Autumn has arrived and, although the weather may be getting cooler, it’s a wonderful time of year to pull on your walking boots and make the most of the great outdoors.
Yorkshire is overflowing with beautiful trails to explore, so here’s a handy guide to some of the county’s most scenic walking spots.
Starting in Wharfedale at the Bolton Abbey estate, head off on a bracing climb through the Valley of Desolation to the rocky outcrop at the summit, known as Simon’s Seat. Offering spectacular views over the Yorkshire Dales, it’s certainly worth the uphill hike and the route down is similarly stunning as you pass by the dramatic waters of the Strid.
Located in the Washburn Valley in North Yorkshire, Swinsty reservoir offers a gentle and picturesque spot for enjoying a leisurely stroll. Sitting just below Fewston reservoir, you can combine the two for an easy eight-mile walk where you’ll find plenty of wildlife and woodland to explore along the way.
A popular beauty spot, Malham Tarn is the highest lake in England sitting more than 1,200 ft above sea level. Here you’ll find some lovely limestone scenery and a unique variety of plants, trees and wildlife. Stop by the bird hide as you walk for a chance to spot the great crested grebe, tufted duck and, if you’re lucky, a hen harrier.
If you’re keen to take in some unforgettable sights while you’re out on the trails, a walk around Kilburn Woods is a must. The woodland walk takes you around the cliffs of Sutton Bank and Roulston Scare through to White Horse Bank, where a large chalk white horse sits proudly on the hillside. Covering just over an acre, the horse has been overlooking the village of Kilburn since the late 1850s and it’s quite the sight to see.
It may be a steep climb up, but the effort to reach the top of Cleveland’s most famous hill is rewarded by the unrivalled views across the North York Moors which greet you when you get there. Of course, while the hill is the main attraction, there’s also plenty to see in Newton Woods just below it too. A haven for birds, it offers some of the best wildlife spotting opportunities and in late spring, it is awash with a carpet of bluebells.
This beautiful spot may be best recognised from its star appearance in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but don’t just witness its beauty from the screen – head out and explore it in person. While the waterfalls may not be the highest in the Yorkshire Dales, they make for the most wonderful of views and the surrounding area boasts a number of walking routes, providing a great spot for many adventures.
Robin Hood’s Bay
Home to sweeping sandy beaches, clifftop and countryside walks and the Dinosaur coast, it’s no wonder this small fishing village and bay is one of Yorkshire’s most popular walking destinations. Take in the scenery of the rugged coastline where you’ll be exposed to superb views, or take to the beach for a leisurely wander where you can take some time to hunt for fossils along the way.
If you’re looking for a route that combines dramatic coastline with glorious moorland, then the Cleveland Way National Trail is the perfect course for you. Starting at Helmsley and ending on Filey Brigg, the 110-mile trail encompasses fantastic coastal views, sprawling moorland, ancient castles and charming villages to visit as you go.
The James Herriot Way
Ideal for those keen to take on a more challenging route, this 54-mile circular trek runs through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Yorkshire Dales. The walk is designed to be tackled across four days so it’s no mean feat, but with Hardraw Force, Asygarth Falls and Bolton Castle just a few of the sites to take in along the way, it’s definitely worth your time and effort.
Standing high above the village of Buckden, this fell at the head of Wharfedale provides a great spot for a day walk. Taking in upland hill farms, meadows along the River Wharfe and wild moorland, the challenging ascent will soon be forgotten when you witness the views from the top.
Fancy turning your walk into a weekend-long adventure? Check out my top camping spots in Yorkshire.