A circular walk is the perfect walk when coping with little legs, there is no going back on yourself or having to traipse back to the car! These are Mumblers favourite circular walks in and around Wharfedale & Craven.
Gallows Hill Nature Reserve, Otley
Car Park: On-site Circular Walk Distance: 1km. approx 40 minutes Amenities: No toilets
Gallows Hill 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. Look out for the pond where you may see a flash of blue as a kingfisher flies over the water.
The Friends of Gallows Hill help maintain the area, keeping the pushchair friendly riverside path from overgrowth and planting numerous trees over the years, including cherry, ash, hawthorn and hazel. The flat path guides you around the central lake, passing the community orchard, the pond and the river before heading back to the car park or into Wharfe Meadows Park. We spent approx 45 minutes with numerous stops for wildlife spotting.
Skipton Castle Woods
Car Park: We parked in Coach Street Car Park and crossed the bridge to the towpath Circular Walk Distance: Approx 3km. There are 3 routes around Skipton Castle Woods. 1 or 2 hours each. Amenities: No toilets
The best way to experience Skipton Castle Woods is to visit by walking along the spectacular towpath from Mill Bridge in the heart of Skipton. On arrival in the wood you will find a site map full of interesting features, suggested walking routes and more activities to try. We chose the red and yellow path which looped us around the woods, past the willow sculpture, stream and back past the castle. It was then a quick walk out of the woods through the church and back onto the towpath to the car park. Not all paths are suitable for a pram so a carrier is advised.
Car Park: On-site Circular Walk Distance: Just over 1km. approx 40 minutes Amenities: No toilets
With flat paths all the way around the Tarn, ideal for scooters, prams and wheelchairs -though there are no bikes allowed. Ducks and Swans galore plus plenty of spots to try to see a fish or 2 and if you are lucky there may be a friendly fisherman who will show you his catch.
Car Park: We parked at Otley Chevin Car Park (LS21 3DD) Circular Walk Distance: 2km. Approx 1 hour Amenities: No toilets
The beautiful views and peaceful forest make the perfect circular walk. We opted to follow the Heritage Time Trail (carvings) for our walk which does include some steeper terrain. Leave the car park and follow the path straight ahead. This has been a favourite of ours for years and we first attempted it with little legs back in 2018 when she was almost 4 and it took us 70 minutes from start to finish. Not all paths are suitable for a pram so a carrier is advised. There are plenty of paths off the main route so you are unlikely to bump into many people during your walk.
The path leads you up and round the Chevin and back to the car park starting point. If you need refreshments you can cross over to the Chilli Barn pop-up TAKEAWAY tearooms are (open 10-4pm) to grab a slice of homemade cake then take it home to relax with a cup of tea!
Pauls Pond, Bramhope/Cookridge
Car Park: Off-site or Golden Acre Park main car park Circular Walk Distance: 1km or Varied. approx 1/2 hour or more if you tag on Golden Acre Park and / or Adel Dam Nature Reserve (see below) Amenities: Toilets and take away cafe situated in Golden Acre Park
A lovely walk which you can begin in either Bramhope, Cookridge or from Golden Acre. If starting at Golden Acre you take the wooden bridge before the underpass tunnel and follow the path through the woods to Pauls Pond. The new Fairy doors begin almost immediately on this route and continue all the way around the pond. You can find out more about the Fairy Doors here. The main paths will be fine for a solid pram but there are plenty of side paths which you can explore and streams aplenty to paddle in so take wellies!
If starting this walk from Bramhope take the style on the Sycamores and follow the path until you reach the woods. Hang right for Pauls Pond. There is NO PARKING on the Sycamores.
If starting from Cookridge walk down Pinfold Lane and head right towards the woods. There is NO PARKING on Pinfold Lane.
Adel Dam Nature Reserve
Car Parking: Use either of the Golden Acre Park car parks, one of which is on the A660 and the other on the Adel to Arthington road. (Free)
Amenities: Not at Dam itself but Golden Acre not far away with toilets and cafe (just serving takeaway during lockdown)
Circular Walk Distance: Approx 1.5km. Part of route suitable for pushchairs but carriers would be recommended. You can download the self-guided walking trail PDF here but we managed without!
Opposite Golden Acre Park, Adel Dam has been open to the public since it became a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve. The circular fern-lined path, winds in an impressive loop through the wet and dry woodlands, where you’ll have the chance to see badgers, roe deer, foxes and kingfishers to name a few.
The route is great for little legs, the paths are level and easy going up until the first hide (Marsh Hide), this section is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The remainder of the circuit is a more natural uneven surface, including steps, bridges and narrow points. Some areas do get boggy so suitable footwear required and you are required to stick to the paths.
It can be accessed through Golden Ace Park. Instead of walking across the new wooden bridge at the back of the lake verve down to the left and enter the nature reserve through the gate.
Kirkstall Nature Reserve
This review is courtesy of fellow Mumbler Charlotte
Car Parking: There is a small car park just before the entrance (free) as well as roadside parking on Redcote Lane
Circular Walk Distance: Approx 1-2km.
Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve is on Redcote Lane, just off Kirkstall Road (near Asda). You’ll find the entrance on the right just before the railway bridges. Much of the site rests on a plateau of fly ash from the former Kirkstall power station which was demolished in the late 1970’s and then used as landfill. The site was capped and seeded with native wildflower species in the 1990s and now forms a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Walking through the reserve, you wouldn’t think you were sandwiched between Kirkstall Road and the railway line. It’s a lovely circular walk that takes you around the reserve, with a few extras along the way, including the highlight of our walk – the pebble beach!!!
Most of the paths are pram friendly, although access to the pebble beach is via some steep hill climbs. We managed it with our Mountain Buggy Duet, but would advise you perhaps leave you pram up-top or take a carrier if you want to skim stones. We spent a long time on the beach, skimming stones and watching a family of ducks slide down the weir and swim against the current. We really could have been anywhere!
And as we explored the rest of the reserve, we found a make-shift den in the woods, as well as a sensory garden. There isn’t any mention of them, but there are also some numbered makers along the way with little animals attached. We spotted a fish, a caterpillar and a snail!
The reserve is always open, dogs on a lead are welcome, and it’s free!
Redcote Lane, Leeds, LS4 2AL
Hunger Hills Woods, Horsforth
Car Park: Off-site Circular Walk Time: 45 minutes
A lovely walk which you can begin in from either Lee Lane West or West End Lane. There are various paths within the woods which you can take, we took the circular route from Lee Lane West and teamed the walk with a session strawberry picking! The route was muddy even though we went on a dry day so take your wellies! The path is not suitable for prams and is steep in places.
Roundhay Park Adventure Trails
Car Parking: Trails can be accessed from
Amenities: Toilets, cafe and playground at Lakeside Car Park
Circular Walk Distance: Various distances (see below) Suitable for pushchairs
Friends of Roundhay Park (FORP) FREE adventure trails in Roundhay Park have been designed by local children! The trials are free to use by all park visitors, with clue sheets being accessible in the Lakeside Cafe, Tropical World and the Mansion art gallery. You can also download the trail sheets here forp.org/little-friends-trails/
There are two trails, the first is an imagination trail called The Magical Fountains of Roundhay and is aimed at under 6s. Designed for pre-schoolers this trail route is fully accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs. The route is split into 3 sections (ranging from 1km -1.5km in length) which can all be done together or split over several visits – children will need your help to read and understand what to do. Imaginations at the ready.
The second is an adventure trial where older children (6+) have to solve The Secret of Roundhay Castle by undertaking various tasks. Designed for children of ages 6 and older, this trail is longer and more challenging. The route is split into 3 sections (ranging from 1.5km – 2.5km in length) which can be done together or split over several visits.
Car Parking: There is a free car park (can get busy) off Weetwood Lane, LS16 5PA
My eldest describes a walk around The Hollies as like walking around an outside Tropical World! There is woodland, parkland, streams, ornamental gardens, dens and much more to explore. There is a wide main path that you enter The Hollies on and from there are numerous paths you can explore. We normally make our way down to the beck and then cross over there and make our way back up the other side to the car park if we are just doing a short walk.