate with a hook-lock.
- Pass through the gate, taking care to read any warning signs about the fawning season for deer (June to August) – and ensuring dogs are on short leads as appropriate. Head diagonally left along the grassy cut path before joining the tree-lined lane heading towards an obelisk.
- With the monument straight in front head along the lane then turn left towards the lakeside car park. With the lake coming into view through the trees, bear left on to a path towards its left hand edge. Cross the wooden footbridge next to a weir and follow the path round before taking the left fork towards a stone footbridge. There are plenty of paddling opportunities on this section as the path continually crosses the stream using stone footbridges. Keep to the path as it follows the stream and eventually head through a metal gate within a stone wall to leave Studley Royal Park.
- At this point it is usually safe for well-behaved dogs to be off-lead again. Look out for a way-marked footbridge, approached by a few concrete steps on the right. Cross the stream one last time and head into the trees, following the path round to the right and passing a ford to the left. At a crossroads of paths take a sharp left, following a blue way-marker. After a short while follow another way-marker through a wooden gate out of the trees and into a field. Follow the grassy path as it bears left following the line of trees through the field – ignoring the metal gate and keeping to the left of it.
- At the end of the field, pass through a gate and turn left on to a lane following a blue way-marker. Follow the quiet lane past Whitcliffe Hall Farm and Whitecliffe Grange Livery – enjoying panoramic views along the way including Ripon Cathedral and the city itself. At the end of the lane (where there is another dog-waste bin), cross over the road and turn left along the pavement at the edge of a residential area. After a short while, cross back over the road and head along a lane near a sign for Hell Wath Grove (don’t go right) – passing some football pitches on the right.
- Ahead is a way-marked wooden gate with a dog-waste bin. Do not pass through the gate, instead turn right and head along a path through the trees. Continue ahead on the path through a field – where the River Skell can be heard on the left, and stay ahead at the next fork keeping the trees to the left. Follow the path as it heads up a flight of wooden steps before dropping down to the River Skell again using some concrete steps – once again paddling and swimming opportunities here are plentiful!
- When the fun is over, continue along the riverside path past the footbridge crossed earlier in the walk. Head back along Borrage Green Lane and the riverside paths to the start by the entrance to Ripon Cathedral.
This walk is also available on the iFootpath website and App Ripon and Studley Royal