Discover magical woodland, roaring rivers and creepy crawlies in these family-friendly walks in Yorkshire.
A simple walk can make for an incredible family day out. You can connect with nature, discover interesting habitats and the creatures that live in them, and build on that special bond you have with your kids. Take a picnic and it’s low cost too! These seven family walks in Yorkshire have everything, from bugs in the brush to gigantic art. Where will you go?
Hardcastle Crags in Hebden Bridge is full of gorgeous walking routes, just waiting to be explored by your family. There are woods full of oak, beech and pine to explore, rocky rivers to marvel at and stepping stones to hop over. If you’ve got tiny tots, then the one-mile Estate Track takes you from the car park to the cafe at Gibson Mill at the heart of the valley on wide, smooth pathways. If you’ve got older kids, try the riverside Mill Walk– this is where you skip over the stepping stones, but it’s still only one and a quarter miles.
Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7AZ.
Bolton Abbey is one of the best places for family walks in Yorkshire. You can go on all sorts of adventures, from spotting trees mysteriously laden with coins to leaping across 60 stepping stones. They’ve got a number of family-friendly walks, but their famous two-mile Welly Walk is particularly fun! Little ones will tackle obstacles big and small, like scrambling up nets and navigating the pole-to-pole. It’s suitable for all ages, though some obstacles are better left to bigger kids – just don’t forget your wellies!
Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6EX.
Dalby Forest is a great day out for the whole family – there are 13 different walking trails, including accessible routes. The 2km Superworm trail takes characters from the beloved book and helps kids learn about how mini-beasts support the forest ecosystem. Pick up a trail pack from the visitor centre and see if you can spot the illustrated panels dotted throughout the forest. There’s the Gruffalo Orienteering course too, where kids are tasked with finding the markers hidden in the deep, dark forest…
Dalby Forest, Dalby Forest Drive, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7LT.
Rivelin Valley Nature Trail
Just outside Sheffield, the Rivelin Nature Trail is one of the most popular walks in the area. It’s particularly popular with families, as there’s a playground, a cafe and lots of places for little ones to interact with the woodland and river. We’re talking places to paddle in the water, a number of waterfalls to marvel at and locations to learn about the industrial history of the valley. There’s just one main trail route, stretching out two and a half miles alongside the river, but you can cross the river and make it a shorter walk.
Rivelin Valley Nature Trail, Rivelin Valley Road, Sheffield South Yorkshire, S6 5GL.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the perfect place to take the kids on a family walk. There’s a whole load of incredible sculpture set in the grounds of an 18th-century country estate. You can explore different natural habitats together, from woodlands and meadows to parkland and lakes – it allows you to pick and choose which route will be best for little legs. There are over 90 works of art to discover too, ideal for igniting the imaginations of small and grown-up brains alike. It’s £6 per person to enter, but under-18s go free!
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 4LG.
St Ives Estate
St Ives Estate in Bingley is full of surprises. It’s a 550-acre country park with loads of different areas to explore, including woodlands, open moor and a wildflower meadow. There are ponds too, where you can treat the ducks with feed from the cafe, and adventure playgrounds where they can play. The trails are relatively flat and are all under an hour long, making them perfect for little legs to run wild. See if you can spot the Gothic set arcade amongst ruins, the mysterious carved boulder and the rustic ornamental bridge.
St Ives Estate, Harden, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 1AT.
RSPB Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve
Fairburn Ings in Castleford is a beautiful nature reserve, filled with diverse habitats and loads of different birds. The Discovery Trail is 500 metres of fully accessible paths for pushchairs, making it perfect for a relaxed walk together with the little ones. You can spot creepy crawlies in their Bug Village, go pond dipping to discover the water creatures or see which rare birds are hanging out at the nature reserve. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot bitterns, warblers and spoonbills. Hungry? There’s a cafe on site too!
RSPB Fairburn Ings, Newton Lane, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 2BH.Cover image: Credit: Jonty Wilde.