50+ fantastic walks near York – Updated for 2018

Put your best foot forward. Photograph © Luke Porter on Unsplash

Walk off that Sunday roast… or maybe earn curry calories before your Saturday night take-away with our updated walks guide.

We’ve added 25 new walks to our original post, bringing the total to 55. Choose from the links below to jump to the type of walk you want, or scroll down to browse them all.

If you’ve got a favourite we’ve missed let us know here.

Otherwise, get your boots on and get out!

In and near the city

York skyline and Minster from the city walls

Clifton Walk added 2018

Start from Bootham Bar

1.5 miles

Less than 1 hour

Easy going

Full walk details

A circular walk from Bootham Bar that goes northwards away from the city, and returns by the riverside footpath to Lendal Bridge.

It takes you to some of the Rowntree’s homes in Clifton which in their days lay right on the leafy outskirts of the city.


Out of town Rowntree walk added 2018

Start from Walmgate bar

5 miles

2-3 hours

Easy going

Full walk details

This walk takes you to some significant establishments and resting places connected with the Rowntree family.

From the groundbreaking Retreat to the Quaker burial ground and back via Rowntree Park, it offers a new perspective on our historic city.


Askham Richard, Bilbrough and Askham Bryan added 2018

Start from Askham Richard

6.5 miles

3 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

This walk takes in a number of ancient settlements to the West of York, with Askham Richard, Bilbrough and Askham Bryan all recorded in the Doomsday book of 1086.

Bilbrough is 150 feet above sea level and as a result, the village commands extensive views over the Vale of York.


Elvington added 2018

Start from Beck Close in Elvington

4 miles

1.5 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

On the west bank of the River Derwent, Elvington lies on the historic crossing, first mentioned in 1336.

The walk takes in some lovely unusual landscape including Elvington Lock and Sutton Bridge.


Skelton added 2018

Start from Skelton Primary School

5 miles

2 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

This walk starts in a conservation area and takes in the Church of St Giles, which is Grade I listed and dates from c1240.

Tasing through the edge of the city, it returns North along the bank of the River Ouse, affording long views across Poppleton Ings.


Wheldrake added 2018

Start from Wheldrake village

6 miles

3 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

To the south of York, Wheldrake is thought to refer to the historical presence of wells or springs that occur on the site of village.

The walk tracks to the east of the village, with rich woodlands and the possibility of sighting deer or a fox.


Solar system walk added 2018

Sim Balk Lane, near York College

Up to 6.5 miles (one way)

3 hours

Easy going

Full walk details

This linear walk is really intended as a cycle ride, but can be a great walk with lots to talk about with children.

Although the full route is 13 miles long (6.5 miles each way), you can turn back after any planet, making it as scalable as you like.

Models of our sun and associated planets are spaced out as they would be if our solar system was reduced in size to fit this stretch of what was the old East Coast main-line railway.

Bishopthorpe, just before Jupiter, has perfect pubs for lunch with child-friendly gardens.


York city walls

Start at any point on the walls

2.6 miles

1 hour

Easy

Full walk details

An oldie but a goodie. The length of the walls is less than three miles, and for that you get two millennia of history.


Hidden York

Start in Marygate car park

3.2 miles

1.5 hours

Easy

Full walk details

Explore some of the lesser travelled streets of York, including Ogleforth, Bartle Garth and Precentor’s Court, and discover the hidden history.


Heslington

Start at Low Lane, Heslington Main Street

2.5 miles

1 hour

Easy

Full walk details

A simple walk on the edge of York which takes you out of an ancient village and back again, via Common Lane.


Fulford

Start at Fulford Main Street

1.5 miles miles

40 mins

Easy

Full walk details

The quickest of these walks, this is a jaunt around the Fulford Ings. Features boathouses and a variety of wildlife – but sometimes floods after heavy rain.


Stockton on the Forest

Start at Stockton on the Forest Main Street

3.75 miles

1.5 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

With names like Bean Land Lane and Nova Scotia Farm this walk has a charm of its own. And you can visit Brockfield Hall in the summer months.


Bishopthorpe

Start at Bishopthorpe Library on Main Street

5.75 miles

2 hours

Easy

Full walk details

Here you get to explore Bishopthorpe itself (with plenty of places to eat and drink), skirt the river and walk along the edge of York Racecourse.


Holtby

Holy Trinity Church, Holtby

2 miles

1 hour

Easy

Full walk details

Just a stretch of the legs, this route takes you from the Vale of York village across to Dunnington Hall and back.


Dunnington

Start at Intake Lane, Dunnington

3.75 miles

1.5 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

This walk takes you into Hagg Wood, and who knows what adventures await in there…


Country walks

Fountains Abbey, near Ripon

Fountains Abbey added 2018

Start from Fountain’s Abbey visitor centre

2.5 miles

1 hour

Easy going

Full walk details

Learn a little more about the ancient trees in the Deer Park and gain insights into 18th-century landscaping.

Follow the bridleways, footpaths and roadways through this delightful estate on this dog-friendly walk.


Pickering Castle and Newbridge added 2018

Start from Pickering library

2.5 miles

1 hour

Easy to moderate

Full walk details

Heading though quiet lanes and pastures to the railway crossing at Newbridge before climbing into woodland and returning via Pickering Castle.

Dog-friendly, the paths through woodland and pastures can get muddy.

Selby waterways trail added 2018

Start from Selby Canal lock basin

2.8 miles

1.5 hours

Easy going

Full walk details

A 2.8 mile flat route with very little incline. Discover Selby lock basin, David Mayne’s sculpture, moored canal boats and Brayton bridge.

Stamford Bridge and the River Derwent added 2018

Start from Viking Road car park

10 miles (can be shortened)

4 hours

Easy to moderate going

Full walk details

Explore the history of the village including the site of the Battle of Stamford Bridge and a long peaceful stretch alongside the idyllic River Derwent.

Passing underneath the old viaduct, the walk has a one mile stretch along a quiet country lane, passing the old station before returning to Stamford Bridge.


Castle at Sheriff Hutton added 2018

Start from Sheriff Hutton

8.5 miles (less with shortcut)

4.5 hours

Moderate to challenging

Full walk details

The ruins of Sheriff Hutton’s Neville Castle dominate this walk throughout, sitting as it is on a slight rise and still containing some impressive high walls.

Rising up at the edge of the Vale of York, impressive views across the plain abound.


Forge Valley Woods added 2018

Start from Old Man’s Mouth car park and picnic area

2 miles (one-way)

1 hour

Easy and accessible going

Full walk details

Take to the boards on this easy-going 2-mile linear route along a a fairly level, wooden boardwalk. It meanders through the strikingly beautiful woods of Forge Valley.

It’s a joy to walk at any time of year. In spring you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with great swathes of pungent wild garlic and delightful wood anemone; in autumn, the woodland colours are magnificent.


Gormire Lake, near Thirsk. Photographs: Richard McDougall

Staindale Lake added 2018

Start from High Staindale car park

0.5 miles

0.5 hours

Easy and accessible going

Full walk details

It may only be a half-mile stroll, but the views along this walk are superb.

Entrance to Dalby Forest is by toll road (admission charged), but it’s well worth it. Stop off at Low Dalby for refreshements, a paddle in the stream and to hear the zip-wire screams of GoApe high fliers.


Knaresborough Nidd Gorge added 2018

Start from Conyngham Hall car park

4.5, 6 or 7 miles

2-3 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

This walk through the woods meanders alongside the picturesque banks for the River Nidd.

Although the first mile is on road with pavements, once you descend to the woods and the river, you could be a hundred miles away from anyone.

On your return, walk up and under the viaduct to enjoy the riverside café, which serves amazing ice creams in summer!


Swinsty Reservoir, Harrogate added 2018

Start from Swinsty Moor car park

3 miles

1.5 hours

Easy going

Full walk details

This route around Swinsty Reservoir nestles in the stunning Washburn Valley and provides breathtaking views across the water and the surrounding landscape, especially from the embankment near the River Washburn or various rest points dotted along the walk.

This walk is number 2 on the full walk details link.


Haworth Moor added 2018

Start from Penistone Hill Country Park car park

5 miles

3-4 hours

Challenging going

Full walk details

Straddling the Pennines, this invigorating walk sweeps through the wild moorland and heather which was an inspiration for the Bronte sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne.

The paths and tracks on this route provide views up to Top Withens ruins, connected locally to Emily’s famous novel Wuthering Heights and the surrounding moors. Visitors are asked to keep all dogs on a lead in the interest of farming and conservation.

This walk is number 3 on the full walk details link.


Lord Stones Walk added 2018

Start from Lord Stones Country Park

3 miles

2 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

It might only be a shade under 3 miles, but this is a real adventure walk for all the family, with some awe-inspiring views into the bargain.

There’s a striking panorama of Middlesbrough, the Cleveland plain, Roseberry Topping and Cook’s Monument.


Walking in Farndale. Photograph: YorkMix

Farndale

Start at Low Mill car park

3.5 miles

2 hours

Easy

Full walk details

This is the famous ‘daffodil dale’. Between mid-March and mid-April the whole route is lit up by the yellow flowers, leading you to the Daffy Cafe, but it’s a lovely walk at any time of year.

A great one for families too.

Around Beningbrough Park

Start at Newton-on-Ouse

4 miles

2 hours

Easy

Full walk details

Only a 20 minute drive from York city centre this walk is suitable for all ages.

Takes in the open parkland around Beningbrough Hall, York’s country house now owned by the National Trust.


Thornton le Dale and Ellerburn

Start at Thornton le Dale car park

2 miles

1 hour

Moderate

Full walk details

One of the prettiest villages in the North York Moors National Park, Thornton le Dale is a beautiful spot to start and finish this walk.

It takes you to the hamlet of Ellerburn and its ancient church, and features stretches along the wooded riverside.


White Horse and Kilburn Woods

Start at the marker for the White Horse Bank walk

2 miles

Up to an hour

Easy

Full walk

Ideal for those with younger children, a chance for them to see the white horse will easily get them excited about this spectacular walk.


Bishop Wilton

Start at the eastern end of the village

7 miles

3.5 hours

Medium/hard

Full walk details

This more challenging walk offers a chance to climb hills, explore deep dales all the time while benefiting from great countryside views.

Car parking available, and dog-friendly too.


Hutton le Hole and Lastingham

Start at Hutton le Hole car park

4 miles

2.5 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

With its undulating grass banks where sheep roam free, Hutton le Hole is like something created for the James Herriot World of Adventures.

Also on this charming walk check out Ryedale Folk Museum and Lastingham’s St Mary’s Church.


Terrington

Start at Terrington Village Hall

3.7 miles

1.5 hours

Medium

Full walk details

Hidden valleys and unexpected
viewpoints await. The seclusion of Mowthorpe Dale and the peaceful limestone villages of Terrington and Ganthorpe provide contrast during your walk.


Ripley Castle

Start at Ripley car park

5 miles

2 hours

Easy to moderate

Full walk details

Rolling countryside dotted with isolated farms, with some glimpses of the castle estate on the way. Food, drink and history at the castle itself.


Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks

Start at Brimham rocks car park

6.3 miles

3-4 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

Managed by the National Trust, Brimham Rocks is a fantastic, oversized natural playground for kids aged from 3-63.

Look out for flashes of blue as kingfisher fly past, and brown trout in the waters as you walk along the river path. Featuring panoramic views across Nidderdale.


Roseberry Topping

Start at the car park near Newton under Roseberry

2 miles

1 hour

Moderate

Full walk details

It’s a fair climb up the charmingly odd Roseberry Topping hill, but you are rewarded with a great spot for a picnic and some wonderful views.


Castle Howard

Welburn with views of Castle Howard

Start at the eastern end of Welburn village

5.5 miles

3 hours

Easy

Full walk details

Lots to see on this walk near the famous Castle Howard, including the Temple of the Four Winds, dating from 1738, and Ray Wood, a woodland garden with plants from all over the world.


Thixendale

Start in Thixendale village

4 miles

1.5 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

A nice walk with a few steep inclines along the Wolds Way. Who wouldn’t be enchanted by views across Honey Dale?


Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey

Start at the Cleveland way car park

7 miles

4 hours

Moderate-difficult

Full walk details

This circular route provides a walk with diversity – town views, a flora-filled wood, quiet villages and ruins of Rievaulx Abbey.


Levisham Moor and the Hole of Horcum

Start at Saltergate car park

5 miles

3 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

A classic route over the North York Moors, and lots of history too. Lockton, three miles away, offers the closest refreshments.


Londesborough Village walk

Start at the Towthorpe picnic area

3 miles

1.5 miles

Easy

Full walk details

Explore the old estate village and enjoy the tranquility of a former deer park.

This walk takes in part of the Wolds Way.

Sawley

Start at Sawley Village Hall

3 or 5.5 miles

1.75-2.5 hours

Easy

Full walk details

This circular walk takes you to and from the picturesque village of Sawley, between Pateley Bridge and Ripon. Along the way you’ll pass through woodland and along country lanes with sweeping rural views.


The Yorkes of Bewerley

The car park at the Pateley Bridge showground

5 miles

3.5 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

This walk takes you around what were once the extensive gardens and grounds surrounding Bewerley Hall which, until it was demolished in the 1920s, was the home of the influential Yorke family.

The designed landscape, developed in the 18th to 20th centuries, included parkland, pleasure gardens, woodlands, ponds, walled kitchen gardens – and a folly.


Pub walks

Rosedale iron ore railway track, running round the dale head

Rosedale added 2018

Start at Rosedale Abbey

7.5 miles

6 hours

Moderate to challenging going

Full walk details

Rosedale was part of industrial Yorkshire, with its ironstone mines, kilns and even a moorland railway.

This circuit takes you from pretty Rosedale Abbey village through rolling valley farmland and into Rosedale itself, bringing you back along the old railway track past the impressive ruins of the old roasting kilns.


Mallyan Spout and Beck Hole added 2018

Start at Goathland

3 miles

1.5 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

Long before Heartbeat and TV fame, the tumbling waterfall of Mallyan Spout helped put Goathland on the map as a tourist village in the nineteenth century.

The walk descends into the wooded valley bottom, where Beck Hole Inn provides suitable refreshments, before returning along part of the track bed of the original Whitby-to-Pickering railway line.


Coxwold and Husthwaite added 2018

Start from Coxwold church

5.5 miles

3 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

Starting in the chocolate-box pretty village of Coxwold, the route can be a little indistinct in parts, but it’s worth persevering with.

The reward is wonderful views from Beacon Banks north to the White Horse and the western moors and south over the plains of York. The Fauconberg Arms also offers liquid reward on completion.


Osmotherley and Mount Grace added 2018

Start from Osmotherley market cross

3.5 miles

3 hours

Easy to moderate going

Full walk details

This circular walk touches every aspect of the village’s rich religious past.

The village itself has both medieval church and 18th-century Methodist chapel, while following field and woodland paths to the northwest leads to the impressive ruins of Mount Grace Priory – the best-preserved Carthusian remains in the country.


Fearby, near Masham

Start at the Black Swan, Fearby

3 miles (short loop) 8 miles (long loop)

1.25 hours/4 hours

Easy/Moderate

Full walk details

A short walk around Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including The Black Swan free house which runs regular beer festivals.


Malham Landscape

Malham National Park Centre car park

4.5 miles

3 hours

Moderate to difficult

Full walk details

It starts with the climb up the 400 steps to the top of Malham Cove, then across the limestone pavement towards Gordale Bridge.

From there it is definitely worth the short linear detour to the impressive Gordale Scar gorge and waterfall. The return route through Janet’s Foss is a complete contrast through heavy deciduous woodland. And then your choice of pubs, the Buck Inn and the Lister Arms.


Coastal walks

Whitby lighthouse

Robin Hood’s Bay to Whitby added 2018

Start at Robin Hood’s Bay

6 miles

3 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

Enjoy great views over the Bay and Whitby, passing the old lighthouse and fog horn, along this coastal path.

The up and downs are not too bad (except Maw Wyke Hole) and the path generally in good condition; the ruins of Whitby Abbey becoming increasingly dominant on the Whitby approach.

Catch the X93/93 bus back after refreshments in one of Whitby’s many lovely pubs.


Bempton to Buckton added 2018

Start at R.S.P.B. visitor centre at Bempton Cliffs

4 miles

2 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

A great walk any time, but perfect for June and July, when the Puffins, with their multi-coloured beaks, nest low down in deep crevices.

Don’t miss St Michael’s Church in Bempton.  Built in the 12th Century, it features an attractive stained glass window depicting St Francis, Bempton Cliffs and seabirds.


Staithes and Port Mulgrave added 2018

Start from Staithes car park at the top of the hill. NB. don’t drive down into the old village

4 miles

2.5 hours

Moderate going

Full walk details

Starting at the atmospheric old fishing village of Staithes, this walk takes in harbour-side cottages, cobbled streets and winding alleys.

For the first half, it follows the Cleveland Way National Trail giving wonderful coastal views. The return is more rural and via the small hamlet of Dalehouse.


Filey

Start at West Avenue car park

5 miles

2 hours

Easy

Full walk details

Filey creates for a magnificent coastal walk away from the hustle and bustle of a city. The beach is so long that it could never be overcrowded with people.


Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay

Start at Ravenscar National Trust Coastal Centre

11 miles

6.5 hours

Moderate

Full walk details

Make a day’s walk of it. From the craggy heights of Ravenscar the route runs across Howdale Moor for some classic moorland scenery before dropping down to the old Scarborough-to-Whitby railway line and along to the famous smugglers’ haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay.

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