10 walks you can enjoy as a family!
We’ve compiled a list of great walks in Wharfedale and further afield – all child-friendly and great for seeing our countryside at it’s best. We hope you enjoy.
1. Yeadon Tarn
Credit: Visit Leeds
Distance: 1 mile
Type of terrain: Flat, pushchair and bike friendly
Good for: Feeding the ducks and spotting planes at the airport
This is a great stroll at any time of the year, thanks to the paved footpath that leads all the way round the perimeter of the lake. It is a short walk, making it extremely suitable for pushchairs and little legs. There are often ducklings and wild birds to be seen on the Tarn too. It’s location next to the airport runway, also makes it a fun (if a little odd) place to watch planes taking off and landing. There is also an excellent play area. For more information on how to get to the Tarn and where to park, click here
2. Chevin Forest Park
Distance: Anything from 1.5 miles to 10 miles
Type of terrain: Steep and hilly in parts which may be challenging for toddlers. Not really suitable for pushchairs.
Good for: Exploring woods, building dens, playing eye-spy with the amazing views of Wharfedale. Dog-friendly.
The Chevin is crisscrossed with multiple paths so you can plan your own walk from car parks or bus stops.. There are also some themed trails that have accompanying leaflets or guides that you can follow as a family. The Heritage Trail is a 2km circular route starting from Lower Shawfield car park and going along Chippendale Ride. It is a fairly good surface suitable for mobility scooters and prams and only has two steeply sloping sections. You will find 8 fun timber sculptures created by local artist, Shane Green, that represent a different time period in The Chevin’s history. Children can have fun spotting them and even taking rubbings of them if you bring along some crayons.. For more information on the trails click here
3. Golden Acre Park/ Adel Dam/ Paul’s Pond
Distance: Anything from 1.5 miles to 4 miles
Type of terrain: Mixed. The majority of the parkland walks have paths suitable for pushchairs and mobility scooters, however, there is the opportunity to extend your walk by taking some of the smaller footpaths crisscrossing the park.
Good for: Feeding the ducks, exploring the woodland, spotting animals and birds. Dog-friendly.
Once a privately run amusement park, complete with a miniature mono-rail, boating lake and dance hall, Golden Acre Park is now a popular park , featuring formal gardens and a large lake. The circular walk around the lake itself is great for families, being completely flat and fully accessible by pushchair. It includes the opportunity to feed the ducks and explore the woodland. For a route map click here.
In addition, Golden Acre is also connected to two additional areas which are often quieter and less well know. Adel Dam Nature Reserve lies adjacent to the park and is now fully accessible by pushchair (although the path is still rough in places). There are hides along the route, which may reward you with sitings of woodpeckers and birds of prey but a lot of patience will be needed. Find more information here.
Finally Breary Marsh, also adjacent to the Park contains another small loop that will take walkers through woodland and up to ‘Paul’s Pond’. Footpaths have recently been widened and resurfaced here, so it is now possible to get a pushchair around the route. You can find more information here.
4. Fewston & Swinsty Reservoirs
Distance: Up to 8 miles.
Type of terrain: Easy walking around 2 reservoirs, 1 route is wheelchair friendly
Good For: Plenty of birdlife, fish and woodland.
This route around Swinsty Reservoir nestles in the stunning Washburn Valley and provides breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding landscape. The walk is 3 miles long and a podcast is available to accompany the route.
Where Swinsty (Distance: 5.45km) is relatively flat throughout, the path around Fewston (Distance: 6.9km) winds and bends over hills, lifting and dipping, both with well-maintained paths.
For further information and the route plans click here
Courtesy of gallowshill.org
6. Gallows Hill Nature Reserve
Distance: Various, can continue walking through Wharfemeadow’s Park along the riverside.
Type of terrain: Easy walking, pram & wheelchair friendly.
Good For: Bird-life, Insects and amphibians.
Otley’s popular Gallows Hill Nature Area is a peaceful and increasingly diverse place, situated along a stretch of the River Wharfe in Otley. It is a habitat for a great many species of wildlife, most notably the Common Toads which can be found in the pond in large numbers. With on site car park and a pushchair and wheelchair friendly path around it, including a riverside walk. Local group the Friends of Gallow’s Hill help maintain the site that was once sewerage works until it was taken over by the council and turned into the wildly beautiful park it is today. The team have planted many trees in the park, including a community orchard with cherry, pear and apple trees. While strolling around, be sure to be as quiet as can be, you may come across a frog or a toad, or perhaps see a kingfisher flash over the pond.
Courtesy of T&A
7. Middleton Woods, Ilkley
Distance: Varies. A short route can be taken.
Type of terrain: Footpaths will be muddy and narrow. Stiles on all paths.
Good for: Trees: The wood contains alder, beech, birch, oak, rowan, sycamore, thorn, and larch of all ages including veteran oaks. Flowers, especially Bluebells in April & May.
This walk climbs through the woods and then up onto the hill beyond with excellent views back across the town to the moor before returning via an unexpected ghyll and brushing a seldom-visited village before returning along the valley. More details can be found here.
Route map here.
1. Meanwood Valley Trail
Distance: Anything from a 1-mile circuit to 7 miles
Type of terrain: Varies. Choose from pushchair friendly short route to footpaths that will be muddy and narrow. All fairly flat.
Good for: Exploring woods and playing poo sticks. Dog-friendly.
Meanwood Valley Trail is a 7-mile long trail that connects Woodhouse Moor to Golden Acre Park. But you can pick it up at any point, and do as much or as little as you want. It’s split into 3 parts (roughly 2-3 miles each), with the Meanwood Park section being the most pushchair friendly. It also has a play area. For more information have a look at the trail leaflet here
2. The Lines Way
Credit: The Wildlife Trusts
Distance: 4 miles
Type of terrain: Flat, pushchair & bike friendly
Good for: Watching wildlife, peddling on new bikes. Dog-friendly.
The Lines Way, developed along a disused railway line stretches for four miles and provides access to several wildlife sites. Leeds, Castleford and Pontefract Junction Railway, which the Lines Way is part of, was opened in 1878 and the Bowers Junction to Garforth section closed in 1969.. Happily, today it still provides a valuable route, albeit for walkers, cyclists and horse riders travelling under their own steam.. The Lines has been developed into a recreational route, which links the settlements of Garforth and Allerton Bywater.. For more information click here
3. Rodley to Apperley Bridge on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal
Distance: 5.5 miles
Type of terrain: Flat tow path with a couple of steep Locks. Reasonably pushchair friendly, although bumpy in places.
Good for: Watching wildlife along the canal. Spotting barges and learning how the Locks work
This stretch of the canal is always enjoyable as it’s easy terrain and the path passes through some lovely tree-lined countryside and by a couple of Locks. It is great for bikes too, although not safe for young children unsupervised as there are no barriers between the path and canal. Park up by Rodley Bridge and walk as much or as little of the canal as you like.
4. Kirkstall Abbey Park
Distance: 1 mile
Type of terrain: Flat, pushchair friendly in many parts
Good for: Exploring ruins, playing Knights & Dragons, finding out about history
The park at Kirkstall Abbey is approximately 24 hectares in area and contains some exciting elements to explore, including the Abbey ruins and the riverside. It is part of the West Leeds Country Park and most footpaths are suitable for the majority of manual and electric wheelchairs. There are two routes around the Abbey grounds. The blue route is the long walk and takes about 45 minutes. The yellow route is a pleasant walk around the Abbey and should take about 15 minutes. There is also a play area on the opposite side of the road, adjacent to the Abbey House Museum. Download the route map here
5. Roundhay Park
Distance: From 0.5 miles to 3 miles, depending on route.
Type of terrain: Mixed depending on what route you take. The lake loop is rough in places but all accessible with a pushchair.
Good for: Feeding the ducks, exploring the woodland, football on the park and the adventure play area. Dog-friendly.
Roundhay Park covers over 700 acres of parkland and has no less than 5 official walking routes, with something for everyone. You can do the Secret Gorge Walk to find the fairy-tale castle ruin or head around the Lake View loop and the dam. With plenty of space to ride bikes and play with new toys, it’s the perfect (but popular) place for a winter walk. For a map of all routes click here.