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Path from the old railway viaduct back down to the river Nidd
Path from the old railway viaduct back down to the river Nidd

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Route No 250 - Wednesday 11 June 2008
Nidd Gorge Woods circuit - 11km
Knaresborough, Nidderdale . . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base

Map: OS Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley
(I walked this route in the opposite direction on 3 February 2007 but it's such a lovely place it's worth another visit)


Sign at the Nidd Gorge Woods car park
Sign at the Nidd Gorge Woods car park

The car park is directly under a power-line that crosses the valley at this point and the pylons make a good land mark to spot the little track that leads in to the car park.

Today I had to take my grand daughter to nursery and collect her in the afternoon so I could only manage a short walk in between. My neighbour, Jim, and I drove to the Woodland Trust car park at Nidd Gorge Wood on the edge of Knaresborough at map ref.SE330584.

Track from the car park into Nidd Gorge Woods
Track from the car park into Nidd Gorge Woods

Footbridge over the River Nidd
Footbridge over the River Nidd
Footbridge over the River Nidd
Footbridge over the River Nidd

Footbridge over the River Nidd
Footbridge over the River Nidd

We headed downstream for a few hundred metres and then continued on the path as it climbed up the valley side away from the river to the edge of the woods at map ref. SE328575.

We started walking at about 9.40 and followed the track down the valley side to the footbridge over the river Nidd at map ref.SE328582. We crossed the bridge and followed the path along the river bank.

Following the River Nidd downstream
Following the River Nidd downstream

Climbing up from the river Nidd towards Bilton
Climbing up from the river Nidd towards Bilton
Farm trailer being recycled
Farm trailer being recycled

The Gardeners Arms in Bilton
The Gardeners Arms in Bilton

We did not take this path because it makes the walk much shorter. We continued along Bilton Lane for another 350m to the disused Harrogate Gasworks Railway (map ref. SE313576) which is now a footpath.

We followed the track out to Bilton Lane and turned left to walk along Bilton Lane towards Bilton. After almost 2km we reached Old Bilton and the Gardeners Arms pub. Just by the pub is a finger post to Nidd Gorge Woods.

Dog Rose by the railway path from Bilton
Dog Rose by the railway path from Bilton

Path along the disused railway from Bilton
Path along the disused railway from Bilton

At the viaduct they took a path to the left and we turned right to follow a path down the slope to the river side. At the bottom of the slope we came to a seat made from a large log where we stopped for a break in a very pleasant woodland spot next to the river.

We turned right to walk along the railway path for about a kilometer to the viaduct which is closed off with iron gates and a high fence. Along the way we met a local couple out for a walk who told us that the local council have well advanced plans to reopen the viaduct to walkers.

Orange Tip butterfly by the path
Orange Tip butterfly by the path

River Nidd still & quiet behind the weir
River Nidd still & quiet behind the weir

There was a group of ducks standing on the face of the weir feeding in the rushing water.

After our break we continued downstream along the southern bank of the river Nidd for almost 1km to the weir at Scotton Mill.

Weir on the river Nidd at Scotton Mill
Weir on the river Nidd at Scotton Mill

Ducks feeding on the weir at Scotton Mill
Ducks feeding on the weir at Scotton Mill
Path heading downstream from Scotton Mill
Path heading downstream from Scotton Mill
Pink stitchwort
Pink stitchwort
Pink Cuckoo Flower
Pink Cuckoo Flower or Lady's Smock
Following the river Nidd downstream
Following the river Nidd downstream
Foxgloves by the path
Foxgloves by the path
A still pool on the river Nidd
A still pool on the river Nidd
Shingle bank by the river Nidd
Shingle bank by the river Nidd

Board walk through a muddy patch in the woods
Board walk through a muddy patch in the woods

After a few hundred metres the path climbed up the valley side to avoid a large rocky outcrop cliff that forms the river bank. Beyond the cliff the path dropped down to the river side where we saw a group of boys floating down the river on several inflatable rafts.

We walked on for another 1.5km back to the footbridge over the river. We crossed back over the river and continued downstream on the opposite (northern) bank.

Boys rafting down the rapids
Boys rafting down the rapids

Here there is a stile into the back garden of a large house and the public footpath passes through the garden and up the drive of the house into a cul-de-sac on the estate. We walked through the estate to the main road (B6165) at map ref. SE337581.

Almost a kilometer further on at map ref. SE336577 there is a wooden post and rail fence that comes down the hillside at right angles to the river, to the edge of the riverside path. Here we turned left to follow a path climbing up the hillside next to the fence to the edge of a housing estate at the top of the slope.

Track between the fields back to the car park
Track between the fields back to the car park

Disc harrow being recycled
Disc harrow being recycled

The whole route had been 11km and this very pretty walk had taken us almost 4 hours including our stops. We drove home via Boroughbridge where we stopped for a coffee to round off our walk, and I arrived home in time for a shower before collecting my grand daughter from her nursery

We crossed the road and walked along the track opposite for about 400m to map ref. SE336586. Here we turned left on a grassy track between the fields for another 300m where we turned left again to follow a track back to the main road at map ref. SE332584. From there we walked in the edge of the woods next to the main road back to the car park.

Track between the fields back to the car park
Track between the fields back to the car park