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NIDDERDALE: A Walker’s Paradise
Planning Your Visit
Welcome to Nidderdale, a breathtaking corner of the Yorkshire Dales, perfect for explorers and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual stroller, here’s some essential information to help you plan your trip.
Nidderdale AONB is easily accessible by various means of transportation:
- By Bus: The Transdev Harrogate & District number 24 service runs regularly from Harrogate to Pateley Bridge. Additionally, Dalesbus services provide excellent connections within the area.
- By Train: If you’re arriving by train, the nearest station is in Harrogate, with regular services from London, Leeds, and York.
- By Plane: For air travelers, Leeds Bradford International Airport is the closest option. You can catch a regular bus service (737) from the airport to Harrogate.
- By Road: If you prefer to drive, Nidderdale AONB is easily accessible from the A1(M) and the A61 to the east, and the A65, A59, M65, and M62 to the south.
- Explore Nidderdale
Tourist Information Centers
To make the most of your visit, consider contacting these local Tourist Information Centers:
- Harrogate Tourist Information Centre
- Address: Royal Baths, Crescent Road, Harrogate, HG1 2RR
- Phone: 01423 537300
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that this website provides an overview of the area’s attractions. For individual tourism inquiries, contact the tourist information office listed above.
Exploring on Foot
With 820 kilometers of public footpaths and bridleways, Nidderdale AONB offers diverse walking experiences. Whether you prefer long-distance trails, short family-friendly routes, or challenging hill walks, you’ll find them here.
For detailed information on these walks, visit Nidderdale AONB’s walking page at.
Note that the North Yorkshire County Council is responsible for maintaining public rights of way in Nidderdale AONB. If you encounter any issues on the paths, please report them directly to the Council using their website.
Walkers are Welcome
Pateley Bridge achieved Walkers are Welcome status in 2010 and offers a wealth of walking opportunities. Situated on the Nidderdale Way and the Six Dales Trail, this area boasts a diverse landscape with walking options for all abilities. Many local businesses have signed up to Walkers are Welcome, so don’t worry about muddy boots or wet clothing!
To get all the information on these walks go to https://nidderdaleaonb.org.uk/visiting/outdoor-and-active/walking/
Local Walking Trails
Explore the following walking trails in the area:
- Bewerley Tree Trail
- Curlew Trail
- Pateley Bridge Circular Trail
- Pateley Bridge Heritage Trails
- Victorian Gardens of Pateley Bridge Trail
- Yorke’s of Bewerley Trail
- Fishpond Wood Trail
- Ladies Riggs and Ashfoldside Trail
- Scot Gate Ash Trail
- Nought Moor Trail
- Wath Trail
Each trail offers a unique experience, from serene woodlands to historic landmarks.
Enjoy your visit to Nidderdale, a true walker’s paradise!
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
Prosperous Lead Mine Trail
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) / from Greenhow 4.6 miles (7.5km) Time (approx): From Pateley Bridge 3-4 hours / from Greenhow 2-3 hours Difficulty: moderate
Scar House Reservoir Trail
This route enables you to enjoy the remote beauty of Scar House and Angram reservoirs, appreciate the labours of the men and women who lived and worked here during the reservoir’s construction, and see how innovative approaches to farming are helping vulnerable species and habitats to thrive.
Nearest village:Lofthouse / Middlesmoor Length: 4.3 miles (7km) Time (approx): 2-3 hours
Along this route you will enjoy the tranquillity and natural beauty of Cliff Woods, see dramatic limestone rocks and cliffs in How Stean Gorge and walk through traditional hay meadows on Low Riggs Farm.
Nearest village: Lofthouse / Middlesmoor Length: 4.5 miles (7.3km) Time (approx): 2-3 hours
Toft Gate Trail
Along this route you will experience a range of different settings, from the industrial heritage of Toft Gate Lime Kiln to Coldstones Cut, a monumental piece of public art with spectacular views, and hear the calls of upland birds on the high pastures of Toft Gate Farm.
Nearest village: Greenhow / Pateley Bridge Length: 5.5 miles (8.8km) Time (approx): 2-2.5 hours Difficulty: moderate
This route enables you to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Scar House Reservoir, Great Whernside and the Upper Nidderdale moorlands, and walk along the Nidd’s unique dry river bed as the watercourse disappears into limestone caverns deep underground before re-surfacing downstream.
Nearest village: Lofthouse / Middlesmoor Length: 6.5 miles (10km) Time (approx): 3-4 hours
Difficulty: moderate / hard
Hartwith Heritage Walk
This 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
In the heart of Nidderdale AONB, the Kingfisher Trail is a circular walk, starting and finishing in the beautiful village of Darley, following the River Nidd, through woodlands and meadows, abundant in wildlife.
Nearest village: Darley Length: 3 miles (4.8km) Time (approx.): 1.5 hours Difficulty: moderate
A circular route taking in Darley and Thornthwaite, through beautiful wild flower meadows and ancient woodland, with some unusual historical features.
Nearest village: Darley Length: 4.5 miles (7.2km) Time (approx.): 2-3 hours Difficulty: moderate
The Washburn Valley and southern AONB
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
Mashamshire and northern AONB
Jervaulx Abbey to Thornton Steward Trail
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
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
Ripon and eastern AONB
A journey through the picturesque and designed landscapes of Studley Royal, Laver Banks and Hackfall.
Nearest village: Studley Roger Length: Short 7.5 miles (12 km) / Medium 11.5 miles (18.5km) /
Long 17.5 miles (28km) Time (approx): Short 3 hours / Medium 6 hours / Long 8-9 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
The dark sky above Nidderdale AONB is one of the most beautiful and darkest in the country.
Not many places are truly dark anymore and this is one of the things that makes this area such a special place.
Being free from light pollution it is the perfect place for stargazing.
Where should I go?
You can get amazing views of the night sky pretty much anywhere in the AONB, but the more remote you are, and further away from light sources, the better.
One third of Nidderdale AONB is open moorland with no light pollution and uninterrupted views of the night sky, and there are four official dark sky discovery sites.
What can I see?
On a clear night the sky will be filled with thousands of stars but if you look carefully, you could also see the Milky Way, the planets and the moon. If you are really lucky you might even, see shooting stars or the northern lights.
You don’t need fancy equipment to see an amazing array of stars – you can see a lot of stars and even the Milky Way with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars – so why not give stargazing a go!
When’s the best time to look?
Depending on the time of year or direction you are looking in different things will be visible. In high summer the sky doesn’t usually get dark enough so the best time for stargazing is from mid-August through to early May.
Dark sky discovery sites
There are four official dark sky discovery sites in Nidderdale AONB and these are great places to start your stargazing adventure.
These locations are officially recognised as excellent places to stargaze and are open to the public, have car parking and are accessible for people of all abilities.
Toft Gate Lime Kiln
Scar House Reservoir
The Lime Tree Observatory provides a fantastic opportunity to view the night sky through a professional telescope with the help of experts.
Although not freely open to the public, it can be booked for groups and regular events are held throughout the year, details of which can be found on our events page.
Look out for:
Northern Lights (aurora borealis)
This naturally occurring phenomenon gives a stunning light display in the sky and is probably top of the list for any astronomer. It is incredibly difficult to predict any further in advance than about two hours before it happens. AuroraWatchUK can predict when it might be possible to see the Northern Lights. You can visit their website online, follow them on Twitter or download an app for your phone.
The Perseid Meteor shower occurs each year between July 17 and August 24, peaking around 9-13 August. It is one of the brighter meteor showers of the year and at its peak, hundreds of meteors an hour can be seen.
The skies are at their darkest at the time of the New Moon – two weeks after a Full Moon. However, the Moon itself is a great object to take a closer look at, especially when its full. Time and Date website has details of when the phases of the Moon will occur.
International Space Station
The ISS orbits the earth every 90 minutes and will often pass you overhead throughout the year. It is the third brightest object in the sky and if you know when to look it’s easy to spot. It can be seen with the naked eye and looks like a fast moving aeroplane, only travelling much faster and much higher. To find out when you might see it in your location, visit the Nasa website.
Pateley Bridge Guide
Pateley Bridge, a charming market town nestled in the picturesque Nidderdale of North Yorkshire, England, offers a captivating blend of history, natural beauty, and local charm. Here’s your comprehensive guide to exploring this delightful town:
Overview: Situated along the meandering River Nidd and at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, Pateley Bridge boasts a rich history and is home to iconic landmarks like the world’s oldest sweet shop, established in 1827, and the Nidderdale Museum.
Annual Events: Mark your calendar for the Nidderdale Show, the town’s last agricultural show of the year, drawing over 14,000 visitors. This event takes place by the tranquil River Nidd and offers a vibrant display of local culture.
Historical Background: Delve into the town’s history dating back to the 12th century, with the first recorded mention of Pateley. Learn about its market charter in 1320 and the impact of Scotgate Ash Quarry on the town’s development. Discover the role of the railway and the connection to the TV series “All Creatures Great and Small.”
Outdoor Exploration: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Nidderdale AONB, starting your journey from Pateley Bridge. Embark on the Nidderdale Way, a 53-mile circular route offering spectacular vistas. Don’t miss nearby attractions like Brimham Rocks, Stump Cross Caverns, and How Stean Gorge.
Shopping and Accommodation: Explore the charming High Street, home to the Oldest Sweet Shop, award-winning butchers, independent shops, and more. Pateley Bridge offers diverse accommodations, including Bewerley Hall Farm, which provides a unique blend of history, comfort, and relaxation.
- Bewerley Hall Farm: A Grade two listed Yorkshire farmhouse with bed and breakfast options and stone-built ground-level holiday cottages. Exclusive trout and grayling fishing available.
- Other Accommodations: Explore various holiday cottages, B&Bs, and hotels in the area, each offering a unique experience.
Dining and Activities: Savor local cuisine and delicacies in the town’s eateries, and visit the Nidderdale Museum for an authentic glimpse into rural life. If your visit aligns with September, don’t miss the Nidderdale Show for a memorable agricultural experience.
Contact Information: For specific inquiries and bookings, refer to the contact information provided for each accommodation option.
Experience the warmth and beauty of Yorkshire in Pateley Bridge, where history, nature, and hospitality converge to create an unforgettable destination. Whether you’re exploring its historic streets or venturing into the scenic outdoors, Pateley Bridge promises a delightful journey.
Shopping and more in Pateley Bridge