Looking for a longer walking challenge? A number of long distance routes pass through Nidderdale AONB taking in some of Yorkshire, in fact Britain’s most stunning scenery.
Tackle the trails in one go for an adventurous holiday or do them in stages. Here’s a summary of each route:
A 53 mile circular walk from Pateley Bridge, this route takes you through the spectacular uplands around Scar House Reservoir to the rolling fields and river valleys along the River Nidd. With its own unique way marker the walk offers some challenging climbs with rewarding views, especially a breath-taking panorama from Middlesmoor Church. Highlights include Brimham Rocks, How Stean Gorge and Yorke’s Folly as well as pretty villages such as Middlesmoor, Ramsgill and Ripley. The whole route is shown on the OS Explorer 298 map. Harvey Maps has produced a waterproof map of the route.
Taking in the entire length of the Nidderdale AONB from Otley in Wharfedale to Middleham in Wensleydale is the 38 mile Six Dales Trail. It crosses the five watersheds, which separate the six dales and gives the trail its name from Wharfedale to Washburndale, then into Nidderdale, Colsterdale, Coverdale and Wensleydale. The terrain varies from steep pastures to high heather moorland. It takes you through some of Yorkshire’s lesser-known but glorious countryside.
A 49 mile route centred around the ancient city of Ripon visiting villages, historic sites, wooded valleys, rivers and streams. Highlights include passing through the World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Markenfield Hall, Eavestone Lakes and Druids Temple. The terrain is more rolling than the Nidderdale Way and Six Dales Trail and is a good introduction to long distance walking.
The Dales Way is an 80 mile route that passes through the southern corner of Nidderdale AONB. The route runs from Ilkley to Bowness on Windermere. As far as possible the paths follow rivers and other ancient route-ways.
Main image: Walkers above Gouthwaite Reservoir courtesy of Janina Holubecki. Image above: Walkers on the Nidderdale Way in Upper Nidderdale heading towards Scar House courtesy of Michael Bell/Ripon Photographic Society.