A walk through Nidd Gorge, with its river ad woodland is great to do at any time of year. A perfect walk for dogs as well as families.
There is plenty of nature and wildlife along with history and changing views along the way. From viaducts to river. I make it as a circular but of course you can make it linear to stay by the river both outwards and return.
Knaresborough is a lovely little town to start and end at with plenty of gems to make a day of it in itself.
I find the best place to park here is the Pay and Display Car Park, Conyngham Hall Car Park at Knaresborough, almost directly across from Mother Shipton’s Cave.
There is always plenty of space, not too expensive as far as pay and displays go, plus there is a great dog friendly cafe here called the Ugly Duckling Tea Room. Great staff here every time I have been plus a whole range of refreshments to be had.
From the car park head back out to the A56 main road and turn right to cross the bridge, Knaresborough High Bridge. Once over you will be directly across the road from Mother Shipton’s Cave entrance. Straight after the bridge turn right again and into the park area on the well defined path.
As you are in parkland near the town and river you will see paths going in every direction at first. I have attached a GPX file down below for those that want to follow my route or the best way to explain this first part is, stay on the concreted path that carries straight on for the first half a mile or so.
At the top of the park area you will cross a cattle grid via a metal gate and straight on a narrow path through an avenue of trees.
Already by now the dogs were in their element. Far from roads, dog friendly pathways. And this is before we have even come to the woodland and river of the gorge proper.
Down into Nidd Gorge
At the top of this path you will come to a lane so for a short while it is dogs back on leads. Go straight on for about quarter of a mile until you see a metal gate to your right that is signposted ‘Knaresborough Round’
Once through the gate you start to enter the woodland and wind down towards the bottom of the gorge.
And before too long you are walking along the River Nidd. River to your right and surrounded by woodland.
I have come here to do this walk in most seasons. It never disappoints in any of them. Spring brings, bluebells and the aroma of wild garlic. Summer is beautifully green and autumn brings an abundance of colours from the trees.
The River Nidd begins its journey in the Yorkshire Dales on the slopes of Great Whernside. It flows eastward down through Pateley Bridge, then down and passes through here, the Nidd Gorge, before heading further east, through Knaresborough and joining the River Ouse at Nun Monkton.
If you have ever walked around the grounds of Beningbrough Hall then you may well have come to a river section where the river comes and goes in 3 directions. This is the River Nidd meeting the River Ouse.
Of course the Nidd River brings its name to Nidderdale. A gorgeous area of Outsanding Natural Beauty.
The Nidd Gorge at its deepest is 37 metres (120 feet) and was made during the ice age as the glaciers cut through then melted. The woodland has been here since around the 17th century.
Back to the walk. and for the next 2 or 3 miles you simply follow the riverside and enjoy. The path is occasionally changed to wooden boardwalks. If you have ever walked here after rain then you will know why.
Malc loves it here. He has it all. Miles to roam, water to paddle and swim in, and plenty of stimulation in the surroundings.
Of course he has his trees to do his dog pose against too.
Part way along the river you will come across a wooden footbridge that crosses the river. Although we are not crossing it as part of the walk I always find it nice to walk along it to the middle and get a sense of the world around me.
Even in the height of summer you won’t find the masses at this point so you can stand above the river, surrounded by nature and take it all in for a few moments.
From this bridge keep going with the river on your right. Following the signs to Nidd Viaduct.
When yo get to the Nidd Viaduct you cannot miss it. It stands proudly high across the river.
The Nidd Viaduct is just over 100 foot high and used to carry the North East Railway Line over the river on its way from Leeds to Thirsk. It was built in 1848 and the line was closed in 1967.
Today, the viaduct is part of the Nidderdale Greenway. A wide tarmac pathway and cycleway that allows anyone to walk easily from Bilton to Ripley.
In fact it here at the viaduct we turn left, away from the viaduct and onto that very greenway path towards Old Bilton. Don’t cross the viaduct or you will head to Harrogate. Head the other way. If you have dogs be careful now along here as there will be plenty of cyclists.
Gardner’s Arms and Old Bilton
After following the cycleway for about half a mile you will come to a gate and a road crossing. Turn left and follow the road and you come across the Gardener’s Arms pub. By now you may have worked up a thirst. The pub has plenty of picnic tables outside too.
Be warned. The pub does not do food and does not take card payments. So if you are planning this walk and want to enjoy a half time drink then take some cash.
Back to Knaresborough
The way back to the start is straight forward from here. continue down the lane from the pub and it will start to get narrower and quieter. Eventually you come back to the avenue of trees you came out on then it is a short wander back to town and the car park.
Here is where I get my refreshments. At the Ugly Duckling Tea Room right by the car park. Dog friendly with great staff and a good brew.
Route Details and GPX
Distance: 7 miles
Parking: Conyngham Car Park, Knaresborough (Pay & Display)
Parking postcode: HG5 9AY