The well-to-do spa town of Harrogate is best known for its fashion-savvy boutiques, divine restaurants and superb art galleries. But did you know that this North Yorkshire gem is also surrounded by vast moors, sprawling woodlands and pretty parks, making it the ideal location for a spot of walking (and giving your wallet a rest!) These are just five of our favourite walks within easy reach of Harrogate.
Follifoot and Sporfforth Castle Walk
We kick off the list with a walk classed as ‘easy’, which makes the Follifoot and Sporfforth Castle Walk a great option for all the family thanks to its reasonable unchallenging terrain. The only hazards on this trail are a small climbing section of around 90 meters and a short section that runs along the local roadside. This walk is only five miles in length and can be completed in two hours, depending on how many stops you make! This trail has an abundance of colourful flowers in the spring and summer season and the scenery veers from calm ponds and traditional North Yorkshire buildings along the path.
Located in the beautiful Washburn Valley, just west of Harrogate, the Fewston Reservoir is a splendid trail which packs in plenty of natural beauty. This walking trail is classed as very easy, thanks to its completely flat elevations (no climbing required) so it’s perfect for reluctant walkers. The trail is around 3.7 miles, which can be completed in one-and-a-half to two hours.
Next up is the slightly more challenging Harrogate Ringway trail which is a 20 mile circular walk of the town. Harrogate Ringway can be completed in 4 to 6 hours if you walk reasonably quickly without stopping. If you take frequent breaks to admire the architecture though, it could take around 8 hours to complete. Classed as a ‘difficult’ walk, you’ll need to call on your reserves of endurance, although a little time spent in one of the local gyms and fitness clubs will stand you in good stead, www.harrogate.co.uk has more details of local facilities. Harrogate Ringway has beautiful views over the surrounding English countryside, pristine lakes and abundant wildlife, so don’t forget to take your camera. It also has traditional watering holes along the path, which have the potential to blow the 8 hours target time out of the water!
Blubberhouses Moor Walking Path
If you are searching for moderately challenging terrain, look no further than the Blubberhouses Moor. This circular walk begins at the Blubberhouses church and has 7.2 miles of fairly easy-going walking terrain. On average, it can take around three to four hours to complete. On top of that, this trail does have a small amount of climbing involved, but only 270 meters or so. The most difficult aspect of this walk is crossing the A59, but once you complete that, the walk becomes easier. The charming Yorkshire cottages and ornate churches add character to the landscape.
Ilkley Moor is a great walking location as it offers may different trails for all skill levels. For beginners, Middleton Woods or the River Wharf are great options because they have easy-to-walk paths that have minimal hazards. They are also pretty short in length and can be finished in an hour or so. If you want a challenging path on the other hand, your best bet is to walk the Addingham, which can take up to six hours to complete. Ilkley Moor offers a lot of natural beauty and has an abundance of wildlife including numerous species of birds.