This is a walk in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Enjoy riverside walking by the River Nidd, a lake, a tarn and a pond, extensive woodland, an exhilarating gritstone edge, a folly and many fine views.
Take the B6165/B6265 from Ripley to Pateley Bridge. Follow B6265 down Pateley Bridge High Street and turn left immediately before the bridge for Nidd Walk car park (£1.40 all day). For the Royal Oak pub, cross the bridge and the pub is on the right after 200 metres. Sat Nav: HG3 5NA.
1. From Nidd Walk car park drop down to the path beside the River Nidd, turn left and follow it downstream for some attractive tree-lined riverside walking. After half a mile the path swings right and broadens into a lane with a large lake on the right.
2. Turn right at the road (just below Glasshouses village) and go left at the road junction immediately after the bridge over the river. The large stone building across the river is the former Glasshouses Mill. After a few metres, fork right on a lane up the hillside. The lane becomes an enclosed footpath before entering Parker Wood. Go immediately right for a few metres and then continue up the hillside in attractive woodland on a clear path. Turn left at the T-junction of paths, then follow the main path as it swings right climbing quite steeply. Guisecliff Tarn is on the right. Shortly after the tarn, the path swings left, descends briefly, then takes a fairly level course through the wood. At the end of the wood the path climbs steeply up the hillside to a gate just to the left of a large mast (a good viewpoint with extensive views eastwards to Sutton Bank and the Yorkshire Wolds).
3. Turn right and along the fence round the back of the mast, go over a stile, then follow a well-trodden path on the top of Guise Cliff, a splendid airy walk along the gritstone edge with good views into Nidderdale. The notice ‘For your safety keep to the path’ should not be taken lightly as there are fearsome crevices. The path eventually follows a wall on the right with views of Greenhow Hill ahead. After a gate in the wall, the path goes beside the bizarrely-shaped Yorke’s Folly erected around 1800 to provide work at a time of local unemployment. Slant right on a rocky path to the nearby road.
4. Cross the road to a footpath gate and follow the path signposted to Bewerley. Soon the path enters Skrikes Wood, descending steeply. Ignore the stile at the bottom of the wood and go left beside the wall. The clear path, still in the wood, descends to a metal bridge over Fosse Gill to reach a road where you turn right.
5. After a few metres, turn left on a footpath which initially goes close to the road, then by an information board turns left into Fishpond Wood. The path goes by the fishpond and up to a footpath gate, Turn right and up some fine old steps to another footpath gate (good view). In the next field veer slightly right towards the bottom of the hill, cross the boardwalk to a footpath gate and then a road. Turn left along the road, then soon turn right (footpath sign) and slant across the field to the far corner to join the B6265. Turn right (no verge so beware traffic!) and continue down the B6265 into Pateley Bridge (the Royal Oak on the left). Immediately after the bridge over the river follow the road to the car park. The impressive stone building on the left is a former railway station (Pateley Bridge had two).
l This walk appears in Guide to North Yorkshire Pub Walks. The book is £5.95 available from Countryside Books at www.countrysidebooks.co.uk or call 01635 43816. A 10 per cent discount is available to Harrogate Advertiser readers on all walking and cycling titles published by Countryside Books by using the code YORKSWALKS10.