Lockdown made us all appreciate walks more than ever before, right? I’m sure many of us found routes that we never knew existed and developed a new-found appreciation for the huge amounts of green spaces that can be found all across the UK. Yorkshire is famous for being home to the Yorkshire Moors, known for being the setting of Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights, as well as the Yorkshire Dales. And the walking opportunities across the county are endless. This blog will bring you the 15 best walks in Yorkshire, from across the Moors, the Dales, and beyond!
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Lola Sherwin.
The Best Walks in Yorkshire
1. Malham Cove, Gordale Scar & Janet’s Foss Walk
This is one of Yorkshire’s most incredible walks! Found in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this walk has everything you could ever want and more. From waterfalls and cliffs to woodland and peregrine falcons, this is truly the best that nature has to offer.
Malham Cove has been a favourite spot for walkers for many years. And it has not lost its beauty as the years have gone by. This is a circular walk, meaning you can follow it all the way around and is certainly one you will never forget. Try and head out on a sunny day for this one, as you will see it at its most incredible in the glow of the sun. But even on a rainy day, this walk is not one that will disappoint.
2. Aysgarth Falls
This walk is perfect for those of you who prefer a short and easy walk, but still want to take in plenty of nature’s beauty. Taking around one and a half hours to complete, this is a great walk to do without being too strenuous!
Taking you through lush meadows and gorgeous woodland, this walk then follows a route past the three tiers of this amazing waterfall on the River Ure. The rush of the water will make you feel so relaxed, and you’ll end this walk feeling grateful for having access to such wonderful pockets of nature.
3. Ilkley Moor and the 12 Apostles
With heather-coated countryside stretching as far as the eye can see, Ilkley Moor is blessed with having show-stopping panoramic views across some of the most beautiful landscapes in Yorkshire.
One of the most fascinating parts of this walk is the circle of 12 standing stones which has become known as the 12 Apostles. This sight makes a great photo for your Instagram! To avoid the big crowds that often flock to the Moor, return to West View through Rocky Valley for a pretty and peaceful return trip.
4. Forge Valley Woods
At just two miles, this is another walk which can be taken at your own pace. In spring you’ll be surrounded by the wonderful aromas of wild garlic and wood anemone, while in autumn the walk is brightened by autumnal colours all around you.
The walk has seats along the way, so it’s ideal if you think you’ll need a bit of a rest. And it also has plenty of viewing platforms for you to take in the sights. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a deer hiding in the surrounding trees!
5. Bronte Country
The Bronte sisters are iconic to Yorkshire culture and history, and the paths in Bronte Country are famous for once having been trodden by the celebrity sisters. Bronte Country is a large area of impressive moors and deep valleys, tucked away in the South Pennine Hills.
Nestled deep in the valleys you will find small villages and towns which are bursting with an interesting history. Bronte Country offers huge numbers of walking routes for you to pick from. But one of the best is a circular walk which starts in the historic Haworth village. It follows moorland paths through the countryside that inspired the Brontes’ famous novels.
6. Hardraw Force
Another one for the waterfall lovers! Starting in the adorable market town of Hawes, which is buried away deep in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this walk covers just over four miles and should take around two hours for you to do.
Hardraw Force is the UK’s biggest single drop waterfall, with water dropping around 100 feet before splashing down into a rock-circled pool. It’s certainly a breathtaking sight! The waterfall sits on private land, so expect to be charged a small entrance fee. But trust us, it’s well worth the price.
7. Sutton Bank
One of the best walks in Yorkshire, Sutton Bank offers you some of Yorkshire’s most spectacular views. There’s a number of walks you can do here, with one of the most popular starting in the Sutton Bank National Park Centre. It loops around the Roulston Scar up to the White Horse of Kilburn, which is quite literally a figure of a horse which has been carved into the hillside. What a great photo opportunity!
Another of the short walks sets off from the same starting point and takes you up to an escarpment edge of Sutton Bank where you will be greeted with some dramatic landscapes. From this point, you can cast your eye over Garbutt Wood and Gormire Lake, with Garbutt Wood being home to plenty of wildlife. See what you can spot!
8. Circular Walk via Ingleborough Caves and Gaping Gill
At five and a half miles, this is one for the more active among us. If you have an adventurous side, then this walk will be perfect for you! Beginning in the quaint stone brick village of Clapham, the route winds up to the striking limestone Ingleborough Cave and onwards to one of the Dales’ most famous caves, the Gaping Gill.
The two caves are part of one of Britain’s most complex cave systems and are actually connected by an underground system. The opening to the floor of Gaping Gill is a whopping 129 metres, so it’s super important to be careful here. The entrance isn’t fenced and you don’t want to end up taking a fatal fall. However, despite the dangerous edge to this walk, it’s a fascinating wander and one you will certainly enjoy.
9. Langsett Reservoir
Another circular walk, this one twists and turns around the edge of the Reservoir, which is located just on the border of Peak District National Park.
Start your stroll in the village of Langsett and keep going along footpaths which snake through the woodland and moorland that surrounds the Reservoir. This is a particular favourite with dog walkers, and we can see why. Who wouldn’t want unparalleled views of the Peak District while taking their pup on its daily walk?
10. The Yorkshire Three Peaks
This is not a walk for the faint-hearted, given that it covers a whopping 25 miles of ground. Seasoned hikers, this is the one for you! The Yorkshire Three Peaks takes walkers along Yorkshire’s three highest peaks and is truly a challenge. So don’t undertake this one if you’re not a regular long-distance walker. The walk takes you up a total climb of 1672 metres, which is certainly no laughing matter.
Despite the challenges posed by this walk, the showstopping scenery that you will see along the way makes it all worth it. And you will most definitely feel proud of yourself once you’re done! If you don’t think you’re quite ready to tackle all three peaks, then why not just try one of them? It will still be worth it for the views, we’re sure!
11. Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey
Running from the market town of Helmsley up to the Abbey is a well-trodden circular route which offers sweeping views of the surroundings on the ascent, before descending into magical bluebell woods.
Once you’ve made your way through the pretty bluebells, you will reach the peaceful village and ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, before heading back the way you came to get back to Helmsley. At seven miles, it’s a bit longer. But the walk isn’t particularly challenging and doesn’t face you with huge climbs, so it’s worth a go as long as you have a few hours to spare.
12. Flamborough Head
This is one of the best walks in Yorkshire for all you seaside lovers! Flamborough Head follows a path along the gorgeous chalky white cliffs that line the coast. As you can imagine, this circular walk is nicer on a sunny day, as it is then that you will catch some of the most stunning views that this route has to offer.
The terrain is pretty easy to walk on, and you will find yourself wandering along grassy paths while looking out at some amazing views of the Yorkshire coast. From here you may even be able to spot puffins and seals – this is definitely one of the best things to do at Flamborough Head. But be careful at the cliff edge if you have dogs or children with you!
Located in one of the prettiest English villages, this walk will give you the perfect break away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. And the sea air will make you feel completely refreshed.
13. Cloughton and Hayburn Wyke Walk
In keeping with the coastal theme, this is a pleasant three-hour walk along the coastline of the county. Located near the pretty little seaside town of Scarborough, the route winds through Hayburn Wyke’s wooded valley and onwards to a rocky cove. It’s a beautiful sight, packed with huge boulders and crashing waterfalls.
To make your way back to Cloughton, follow the disused railway tracks, plunging you back in history to the days that the train to Whitby ran along these lines. If you’re an animal lover, keep an ear out for the sound of woodpeckers going about their day in the trees.
14. Marsden Moor Estate
Want to enjoy the rugged moorland landscape that’s so typical to Yorkshire? Then Marsden Moor Estate is for you. The Estate offers everything from light strolls to more challenging hikes and is a great place to go to escape the crowds.
The Estate covers a significant portion of the Pennine Way, and you will find all kinds of landscapes on your walks here. This is the kind of place you can go back to time and time again due to the wide variety of walks on offer. So make a list and see how many you can tick off this year!
15. Fish, Fangs and Fossils
At a mere one mile, this walk is great for families or those of you just looking for a casual stroll on a weekend. Looping around the coastal town of Whitby, this walk allows you to stop and examine aspects of the town’s history along the way. This makes it a great walk for any history lovers among us.
From Count Dracula to whaling, this town has a darker history than you might think at first glance. So get your historian hat on and take a walk here!
Hopefully, these best walks in Yorkshire have given you plenty of ideas to make the most out of this beautiful county. From coastland to moorland, waterfalls to caves, there is something for everyone here. And plenty of them are suitable for people of all ages. Most importantly, each and every one of these walks offer views of the best of Yorkshire. So make yourself a ‘best walks in Yorkshire’ bucket list and head on out to the great outdoors!
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