The spectacular 53 mile route is a long distance footpath in the easternmost valley of the Yorkshire Dales, encircling the River Nidd. It’s traditionally walked in four stages, each no longer than 15 miles.
The Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Yorkshire Dales LEADER programme, helps people get involved in the historic landscapes, cultural heritage and wildlife habitats in the region.
The walk takes in iconic Yorkshire attractions, including Ripley Castle and its 18th century gardens, How Stean Gorge with its dramatic ravine, and the gritstone sculptures of Brimham Rocks.
Iain Mann, Scheme Manager at the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership, said: “It’s a simple, online guide that can be printed in easy to use sections. As well as highlighting famous landmarks along the route, we’ve included some hidden gems. The nature of the route makes it perfect for those seeking a long walking weekend so there’s an accommodation guide too.”
The Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership has been working at a number of flagship heritage sites along the Nidderdale Way for walkers to enjoy.
Conservation work has been completed at a once hugely popular tourist spot, Fishpond Wood. In 1885, 3,000 people came by special trains to visit this ancient wood landscaped by John Yorke in the 18th century. Fishpond Wood features the restoration of a rare Icehouse in the woodlands, although visitors are warned the Icehouse is also home to the rare European cave spider.
Iain said: “The Nidderdale Way is a favourite for walkers of all abilities as paths are well maintained and sign posted. Running through the heart of Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are some remarkable heritage sites along the route.”
Other conservation projects the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership has completed on route are the Prosperous Lead Mine, a nationally important lead mining site in the Ashfoldside valley, and the 19th century Wath Mill.
Each stage of the walk offers contrasting landscapes. Stage One from Pateley Bridge to Middlesmoor, includes Scar House Dam, the largest dam in Britain when it was finished in 1936. Stage Two, from Middlesmoor to Bewerley, takes in one of the most photographed churches in Britain in Middlesmoor to Nidderdale’s natural wonder, How Stean Gorge.
Stage Three, Bewerley to Ripley, includes the gritstone crag, Guisecliff, which rivals Brimham Rocks for views, to reminders of centuries past with the old Packhorse Bridge near Birstwith. Stage Four, Ripley to Pateley Bridge, features the rock formations of Brimham Rocks and the ancestral seat of the Ingilby family for 28 generations, Ripley Castle.
Iain added: “You don’t need to be a seasoned rambler, the walking terrain is moderate and there are country pubs and cafés in the Dales to refuel at, and even a Michelin starred restaurant on route.”
The Nidderdale Way recently featured in a BBC Radio 4 series with broadcaster Clare Balding, who walked the four stages over four days, an experience she described as ‘heaven’.
To download the free walking guide, visit uppernidderdale.org.uk