Walking in Nidderdale AONB

Is country walking your thing? With 820km of public footpaths and bridleways, there are endless options for walking and hiking routes throughout Nidderdale AONB. Taking in some of the most beautiful scenery in Yorkshire, we think country walking is one of the best ways to explore this area.

Whether you’re up for discovering one of the long distance walking trails that cut across the Yorkshire Dales countryside, you’re looking for a short walking route to do with the family or you want to venture out and do some serious hiking or hill walking on open access land, Nidderdale has a walking trail for everyone.

We’ve got plenty of suggestions for walking routes to inspire you – from the Washburn Valley in the South to Jervaux Abbey at the northern tip of the AONB. Our hiking and walking route suggestions below have downloadable maps, route information and points of interest along the walk. Download a guide, grab your boots and have a fantastic day out walking in the Yorkshire Dales!

  • Bewerley Tree Trail: a short walking route for all the family taking in the lovely village of Bewerley through to Fishpond Wood. This walking route is one of our most popular walks for families and the more casual walker. Nearest village: Bewerley. Length: 1.25 miles (2km). Time (approx): 1 hour. Difficulty: easy.
  • Blubberhouses Tree Trail: a riverside walking route full of interest with a variety of tree species, lots of wildlife and glimpses of industrial heritage. This walking trail is hugely popular and gives walkers the opportunity to experience the diverse wildlife that calls Nidderdale home. Nearest village: Blubberhouses. Length: 3 miles (5km). Time (approx): 1-2 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Crackpots Mosaic Trail: an intriguing walking trail around part of Dallowgill, marked with 22 mosaics showing local scenes of flora and fauna. Nearest village: Kirkby Malzeard. Length: 7 miles (11km). Time (approx): 4 hours. Difficulty: moderate
  • Fountains Abbey to Markenfield Hall: a walking route that links two important medieval sites near Ripon in North Yorkshire – Fountains Abbey and Markenfield Hall. In monastic times their lands adjoined. Nearest town: Ripon. Length: 6.5 miles (10.5km). Time (approx): 3-4 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Hartwith Heritage Walk: explores the long history of human activity in this area of Lower Nidderdale and highlights the clues along the way. Nearest village: Summerbridge/Low Laithe. Length: 7.5 miles (12km). Time (approx): 3-4 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Greenhow Geology Trail: take a journey back in time from the present day, to the Ice Age, then to tropical conditions 300-350 million years ago where you can discover fossils from the tropical seas and forests. Nearest village: Greenhow. Length: 3.5 miles (5km). Time (approx): 2-3 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Jervaulx Abbey to Thornton Steward: starting and finishing at the fascinating ruins of Jervaulx Abbey, this country walk takes you through stunning parkland, over lush pasture fields and through the historic village of Thornton Steward. Nearest town: Masham. Length: 7 miles (11km). Time (approx): 3-4 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Pateley Bridge Circular: this route takes in the amazing geological features of Brimham Rocks and passes through woodland and rolling fields, giving fantastic views across the valley. Nearest town: Pateley Bridge. Length: 9 miles (14km). Time (approx): 4-5 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Pateley Bridge Heritage Trails: discover more about the town’s fascinating history, follow the inner trail as it winds its way through the historic streets. Nearest town: Pateley Bridge. Length: Inner trail - 1 mile / Outer trail - 2.5 miles. Time (approx): Inner trail - 1 hour / Outer trail - 1.5 hours. Difficulty: easy/moderate.
  • Prosperous Lead Mine: a choice of two circular routes exploring the industrial heritage of Prosperous Lead Mine and the surrounding area. Nearest village/town: Pateley Bridge/Greenhow. Length: From Pateley Bridge - 5.8 miles (9.3km) or from Greenhow - 4.6 miles (7.5km). Time (approx): From Pateley Bridge - 3-4 hours or from Greenhow - 2-3 hours. Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Scar House Reservoir and the Lost Village of Lodge: a circular route around Scar House Reservoir in Upper Nidderdale taking in the remains of the old hamlet of Lodge. Nearest village: Lofthouse. Length: 4 miles (6.5km). Time (approx): 2-3 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Victorian Gardens of Pateley Bridge: take a walking tour around Pateley Bridge and see some of the fabulous historic houses and gardens. Nearest town: Pateley Bridge. Length: 3.75 miles (6km) or 4.75 miles (7.5km). Time (approx): 2-3 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Washburn Valley Birds Walk: walk through woodland, along river banks and admire views of the reservoir and the Washburn Valley. Historically this walk is very interesting with a packhorse bridge, Dob Park and a monk's trail. Nearest village: Timble. Length: 6.5 miles (10.5km). Time (approx): 3 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • WW1 Heritage Trail: this quiet dale to the north east of Nidderdale AONB has been the focus of a three year First World War Centenary project: Nidderdale AONB and the First World War: Leeds Pals, POWs and the Home Front. This heritage trail is a result of the project research and it tells the story of Colsterdale in the First World War. Nearest village: Healey, Masham. Length: 3.3 miles (5.3km). Time (approx): 1-2 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
  • Yorke's of Bewerley: this walk takes you around what were once the extensive gardens and grounds surrounding Bewerley Hall which, until it was demolished in the 1920s, was the home of the influential Yorke family. The designed landscape, developed in the 18th to 20th centuries, included parkland, pleasure gardens, woodlands, ponds, walled kitchen gardens - and a folly. Nearest village: Bewerley, Pateley Bridge. Length: 5 miles (8.5km). Time (approx): 3-3.5 hours. Difficulty: moderate.
Photo Credits: 

Main image: Walkers above Scar House Reservoir courtesy of Michael Bell/Ripon Photographic Society. Image above: Walkers overlooking Gouthwaite Reservoir courtesy of Janina Holubecki.