A buggy walk from Bolton Abbey Cavendish Pavilion to Barden Bridge, 4.7 miles (circular)

Distance: 4.7 miles/ 7.5km; shorter & longer walks possible- check out their website!

Route: https://boltonabbey.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Cavendish_to_Barden_Bridge.pdf

Facilities: Parking a little pricey but worth it and plenty there. There’s a cafe at Cavendish Pavilion as well as a couple of spots in the village.

Access: The suggested route says it is suitable for pushchairs- and it’s surfaced paths so I’d tentatively agree. But be prepared for some steep climbs and narrow edges, there’s a couple of large stones to navigate too so probably would recommend two people!

My husband’s back has been playing up, and with my 6 month pregnant belly we thought a buggy walk would be the best way to enjoy today’s gorgeous weather! We settled on Bolton Abbey- a firm favourite of ours and decided to do this relatively easy route. It is steep in parts so don’t go prepared for a gentle saunter, but definitely do-able.

We decided to start at the Pavilion and walk up to Barden bridge up the east side of the river. You could also choose to walk to the bridge and back along the relatively flat west path, but then you’d miss out on some of the superb views you get!

We found a lovely spot for lunch by the river near the Aqueduct; another benefit of a buggy walk means we could pack up extra kit underneath so could spread out the picnic rug and take a ball to play with. When it’s not being used as a car park (it wasn’t today) the field at Barden Bridge would be another good choice.

We were delighted to find a Yorkshire Dales ice cream van parked up at the bridge, and happily wolfed them down as we turned back down the river.

Any desperate calls to the toilet or for food can be covered by a detour to the Strid facilities as you pass- luckily no need today for us.

The final stretch back to the Pavilion is on a flat and wide path, and is the part of the woods where there are often activities for the children to see, so it’s worth checking the events before you head there.

The Pavilion is the perfect place to end, it gets quite busy during peak times so prepare to queue for food!

Today was the sort of day where any type of walk would have been a total joy, but Bolton Abbey looked absolutely amazing in the winter sunshine, we had a fantastic day out!

Oakwell Hall Country Park, WF17, 2 miles

Facilities: cafe, toilets, play area, parking

Accessibility: the 2 mile nature trail itself is not suitable for buggies BUT there are lots of other paths to try out, just might be muddy in places. Use this map for access guidance.

Location:Nutter Lane,Batley,WF17 9LG

http://www.friendsofoakwellhall.org.uk/images/pdfs/oakwell_nature_trail.pdf

I love everything about sunny days ☀️☀️ it’s so lovely to see so many families out and about enjoying the fresh air! We weren’t planning on a walk today but this fabulous weather drove us here, a great decision even if I do say myself! We walked the superb two mile nature trail, before heading back to the centre to get ice cream and a trip to the play area. The sole ice cream van must’ve thought all his Christmases had come at once, massive queues in February!!

Oakwell Hall is a lovely place to spend a few hours- there’s plenty to do and see and well signposted trails. The play area has a good combination of activities for toddlers in a gated area, as well as larger obstacles for older children dotted about in the nearby woodland.

I think it’s the type of place that you can find something new every time you visit. Just be warned- unless there’s an easier way to get there that we haven’t found (highly likely) it’s a bit hidden away so make sure you have a navigator next to you on your first visit.

Grizedale, nr Hawkshead, Lake District

I’ve always loved the Lakes. When I was growing up, my parents had a static in Keswick, and for three consecutive summers post-uni, I worked in children’s summer camps, including one at Hawkshead. In my previous career as a teacher, I relished the outdoor trips there and since I first met my husband we go as often as we can. It’s safe to say the Lakes hold a special place in my heart, and the walking that I have enjoyed there has not been beaten anywhere in the world.

But for the last three years the choice of walks has been difficult, and much more planning is needed to make sure the walks are child friendly. To be honest I think we didn’t realise how lucky we were on our first family trip away when Jess was just 6 weeks old. In a carrier she was no heavier than a normal rucksack, and we didn’t appreciate that the walking we did in Langdale would be the last of its kind for a good few years!

But today we visited Grizedale. Walking map below;

https://www.forestryengland.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Walking%20interior%20%28A3%29%20VIS.pdf

We’ve been here a few times in our previous life (before Jess) for the superb bike riding, but today was the first time we went just for the trails. We were soooo impressed with the whole set up for children. If you’re looking for somewhere that’s easy to get your bambinos excited about the outdoors there can’t be many places that match this place.

One thing that I will say is that other than the short blue route, and the shortest of the yellow routes, it isn’t particularly buggy friendly. Not that that’s a particular problem if you’re not planning on walking far.

We naively set off on the 2.5mile yellow route with Jess on her balance bike. Naively because it soon became apparent that the path was exactly what it claimed, a walking path and totally unsuitable for toddler attempts at biking. She ended up on hubby’s shoulders for much of the first half, but was eager to get down wherever possible. It was a lovely short circular walk with plenty to see, and finished at the visitor centre, complete with one of the best play areas we’ve tried.

The best thing is the access to all parts of the play area- if you did have a buggy you’d be able to watch your children from the top of the slides- something pretty rare!

There’s also a GoApe centre there (banked that knowledge for future years) and a comfortable cafe.

Once Jess had worn herself out we were able to get her up in the carrier and try out one of the other trails, but with my pregnant belly & achy back stopping me going too far, we stuck to a shorter route (Bogle Crag). Still, another great route through this amazing forest.

If you can make it further than us there are some fantastic viewpoints, so make sure to have a look on what’s on offer!

We finished off our trip with a snack stop up at the picnic area at Moor Top, with the winter sun shining through the trees I couldn’t ask for a more picturesque place to end our visit ❤️❤️❤️