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5 Crisp Winter Walks Within an Hour of Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Walk off those Christmas pounds on a rambling adventure across Yorkshire.

Wessenden Valley

Get out of the house this winter and discover a plethora of wonderful walks, all within driving distance of Leeds.

January is here, and for many of us, that means getting active and working off the excesses of the Christmas period. But if the gym isn’t for you, why not head out on a wonderful walk through Yorkshire? From family-friendly strolls to more challenging jaunts, here are five of the best winter walks you can do within an hour of Leeds.

Wessenden Valley Walk

Wessenden Valley

It takes just 45 minutes to get to Marsden, a town on the edge of the Peak District National Park. From there you can start the wonderful Wessenden Valley Walk. This linear, 8 mile route will take you through one of the most Northern valleys in the park where you can take in stunning views, as well as passing four different reservoirs – Butterley, Blakely, Wessenden and Wessenden Head. It’s at the latter that the route ends and you’ll retrace your steps back into town where The Railway or The Riverhead Brewery Tap are waiting to warm you up with a pint or a bite to eat.

The walk starts at Marsden Moor Estate Office, The Old Goods Yard, Station Road, Marsden, West Yorkshire, HD7 6DH, OS Reference – SE047118.

Nostell Priory Obelisk Walk

Nostell Priory

Copyright Stephen Bowler licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

If you’re looking for a winter walk that isn’t too taxing, head to the historic Nostell Priory in Wakefield, which is about 30 minutes from Leeds. You’ll start your leisurely 2 mile walk in the courtyard in front of the stunning Palladian house built back in 1733. From there you’ll pass the Boathouse and the lake of the same name, before heading up the carriageway that leads to the original gatehouse, Obelisk Lodge. If you’ve packed sarnies and don’t mind braving the temperatures, swing a right from the lodge to the Hardwick Beck picnic area, or head back to the courtyard the way you came and pop into the house to have a mooch or grab a brew in the cafe.

The walk starts at the Nostell Priory courtyard, Doncaster Road, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 1QE. OS Reference – SE404175. Parkland entrance is free, although there is a £3 fee for car parking. Entrance to the whole property costs £11 for adults while a gardens only visit costs £7.60

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

There are a number of walks you can do at Bolton Abbey, but what about taking on a leisurely 4.7 mile circular stroll that’s perfect for both young and old? Kick off at the Riverside car park, and take the route north along the River Wharfe up to The Strid – be careful here, however, as it can get a little bit dangerous. From there, it’s up to Lady Harriet’s Seat where you’ll come across a historic graveyard, before crossing Barden Bridge to go back on the other side of the river, or you can split the walk in half by crossing the ornate aqueduct just after The Strid, which is well worth having a gander at regardless.

The walk starts at Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6EX. OS Reference – SE072539. Entrance to the grounds starts at £4 per car, although half-term is £8. Groups of 12 or more cost £1 per person.

Brontë Walk

Much of the Brontë’s work features Yorkshire winters, so what better way to explore their world than on an 8 mile winter walk? You start at The Fleece Inn in Haworth, which is about 50 minutes from Leeds, before strolling past the Lower Laithe Reservoir, through the village of Stanbury and up to the Museum Parsonage where you can learn all about the Brontë family and their work. On your way back, you’ll pass the Brontë Waterfall, which really is a sight to see, before you head back to the start at The Fleece Inn where you can reward yourself with a drink.

The walk starts at The Fleece Inn, 67 Main Street, Haworth, West Yorkshire, BD22 8DA. OS Reference – SE030370. The Brontë Parsonage is shut until 1st February 2017 for annual maintenance. Admission to the museum is £8.50 with concession and family tickets also available, all of which last for 12 months from date of purchase.

Fountains Abbey Walking Trail

Fountains Abbey

Copyright Johnmf007 licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Just under an hour away from Leeds up the A1, the 11th century Fountains Abbey is another stunning relic of medieval Yorkshire. But it’s not just the architecture that will keep you buy – you can also take on a 5 mile walking trail. You’ll start at the visitor centre, in front of the abbey – from here, just follow the signs for Fountains Hall, then up to Hill House Farm. Follow the route along to the Mackershaw Deer Park, across the River Skell, and up to Studley Royal Water Gardens, where you’ll have a stunning view of nearby Ripon and its majestic cathedral. Head back across the River Skell and up to Fountains Abbey to get an up close and personal view, before finishing back at the visitor centre where you can take a break with a cuppa.

The walk starts at Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY. OS Reference – SE272687. Entrance to the grounds for adults costs £13.60.

Feature image copyright Andrew Bowden licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.