Knaresborough, Nidd Gorge and Old Bilton
Author: DogWalksYorkshire, Published: 27 Aug 2016 Rating:
North Yorkshire, Knaresborough
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty:
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A 6.5 mile circular walk from Knaresborough, close to Harrogate in North Yorkshire. If your dog deserves an energetic romp – mostly off-lead, with some climbs and the added bonus of the opportunity of a swim in the quieter parts of the River Nidd, why not consider this walk? The Nidd Gorge is stunning and a magnet for walkers, while the pretty market town of Knaresborough has many dog-friendly places to pop in to for refreshments when you have finished.

The route is mostly on grassy paths, tarmac lanes and cycle tracks but also includes some steep descents and climbs by the river, which may be very boggy and muddy after wet weather. You will need to negotiate several flights of steps and several stiles (all of which have gaps alongside that most dogs should fit through). There are public toilets at the car park in Knaresborough. Allow 3 hours.

The walk starts from the Conyngham Hall pay and display car park in Knaresborough. From the A59 Harrogate to York road, turn into the Conyngham Hall pay and display car park by the bridge over the River Nidd (opposite the Worlds End pub). Approximate post code HG5 9AX. By train – Knaresborough rail station is just 5 minutes’ walk away, along Water Bag Bank and Waterside. By bus – Harrogate and District buses operated by Transdev serve Knaresborough.

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Walk Sections

Start to Bilton Hall Drive

Start point: 54.0097 lat, -1.4759 long
End point: 54.01 lat, -1.4932 long

Turn right out of the car park and cross the bridge over the River Nidd. Take an immediate right opposite Mother Shipton’s Cave and follow the sign for the Ringway Footpath and Conyngham Hall Trail. Pass through the gate ahead into the park, with the river and car park to the right. Your pooch may be let off the lead here.

Stay ahead on the cycle track, ignoring the sign for Macintosh Park, and continue over a small bridge crossing a beck. Then follow the way-marked Ringway Footpath uphill. Keep ahead to a metal kissing gate next to a cattle grid and continue on the tarmac path, keeping the tree line to the right and an open field to the left. Pass through another metal kissing gate with a cattle grid to an enclosed path bordered by trees to the right and a wire and post fence to the left. Cross a quiet road – the entrance to Bilton Hall.

Bilton Hall Drive to Riverside

Start point: 54.01 lat, -1.4932 long
End point: 54.0179 lat, -1.4964 long

Continue ahead on the tarmac Ringway Footpath/Beryl Burton Cycle Way, passing a house to the left as the track bears right then left. About 100 metres later you will reach a wooden footpath sign (although don't worry if the sign is missing) at a path junction, with a gate to your right. Turn right following the signs for Ringway Footpath and Knaresborough Round. Head along the track towards a waymarked gate with a stile on the edge of Nidd Gorge Woods. Even larger breeds of dogs will be able to slip through the stile with no problems!

Continue towards a metal gate, but just before it, follow the waymarker to the right, keeping a fence to the left as the undulating gravel/stone path winds its way towards the river. At a fork, take the right hand path and head down through the trees – towards the River Nidd below. Follow the steps down to the riverside – where there will be plenty of opportunities for your pooch to have a paddle or a swim – conditions permitting.

Riverside to Emerge from Trees

Start point: 54.0179 lat, -1.4964 long
End point: 54.0215 lat, -1.5186 long

Continue along the path, with the river to the right. Near a footbridge, keep ahead using the duck-boards and following the Nidd Gorge footpath sign. This section passes over numerous duck-boards to make the path passable even when the river is high.

The path turns away from the river then back again. Cross a footbridge made from two planks of wood, then continue on the path – there are more duck-boards to aid passage. Cross a stile next to the river, again most dogs will be able to slip under. There are good possibilities for paddling and swimming here. Cross another stile (with a dog gap), towards more duck-boards. Keep ahead on the path, close to the river and ignore the bridleway heading off uphill to the left.

Soon afterwards, just before a weir, and near to where some buildings (Scotton Mill) come into view on the other side of the river, follow a flight of wooden steps uphill to the left. At Milner’s fork, continue left towards Old Bilton – following the footpath sign for Gardeners Arms. Continue uphill, along the enclosed path – again duck-boards have been provided to help navigate the terrain. After emerging from the trees, the Golf Balls of RAF Menwith Hill can be seen in the distance to the right.

Emerge from Trees to End

Start point: 54.0215 lat, -1.5186 long
End point: 54.0099 lat, -1.4759 long

Follow the path along the edge of a field, keeping the hedge line to the left. The path becomes enclosed as it heads downhill, passing farm buildings to the left. Pass through a way-marked gate to a public bridleway sign pointing to the left, along the track leading from Woodside Farm.

At the end of the track, turn left on to a quiet road, which passes in front of the Gardeners Arms pub – with its pleasant outdoor beer garden, where dogs on leads are welcome. The road passes through the village of Old Bilton. There is a pavement to walk on, and there are very few cars here. Continue ahead, passing a caravan park entrance to the left and the Bilton Pet Hotel to the right. The ‘no-through-road’ becomes a cycle track – the Beryl Burton Way.

Keep ahead, passing the track taken earlier on in the walk towards the Nidd Gorge. At the entrance to Bilton Hall, cross the road and retrace your steps back to Knaresborough and the bridge across the river to the car park.

You may want to spend some time exploring Knaresborough. The Knaresborough Bed Race has been run in the town every summer since 1966. Teams of six runners and one passenger, decorate special tube frame beds for a parade through Knaresborough, before competing in a bed-push race. Most teams are local, however competitors have been attracted from Europe and the USA.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author DogWalksYorkshire and may not be reproduced without permission.

7 responses to "Knaresborough, Nidd Gorge and Old Bilton"

Great for off lead walking with the dog.

By SChappy25 on 04 Feb 2017

Great walk, both kids and dogs loved it. Really friendly cafe back in carpark, where dogs were welcomed, even though muddy. Would highly recommend this walk for anyone with dogs.

By carmen on 17 Feb 2017

Really really muddy in parts but still enjoyed, early March 2017.

By ycfheath on 06 Mar 2017

This was our first walk with this app and we loved it. We were slightly lost at one point but the map view was great so we could easily see where to go. Beware the duck boards though. The gaps are quite wide and our dog back legs fell through a few times. Very dog friendly otherwise, thank you.

By lasercharge on 11 Jun 2017

Had the dog off the lead a bit of the time.

By fionaclough on 21 Jul 2017

Great walk for dogs - had mine off lead for at least 80% of the walk. Great instructions and a lovely walk by the river.

By aidanm97 on 21 Jan 2018

A lovely walk by the river. Be careful with phase 2 though. The directions say, “ At a wooden footpath sign, turn right following the signs for Ringway Footpath and Knaresborough Round.” The sign has been knocked and is covered in shrubbery. We missed the turning and ended up completing the walk in reverse. When walking down the cycleway, you reach a white house at a chicane. The turning is 100 yards after this house on the right. Look out for a large metal gate.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Many thanks for letting us know about the fallen signpost - we have added a note to the walk directions. Remember to use the App's live GPS map to guide you if ever the signposts on the ground are missing.

By Michael on 09 Aug 2018

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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2 images to "Knaresborough, Nidd Gorge and Old Bilton"

Image by: SChappy25
Uploaded: 04 Feb 2017

Image by: cruncher
Uploaded: 13 Nov 2017
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