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Emerging from the Valley Gardens near the centre of Harrogate
Emerging from the Valley Gardens near the centre of Harrogate

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Route No. 650 - Thursday 24 November 2016
Harlow Moor Road, Valley Gardens, Harrogate
Ringway, Oak Beck, Harlow Carr circuit - 7km
Harrogate, North Yorkshire . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

See also the street map showing the route through Harrogate from the Valley Gardens to the footpath along Oak Dale

Map: OS Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley


Setting off from our parking spot in Harlow Moor Road , passing a large house building site
Setting off from our parking spot in Harlow Moor Road , passing a large house building site

Heading for 'The Pinewoods' along Harlow Moor Road
Heading for 'The Pinewoods' along Harlow Moor Road

From our parking spot we walked south east along Harlow Moor Road for about 200m and then turned left to follow a path through 'The Pinewoods'. There are several paths heading north east through the woods and it didn't really matter which one we took, they all lead into the Valley Gardens, but we took the second one because it's not as busy as the third one. The Pinewoods are managed by Harrogate Borough Council and the Pinewoods Conservation Group.

This morning my neighbour, Jim, and I drove to Harrogate and parked on Harlow Moor Road at map ref. SE 287 548 near the junction with Cornwall Road. Along the west side of the Harlow Moor Road here there is a wide parking strip. Just now the parking area is reduced by the vehicles from the large house building site opposite but there was still room to park with no trouble.

Turning left into 'The Pinewoods'
Turning left into 'The Pinewoods'

This squirrel posed long enough for even me to get a decent photo of it
This squirrel posed long enough for even me to get a decent photo of it

Path from The Pinewoods into the Valley Gardens
Path from The Pinewoods into the Valley Gardens

Rock sculptures by the path, Harrogate Valley gardens
Rock sculptures by the path

Path through the Valley Gardens
Path through the Valley Gardens

We came out from the Valley Gardens onto Cornwall Road at a complex junction. We crossed Cornwall Road with the Royal Pump Room Museum on our right.

We followed the path through the woods into the Valley Gardens. These are very pretty ornamental gardens leading almost to the centre of Harrogate.

The Old Magnesia Well Pump Room, Harrogate Valley gardens
The Old Magnesia Well Pump Room

Path through the Valley Gardens
Path through the Valley Gardens

Crossing Cornwall Road outside the Valley Gardens
Crossing Cornwall Road outside the Valley Gardens

Our route through the streets of Harrogate
from the Valley Gardens to the Harrogate Ringway in Oak Dale

We passed the Royal Pump Room Museum on our right as we made our way into Swan Road
We passed the Royal Pump Room Museum on our right as we made our way into Swan Road

Walking along Swan Road heading for the Old Swan Hotel
Walking along Swan Road heading for the Old Swan Hotel

Then after about 50m along Kent Road we turned left off the road to follow a public footpath between the houses down to a road called Oakdale. We crossed Oakdale and walked down the road opposite called Oakdale Glen. After about 100m down Oakdale Glen we turned left off Oakdale Glen onto a public footpath through the woodland above Oak Beck. This path is part of the Harrogate Ringway route.

We turned to walk along Swan Road and after about 150m we turned left in front of The Old Swan Hotel to walk along York Road. After about 200m we turned right into Clarence Drive and followed this road for about 300m to its junction with Duchy Road. We turned left along Duchy Road for about 100m and then turned right opposite the church of St. Wilfrid into Kent Avenue. After about 150m at the end of the road we turned right into Kent Road.

We turned right out of York Road into Clarence Drive
We turned right out of York Road into Clarence Drive

Nearing the junction of Clarence Drive with Duchy Road
Nearing the junction of Clarence Drive with Duchy Road

St Wilfrid's Church on Duchy Road
St Wilfrid's Church on Duchy Road

Turning into Kent Avenue opposite St. Wilfrid's Church
Turning into Kent Avenue opposite St. Wilfrid's Church

Turning right from Kent Avenue into Kent Road
Turning right from Kent Avenue into Kent Road

Turning left off Kent Road onto a footpath between the houses
Turning left off Kent Road onto a footpath between the houses

Footpath heading down to the road called Oakdale
Footpath heading down to the road called Oakdale

Crossing Oakdale to walk down Oakdale Glen
Crossing Oakdale to walk down Oakdale Glen

Walking down Oakdale Glen to a footpath on the left
Walking down Oakdale Glen to a footpath on the left

Turning left off Oakdale Glen to join the route of the Harrogate Ringway path
Turning left off Oakdale Glen to join the route of the Harrogate Ringway path

Harrogate Ringway going through the woods in Oak Dale
Harrogate Ringway going through the woods in Oak Dale

Harrogate Ringway dropping down to Oak Beck
Harrogate Ringway dropping down to Oak Beck

Harrogate Ringway beside Oak Beck
Harrogate Ringway beside Oak Beck


Look out for this large fallen tree . . .


. . . & climbs up the bank behind the tree root . . .

At the foot of the bank the path doubles back behind the huge root of the fallen tree and begins to climb up the bank. Just past the tree root the path reaches some steps and a handrail where the path makes a hair pin turn and continues to climb up the bank to the top. Here the path continues along the top of the bank with garden fences on the left and the wooded bank dropping away on our right.

We followed the Harrogate Ringway route along the wooded valley of Oak Beck for about 800m (to map ref. SE 285 555) Here there is a very large fallen tree lying at right angles to the wooded bank and stretching from the foot of the bank to the beck with just a narrow strip of ground to pass between the sawn ends of the branches and the beck. Just beyond the tree on the right is a stone arch footbridge over the beck and on the left the path turns away from the beck heading towards the wooded bank.

Harrogate Ringway going through the woods in Oak Dale
Harrogate Ringway going through the woods in Oak Dale

Harrogate Ringway beside Oak Beck
Harrogate Ringway beside Oak Beck

Old stone arch footbridge over Oak Beck
Old stone arch footbridge over Oak Beck


. . . the path turns left just past the tree . . .


. . . then doubles back to the top of the bank

The Harrogate Ringway path nearing the top of the bank
The Harrogate Ringway path nearing the top of the bank

The alleyway out to Kent Road
The alleyway out to Kent Road

Following Kent Road to the junction with Cornwall road
Following Kent Road to the junction with Cornwall road

There's a short cut path up the grassy bank to join Cornwall Road climbing up the side of Oak Dale to a right hand bend in the road. At the bend we crossed the road to a gateway opposite leading to a path around the wooded edge of Oak dale. This path is the continuation of the Harrogate Ringway.

After about 30m we came to a fenced alleyway that led us out between the houses into Kent Road. At the road we turned right, still following the route of the Harrogate Ringway, and walked along Kent Road to its junction with Cornwall Road. At this junction we turned left.

Following Kent Road to the junction with Cornwall road
Following Kent Road to the junction with Cornwall road

Following Cornwall Road up the hill to a sharp right hand bend
Following Cornwall Road up the hill to a sharp right hand bend

Leaving Cornwall Road at the bend to follow the Harrogate Ringway up the valley
Leaving Cornwall Road at the bend to follow the Harrogate Ringway up the valley


Part of the long series of steps to the top of Birk Crag
Part of the long series of steps to the top of Birk Crag

From Birk Crag House there is a bridleway along the access road to the house that would have provided a short cut to Harlow Carr if my wonky knees had needed it but today we continued down some wooden steps and along the dale.

We followed this woodland path along Oak Dale dropping down to the beck side and then climbing up flights of steps to the path along the top of Birk Crag to reach the back of Birk Crag House after about 700m from Cornwall Road.

Left fork stays at the top edge of the valley but
	  we followed the right fork down to Oak Beck
Left fork stays at the top edge of the valley
We followed the right fork down to Oak Beck

Looking across Oak Dale from the top od Birk Crag
Looking across Oak Dale from the top of Birk Crag

Here, at Birk Crag House, we took the path to the right to continue along Oak Dale
Here, at Birk Crag House, we took the path to the right to continue along Oak Dale

Continuing along Oak Dale from Birk Crag House
Continuing along Oak Dale from Birk Crag House

Dropping down to a side valley off Oak Dale
Dropping down to a side valley off Oak Dale

Footbridge over the stream
Footbridge over the stream

The path then climbed up the far side of the little valley and we continued with a high green wire fence on our right. This is the boundary fence of the RHS Harlow Carr Gardens.

After about 200m the path began to drop down and bend to our left into a side valley off Oak Dale. We continued along this path down to cross the stream.

Continuing along Oak Dale from Birk Crag House
Continuing along Oak Dale from Birk Crag House

Path by the stream in the little side valley
Path by the stream in the little side valley

Climbing up the far side of the little valley
	  The Harrogate Ringway goes up the steps to the right
	   but we kept straight ahead
Climbing up the far side of the little valley The Harrogate Ringway goes up the steps to the right but we kept straight ahead

Following the path beside the boundary fence of the RHS Harlow Carr Gardens
Following the path beside the boundary fence of the RHS Harlow Carr Gardens

Continuing along the Harlow Carr boundary fence
Continuing along the Harlow Carr boundary fence

The former Harrogate Arms Hotel
The former Harrogate Arms Hotel


Turning right at the top of Crag Lane

After about 100m we passed the farm access road to Pinewood Farm and just a few metres further on there is a path on the left into The Pinewoods. This is the south western end of the woods we walked through at the start of our walk. We turned left onto the path through the woods.

After a few hundred metres we came to the back gate, staff entrance, to Harlow Carr Gardens on our right. Our route turned left here to pass along Crag Lane in front of the building that used to be the Harrogate Arms Hotel but now seems to be closed down. At the top of Crag Lane we turned right towards the main entrance to Harlow Carr Gardens.

Reaching the staff entrance to Harlow Carr Gardens
Reaching the staff entrance to Harlow Carr Gardens

Following Crag Lane
Following Crag Lane

Turning left off the lane into 'The Pinewoods'
Turning left off the lane into 'The Pinewoods'

Footpath through The Pinewoods
Footpath through The Pinewoods

Footpath through The Pinewoods
Footpath through The Pinewoods

The whole route had been about 7km and it had taken me almost three hours to walk. It had been a very pleasant route tucked into the edge of a large town.

We followed the woodland path for almost 1km to Harlow Moor Road. Here we turned left and walked along Harlow Moor road back to our parking spot and the end of our walk.

Our left turn from The Pinewoods footpath to Harlow Moor Rd
Our left turn from The Pinewoods footpath to Harlow Moor Rd

Harlow Moor Road heading back to the car park
Harlow Moor Road heading back to the car park

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