A fairly easy walk which can be enjoyed in conjunction with a visit to Knaresborough and its picturesque riverbank.
The route takes in the much-photographed section beside the boat-hire quay and the iconic four-arch railway viaduct, which stands nearly 80ft above the River Nidd and dates from the 1850s. The route also makes use of a couple of local trails, the Knaresborough Round across fields to the Harrogate suburb of Starbuck, and the Harrogate Ringway on the return stretch to the Nidd Valley. While in Knaresborough it is worth visiting Knaresborough Castle with its fascinating dungeon and secret underground exit known as a sally port. Along the river look out for goosanders and grey wagtails, and for sparrowhawks in the fields between Calcutt and Starbeck.
1. From the car park walk back to the road and use the pelican crossing to reach the other side. Walk along Waterside, passing a wishing well on the right, and follow the clear route beneath the railway viaduct. Beyond it, ignore Castle Ings Road on the left but continue ahead past Bridge Close to the main road.
2. Cross with care to the other side and turn right to go over the bridge. Follow the road left uphill for a short distance and turn left into Spital Croft. At the end go to the right of the last house, and beyond a barrier turn right on a path back to the main road. Cross with care and turn into Forest Moor Road. Further along the road turn right into Cass Lane, and beyond a farm continue on an obvious well-trodden field path.
3. With great care go over the pedestrian crossing at the railway line, observing the advice “Stop, look, listen, beware of trains”. Follow the path next to a golf course, leading eventually out onto Forest Lane. Turn right and walk up to the junction at Forest Lane Head. Use the pelican crossing to reach the other side and turn right. Walk along the A59.
4. Turn left into Bilton Hall Drive, follow it to a junction and turn right to take the signposted Harrogate Ringway path back into the Nidd Valley. Beyond information boards walk to the main road, turn left to go over the bridge and turn left again back into the car park. If using public transport cross to the World’s End pub side with care, walk along Waterside and fork left up Kirkgate to the station.
Difficulty rating: 1 star.
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Distance: 4 miles.
Map: OS Explorer Sheet 289 (1:25000) Leeds, or OS Landranger Sheet 104 (1:50000) Leeds & Bradford
Parking: Conyngham Hall car park (pay & display) on north bank of River Nidd, off A59 Harrogate road.
Public transport: Knaresborough is on Harrogate-York bus routes and served by trains on the Leeds-Harrogate-York line. For times visit www.traveline.info or call 0871 2002233.
Refreshments: Knaresborough, Starbuck.