Winter’s here, but don’t stay inside – Yorkshire is full of amazing walks that will make going out in the cold well worthwhile.
Waterproofs on, wellies at the ready – it’s time to go on a winter walk across Yorkshire. God’s Own Country comes alive at this time of year, with snowy hilltops, frozen lakes and misty vistas. Not only can you see Yorkshire at its most beautiful, but it’s the perfect excuse to stop for a cuppa or pint in one of the region’s finest cafes and pubs.
Whernside and Ribblehead
If you’re looking for a challenging winter walk, Whernside will definitely do the job – this is a journey up and down the highest of Yorkshire’s three peaks. It’s a 9-mile route with a climb of 513 metres, so it’s quite the jaunt, offering up dramatic views of the snow-covered Yorkshire Dales National Park.
You start at Dent Station, which is actually just across the border in Cumbria. From here, you’ll pass by the quaint village of Cowgill, where The Sportsman’s Inn is a great spot for lunch. You can soak up incredible vistas across Dentdale as you head along the Dales Way, then Hagg Worm Haw will take you right to the top of Whernside peak – this is the perfect place to pause to take it all in. The best is yet to come though, as you pass through the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, and finish at The Station Inn after 6 hours. Why not warm up with a drink and a bite to eat before you get the train back to Dent Station?
The walk starts at Dent Station, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5RF, OS Reference – SD 76057 86987.
The Railway Trail at Hardcastle Crags
Lose yourself in the stunning frost-tipped valleys around Hebden Bridge with The Railway Trail this winter. It’s a leisurely 3-mile walk that won’t take more than 2 hours, which makes it a great choice for families. And those riverside views are something else in the winter months.
You’ll kick off your walk at Gibson Mill, before taking a stroll towards Hardcastle Crags as you follow Hebden Beck. You’ll come to the ruins of the Hell Hole Quarry on your way – don’t worry it’s not as devilish as it sounds. Your halfway point is when you see the remaining stone stanchions of the long gone wooden trestle railway bridge, and you come back through Walshaw Wood, which is home to all kinds of wildlife – bring your binoculars. You’ll come full circle, so pop into the Gibson Mill for a warming brew before you head back home.
The walk starts at Gibson Mill, Hollin Hall, Midgehole Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7AP, OS Reference – SD 98318 29563.
Yorkshire Coast Circular
There’s something rather special about a bracing circular walk up the Yorkshire coast in the middle of winter – which is why you should make a beeline for Saltburn-by-the-Sea. It’s a 4.5-mile walk that’s packed full of scenery, landmarks and wildlife you’ll only see at this time of year.
Kick things off in the heart of Old Saltburn, on the pier overlooking the beach. Make sure you’re layered up because it gets very windy, but it’s really rewarding. You’ll get to walk along the Cleveland Way, keeping an eye out for winter wildflowers, rarely-seen seals and Richard Farrington’s Charm Bracelet sculpture. After you get to the Guibal Fan House, a concrete monument to the area’s industrial past, you’ll reach Warsett Hill where you can take in the breathtaking vista. Make your way back to town after your 2 hour walk, where The Ship Inn will have the fire going ready to warm you up.
The walk starts at Saltburn Pier, Marine Parade, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire, TS12 1BY, OS Reference – NZ 66591 21636.
Raydale and Semer Water
Raydale is something of a hidden gem and it doesn’t get talked about nearly enough, perhaps because of how close it his to its famous neighbour, Wensleydale. At around 9 miles long, this walk is an all-day job and one for the more experienced rambler, but it’s well worth it. There’s lots to see along the way, from lakes to Roman roads and snowy moors that really come to life at this time of year.
You’ll start in the village of Bainbridge, and follow the paths up to Worton Pasture with incredible views of the valley surrounding the River Bain. This will lead you to the largest freshwater lake in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Semer Water. It’s the perfect place to stop and enjoy a mug of tea from your flask, before you head along to the peace and quiet of Raydale, where you can stop for lunch at Raydale Preserves in Stalling Busk. Cross the moors at Wether Fell, with more beautiful vistas, and join the well-preserved Roman Road which takes you back to Bainbridge. You could even stop for a pint in The Rose and Crown for a few winter warmers.
This walk starts at School Hill, Bainbridge, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 3EH, OS Reference – SD 93428 90074.
Baildon to Ilkley
These two Yorkshire towns are connected by some of the finest countryside Yorkshire has to offer and it’s a revelation during winter. This route is just under 8 miles long, so it should take you four hours from start to finish, but you might want to leave a little more time, as we’ve got a few stops along the way that you won’t want to miss.
Kick things off at Baildon’s Potted Meat Stick landmark and head past the golf course and Faweather Grange to Hawksworth Moor. From here, you’ll be able to see across Wharfedale and over to Otley Chevin, as you join the Ebor Way which leads to The Cow and Calf pub. This is the ideal place for a mid-walk pit stop before you head over to the Stanza Stone and Poetry Seat. You’ll take on the scenic route into Ilkley where you can recuperate in The Flying Duck, or if you fancy really treating yourself, head to Ilkley Park for the Christmas Tepees where you can indulge in mulled wine, beers and festive-themed cocktails until 22nd December 2017. Then it’s a quick train back to Baildon or straight back to Leeds.
The walk starts at the Potted Meat Stick, Northgate, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD17 6LX, OS Reference – SE 15513 39706.Feature image copyright Neil Turner licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.