12 Of The Best And Most Scenic Forest Walks In Yorkshire

12 Of The Best And Most Scenic Forest Walks In Yorkshire

Being from Yorkshire, it is sometimes easy to forget the natural beauty that is on our doorstep. Drive 5 minutes from your home, and you can be in the most spectacular scenery that the country has to offer. We have some of the best rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and forests to visit. It could take folk years to get around all these wondrous places.

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We’re here to make your job easier, and we have created a tick list of forest walks for you to visit. Get off your sofa, get the lead on the dog, and set off to one of the best forest walks in Yorkshire.

1. Dalby Forest National Park, North Yorkshire

Set on the southern slopes of the North York Moors National Park Dalby forest is the perfect place to enjoy a forest walk. With over 14 walking trails, no visit to Dalby will ever be the same. The south of Dalby is a glacial valley, while the north is an upland plateau. As the landscape is so varied you can enjoy a gentle stroll, a run, or jump on your bike- either way, you will enjoy being amidst the breathtaking landscape.

2. Stainburn Forest, North Yorkshire

It is infamous for mountain biking, and as well as this Stainburn Forest is a beautiful walk. To get the most out of the forest, follow the west side, it has a purpose-built one-lane trail to follow, The forest offers a variety of trees and wildflowers to take in and almost 400 acres of trees to explore. We spent many years walking here, and it is one of our favourite spots in Yorkshire.

3. Strid Wood, North Yorkshire

Strid Wood is one of the most visited in the Yorkshire Dales. It hugs the bank of the River Wharfe and has a great and varied path to take. There are some high up walks to take as well as a chance to paddle in the water. There are a variety of wildlife and plant life to take in such as the impressive roe deer, cute otters and greater spotted woodpecker. In April and May, you can catch the sight of beautiful bluebell flowers and wild garlic.

4. Middleton Woods Local Nature Reserve, West Yorkshire

Middleton Woods is the largest remaining ancient woodland site in West Yorkshire and has lots of historical significance as well as some beautiful natural wildlife to see. In spring the place is overflowing with a cascade of wildflowers, which are mostly bluebells. If you’re interested in this kind of thing there are a variety of tree species to be found including oak, birch, hazel, alder, sycamore, beech and sweet chestnut. See if you can identify them while you meander through the woodland.

5. Otley Chevin Forest Park, West Yorkshire

Overlooking the market town of Otley, Chevin Forest Park was designated a local nature reserve in 1989. It reaches heights of 280m above sea level, which give you some unreal views of the Wharfe Valley. The nature reserve is comprised of over 400 acres of woodland and crags to explore, which means no visit will be the same. Explore its natural beauty and get lost in this thick woodland area in West Yorkshire.

6. Millington Woods, East Yorkshire

The richest botanical woodland in East Yorkshire, Millington Woods is a great place to explore. In spring the woodland floor is carpeted in bluebells and the air is filled with the earthy scent of wild garlic. The forest comes alive in the summer with giant bellflowers that can grow up to six feet tall. That’s not to say it’s not worth a visit in the autumn as the leaves begin to fall, the floor changes colour into rich autumnal browns, yellows and golden leaf colours.

7. Freeholders Wood, North Yorkshire

Home of the famous Aysgarth Falls, Freeholders hugs the River Ure. It’s been around for hundreds of years and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There is a range of British trees such as holly, ash, wych, elm, oak and rowan, but the dominant is hazel. In spring time bluebells carpet the woodland, and you can find other wildflowers like purple orchids and woodland daises. Without a doubt, we believe you should see which trees and flowers you can spot as you meander along its path, with 120 species to find, you may need more than one visit.

8. Hackfall Wood, North Yorkshire

The beautiful wood may appear natural, but, it was actually designed and moulded by man. It won the highly coveted 2011 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage. Obviously, you should visit the award-winning woodland, and head on down to this awe-inspiring forest. Also, it’s a Grade I listed garden and has had a hard-life with logging operations in the 1930s almost ruining its landscape, but with funding in 1980 and a major restoration in 2007 this beautiful woodland is still a strong contender for a great walk.

Please be aware: between September and December the car park is being worked on.

9. Ecclesall Woods

Set in South Sheffield, Ecclesall Wood is nearly 350 acres of woodland, previously used for timber and charcoal. Sheffield City Council currently maintain the place for visitors. Wile visiting you will come across chestnut trees, as well as mature pine and larch trees. There has also been a spread of beech which are great for avid photographers. Also, the woodland has major historical interest that includes features from pre-history through to the Middle Ages to look out for.

10. Kings Wood and Roche Abbey

Roche Abbey and the Kings Wood are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and offer nearly 40 acres of beautiful woodland perfect for an autumnal stroll. You’ll find large open paths to follow, which offer fantastic views of the woodland space that is a real joy and an alternative to the usual walks in the Peak District associated with South Yorkshire.

Roche Abbey, a 12th century as a monastry are beautiful ruins that display fine architecture and a bit of a history lesson. Nearby there is an amazing waterfall, perfect for budding photographers.

11. Hardcastle Craggs

This wooded Pennine valley in West Yorkshire offers a huge 400-acres of woodland between Hebden Bridge and the high moors surrounding it. The National Trust owned woodland has 15 miles worth of footpaths, so there are plenty of chances to discover tumbling streams, ragged rocks and more in this stunning forest walk in Yorkshire.

12. Kilburn Forest

Home to the iconic Kilburn White Horse, these ancient woods are one of the most iconic forest walks in Yorkshire. The North York Moors forest is a popular spot for a walk. You can get parked up at the visitor centre before heading out on a walk around the forest that offers one of England’s Finest Views.

You can enjoy panoramic views and amazing ancient woodland as you take in your surroundings in this North York Moor treat.

Read More: 7 Of The Best And Most Scenic River Walks In Yorkshire

[Feature Image Credit: Unsplash]

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