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10 of the Best River Walks in Yorkshire

· Joseph Sheerin · Yorkshire

Take a walk beside the river.

Aysgarth Falls

Beautiful views, natural landmarks and historic attractions – make Yorkshire’s rivers the destination for your next walk.

There are loads of brilliant river walks in Yorkshire and these rambles are up there with the very best. They’ll take you through ancient woodland, lead you to breathtaking waterfalls and show you natural wonders you wouldn’t usually get to see, so the next time you put on your walking boots, seek out the region’s rivers. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

Upper Wharfedale Circular

River Wharfe

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You can enjoy some of Wharfedale’s most beautiful features on this leisurely 7-mile walk from Buckden. Limestone uplands, enchanting valleys and picturesque waterfalls all come into view, as well as the flowing River Wharfe, which you’ll keep by your side for much of the route. You’ll take the riverside path over to Hubberholme, Yockenthwaite and Scar House before you reach the picturesque village of Cray and make your way back to Buckden through the leafy Rakes Wood.

The Upper Wharfedale Circular starts at the National Trust Car Park, Buckden, North Yorkshire, BD23 5JA.

Arkengarthdale Circular

River Arkle

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The River Arkle is a stunning backdrop as you explore the beauty of Arkengarthdale on this 6-mile walk. It’s something of a hidden gem, surrounded by more popular parts of the Yorkshire Dales, but it has plenty to offer. Set off from Langthwaite, then head past Eskeleth on your way to the little village of Whaw, passing rolling green fields and traditional stone cottages before along the way. You’ll cross the bridge after the village and head back along Arkle Beck, passing the Georgian Scar House, a shooting lodge for the Duke of Norfolk, before you reach the end.

The Arkengarthdale Circular starts at Booze Road, Arkengarthdale, North Yorkshire, DL11 6RE.

Masham Circular

Masham Bridge

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You can enjoy not one, but two rivers on this 4.7-mile jaunt around Masham. Start in the centre of the town and follow the Ripon Rowel through the broad bean fields and towards the River Burn. You’ll enter picturesque woodlands and follow the water for a few miles up to Low Burn Bridge. You can stop to take in the scenery and spot the wildlife around the banks before the Burn flows into the River Ure. You’ll then enter a tree-covered stretch of path that will take you right to the side of the water before you head back into Masham.

The Masham Circular walk starts at Market Place, Masham. 

The Strid Circular

The Strid

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The Strid is one of the best river walks in Yorkshire. Park up at Bolton Abbey and take a leisurely stroll up to the Cavendish Pavilion where you can take the waterside path into Strid Wood. The leafy surroundings provide a pleasant backdrop to the fast-moving river, which you’ll follow all the way up to Barden Bridge. You can cross here to join the opposite pathway to go back to the start. It’s just 4.7-miles to complete the whole circuit, but if the weather’s good, you can even extend the walk up to Simon’s Seat.

The Strid Circular walk starts on The Dales Way near Cavendish Pavilion. 

Mallerstang Circular

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You can get your fill of history and nature on this 10-mile ramble through the glorious valley of Mallerstang on the Cumbrian border of the Yorkshire Dales. You’ll start in Kirkby Stephen and join the footpath that hugs the banks of the River Eden as you head south to Nateby. Take in the sweeping green hills either side of you as you walk on to Pendragon Castle, known for its connection to King Arthur. You’ll then cross the river and head back towards Kirkby Stephen, passing Lammerside Castle before finishing at Hartley Castle.

The Mallerstang Circular starts on North Road, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4RS.

Richmond and the River Swale

Richmond and River Swale

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Historic landmarks, natural beauty spots and easygoing paths make this 3-mile walk around Richmond a beauty. Begin in the town centre and head to Green Bridge where you can take in stunning views of Richmond Castle before walking through the ancient woodlands of Billy Bank, Round Howe and Hudswell Woods. Once you reach the River Swale, you can cross the Round Howe Footbridge and enjoy the view before you join the riverside trail. It opens up into a series of sun-kissed clearings as you head to the Swale Rapids, then make your way back to the start.

The Richmond and the River Swale walk starts at Market Place, Richmond. 

Littondale Circular

River Skirfare

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If you’re looking for a gentle walk in a quiet, picturesque stretch of the Yorkshire Dales, this leisurely 4.5-mile route will do the trick. You’ll start in the tiny village of Arncliffe and head for the easygoing paths that lie beside the little-known River Skirfare. Make your way through the preserved ash woodland of Guildersbank before you reach another equally pretty village at Linton. Here, you’ll find a bridge to cross the river and head back along the bottom of Cote Moor Top into Arncliffe.

The Littondale Circular starts at Brootes Lane, Arncliffe, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PY.

Grewelthorpe Circular

Grewelthorpe, River Ure

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Grewelthorpe is a picturesque village in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but the star of this 6.7-mile walk is the River Ure. You’ll start with a stroll down Nutwith Lane before you climb 215-metre to the top of Horsepasture Hill to look out over the North York Moors and Nutwith Common. This is where you’ll meet the River Ure – follow it downstream through the pasture fields at Badger Lane Farm and Nutwith Cote until you enter the woodland. There are a few riverside clearings here, perfect for a picnic break before you head back to the start on bridleways.

The Grewelthorpe Circular walk starts on Nunwith Lane, Grewelthorpe. 

Jervaulx Abbey and the River Ure

Jervaulx Abbey

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The historic ruins of the 12th-century Jervaulx Abbey are both the start and end of this breathtaking 7-mile jaunt around the lowlands of the Yorkshire Dales. You’ll head east from the abbey, past rolling fields that lead you down to the waters of the River Ure and over Kilgram Bridge towards Thornton Steward. The 16th-century Danby Hall estate is your next pit-stop, before you once again cross the river at Cover Bridge and join the charming waterside paths back down to the old abbey ruins.

The Jervaulx Abbey and the River Ure walk starts at Jervaulx Abbey, East Witton, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4PH.

West Burton and Aysgarth Falls Circular

Aysgarth Falls

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Two sets of waterfalls and a beautiful river make this 5-mile circular walk one of the best in Yorkshire. You’ll start in the quaint village of West Burton and make your way to one of the Yorkshire Dales’ best-kept secrets – West Burton Waterfall. Although it’s slightly overshadowed by your next destination – the magnificent Aysgarth Falls. You reach it by following the banks of the River Ure and walking through the Freeholders’ Wood Nature Reserve along fairly easy bridleways. This leads you to the three flights of falls which roar over the limestone steps below.

The West Burton and Aysgarth Falls Circular walk starts at Front Nook, West Burton.