Make the most of God’s Own Country with the little ones on these family-friendly walks around Yorkshire landmarks.
Want to get out of the house and into the great Yorkshire countryside with the kids? These seven walks offer outdoor fun for the whole family, with everything from woodland trails to arty days out. So sack off the TV and see what Yorkshire has to offer on a fun, healthy trek around these must-visit attractions.
Dalby Forest is an ideal destination for your next big family walk in Yorkshire, largely because of the Ellerburn Red Trail. Its flat paths make it perfect for pushchairs and toddlers, so you won’t have any trouble getting around. It’s just 2 miles long and the kids can discover their nature-loving side at Ellerburn Pond, the Bird Hide and the artificial bat cave. They also have the Highway Rat Activity Trail, which will see you take one of their activity packs to help you spot characters from the book as you walk. The trails are free too but packs are £3 and it costs £9 per vehicle to park.
Dalby Forest, Dalby Forest Drive, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7LT.
Rivelin Valley Nature Trail
If you’re looking for walks with the kids in South Yorkshire, head to the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail. You can start in the car park just off Rivelin Valley Road and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterside path up to Rivelin Park. Here you’ll find a cafe, toilets and a play area before you head back on to the riverside path for a 2.5-mile walk. You’ll pass ponds, dams and stepping stones along the way, and if you want to extend your walk, you can even explore the nearby Wyming Brook Nature Reserve and Redmires Reservoir.
Rivelin Valley Nature Trail, Rivelin Valley Road, Sheffield South Yorkshire, S6 5GL.
One of the best adventures you can have with the kids in Yorkshire is at Bolton Abbey. They run their famous Welly Walks throughout the summer and the kids will have a great time on their woodland adventure trail, passing the stunning monastic ruins before taking on stepping stones, tunnels, slides, bridges and beams. It’s £10 per vehicle to get into the grounds and you can explore the Abbey itself at no extra cost. The Welly Walks are free, but you can make the day extra special by parting with £3 for tree climbing.
Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6EX.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
An outdoor art gallery is the perfect way to introduce the kids to nature and culture – so make a beeline for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. You can tailor the walk to your own needs, as there are more than 60 exhibits to visit, as well as the newly restored lakes and woodland area. You’ll find everything from stepping stones to the Magic Shell Grotto, an obelisk and a land-locked Boat House here. If you’ve got older children, try the YSP WILD Explorers Trail, which is around 4 kilometres long, covers the site’s main features and will teach them a thing or two along the way. It’s all free, including the YSP Centre where there’s a cafe, a shop and a host of indoor exhibitions.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 4LG.
Hebden Bridge is a stunning part of Yorkshire with plenty to keep the kids busy. There are different routes to take along this wooded valley but the best, particularly if you’ve got prams, takes you to the Crags and Gibson Mill, then back again. At the Mill, you can pick up nature sheets to see what you can spot along the route, with skylarks, meadow pipits or bluebells all around. It’s home to a cafe, gift shop and visitors centre, where you can take five. The kids have plenty of activities to try too, including pond dipping, and it’s all free.
Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7AZ.
RSPB Dearne Valley Old Moor Trail
On the outskirts of Barnsley, the RSPB Dearne Valley Old Moor is an 89-hectare wetlands nature reserve that’s perfect for family walks. There are a trio of routes to take the kids on. The Discovery Zone leads you to the wildlife gardens and family bird hide before you head to the adventure playground and the heritage games trail. Alternatively, the Green Lane Trail is a 15-minute wander to spot ducks, geese and gulls on the Mere, and the Reedbed Trail takes you to see one of the most secretive birds, the bittern, with incredible views across the valley.
Old Moor Dearne Valley Trail, Old Moor Lane, Wombwell, Bolton upon Dearne, Barnsley S73 0YF.
St Ives Estate
Just outside Bingley, the St Ives Estate is a 550-acre playground for the kids. It’s all relatively flat, which makes it easy for the little ones, and there’s so much to discover. You can create your own walk around the grounds, stopping at some of the estate’s stunning landmarks. The History Garden is packed full of beautiful plants and the kids will love running through the Cuckoo Nest Wood. They’ll also have a ball feeding the ducks in the Coppice Pond before you make your way to the Adventure Playground. It’s all free, and if you get hungry, Lady B’s Cafe is the perfect place to stop for a break.
St Ives Estate, Harden, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 1AT.Cover image copyright Jim Varney