Studfold’s Fairy Trail, Nidderdale

Our last visit here was pre-child Gorge Scrambling with friends, so following a fairy trail with our daughter wearing wings and a tutu was somewhat of a change of pace, but no less enjoyable. In fact, seeing Jess getting involved in all the activities was absolutely brilliant (just as well, since she’s been excited all week about seeing the fairies!) It’s a great trail, and if you’re looking for something to do in Nidderdale, an activity that I’d thoroughly recommend.

Website: http://studfoldtrails.co.uk/adventure_trail/fairy_trail/

Trail: Β£6.50 for adults and Β£5.50 for children. There were different difficulty levels of the trail activity booklet depending on ages, but the activities around the trail itself could be for various ages.

Time: We took just under 2.5 hours to go round (including snack stop). If it had been a little warmer and drier we could have spent longer. With older children it might also have taken a bit longer as they would have spent longer at some of the activities (although would be walking faster so who knows?!)

Facilities: Everything you need; toilets, cafe (who can also provide picnics), and free parking. You can camp here and do lots of other activities too!

Accessibility: Technically there were no stiles and steps could be avoided, so a robust buggy could have probably done it, but to be honest I wouldn’t recommend taking one.

As soon as we told Jess we were going to find the fairies today she’s been super excited to don her fairy wings (they’re encouraged!) and fairy skirt and start her fairy walk! At the start we ‘briefed’ her with the basics; she had to spot stone bunnies and find the next marker on the trail. She was terrible at finding the rabbits, but better at finding the pictured markers. As we went round there were loads of activities, most of which would have suited slightly older children better but she liked looking in them and enjoyed the ones she did do.

Some of the parts of the trail had special interest; firstly the ‘Go kart’ track (pedal tractors of different sizes). We loved seeing a biking fairy, and Jess loved that there was a pink helmet!

The den building area was also fab.

For an extra 50p you could also purchase a badge and wish set at the start. There was a fairy house here where you could write your wish on seed paper and plant it in the fairy garden. We did a wishing ‘spell’ but Jess wanted to keep the seeds to take home.

Of course we were here to see the fairies!! πŸ§šβ€β™€οΈπŸ§šβ€β™€οΈ Unfortunately they were all asleep as we walked round, but we saw lots of fairy homes and tried to wake them up. They’re clearly heavy sleepers – I think most of Nidderdale heard Jess hollering!!

There was also a treasure box in the Magical Woods where you can take an unwanted toy from home and swap it for something that you might want in there- a lovely idea!

Towards the end of trail is the play area and barn. There are fantastic views from here, as well as facilities to stop and lunch. There are eco toilets and drinks facilities with an honesty box. If you don’t want to carry your picnic round (or want to order one), you can have yours brought up here and delivered to the barn! In the barn itself are colouring pencils where you can colour in the paper circle from the 50p set (at the end you watch this get turned into the badge). The play area includes sandpit, diggers and tractors and a junior obstacle course.

It’s a pretty short walk overall- Jess had no problems walking all the way round. Mainly because you could usually see the next activity ahead (so incentives to keep going). It’s quite a drive up there from where we are (Leeds) so if you can I’d try to tie it in with something else up that way- maybe a trip to Brimham Rocks or Pately Bridge on the way home. Or next time I think we’ll stay at the campsite and do some of the other activities, make a weekend of it. Regardless of how you plan it- if you’ve got a young child with an interest in fairies it’s definitely worth a trip!

Xx

Thorp Perrow Arboretum, near Bedale

Easter Saturday was our first time to visit here- and what a visit it was! Absolutely gorgeous woodland to explore and there was loads to keep Jess entertained. The weather showed it at its best, with brilliant colours and sparkling water, we were so glad we tried it!

Website: https://www.thorpperrow.com

Facilities: cafe, toilets, gift shop which also sells drinks and ice cream, adventure playground

Access: paths are decent, there were lots of buggies and wheelchairs around.

Despite it being sunny and the Easter weekend, we found it lacking the hoards of people you sometimes find on holidays. There was a sense of tranquility as soon as you walked through the gates, which is saying something given we were there with a three year old.

On entering, you meet the tea room- looked nice although we didn’t eat there. There is a picturesque beck, which does have a designated area that you can paddle in and lots of picnic benches.

A short walk from the entrance is the adventure playground. It was a fabulous space- and we were the first ones there, winner! There’s a sandpit and zip line in addition to the usual equipment, so certainly enough to keep little ones happy!

We headed towards the Birds of Prey and Mammal centre, with some gorgeous spots along our way- including the incredibly pretty lake.

We timed it well to watch an Owl display- half an hour long which worked well for the children watching, and totally captured our interest. The birds on display around the centre were pretty spectacular in their cages, there was a fantastic range of birds.

We shared our bench during the display!

The mammal centre is small but it’s often quality not quantity, and this held true as we walked into the Wallaby area and were able to pet and feed them (food available to buy in the gift shop).

We spent some time exploring the woodland and snacked at one of the many benches dotted about enjoying the beauty.

So, if you find yourself in search of somewhere to visit on a sunny day, you could do a lot worse than Thorp Perrow. I hope that I’ve encouraged you to visit, let me know how you get on if you do!

Hackfall Wood, near Ripon

Over the Easter weekend we visited this stunning wood. Of course, it helped that the weather was fantastic, but aside from that, the surroundings were truly beautiful, and Jess found surprises and fun round every corner. I was sooo proud of her, she walked nearly 4km without asking to be carried or whining once!

Website & Location: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood-information/hackfall/

Accessibility: Not suitable for buggies- there are steep slopes and uneven paths

Facilities: None, but we parked and walked from the Crown Inn at Grewelthorpe which is child-friendly, including toys! It’s 1/2 mile from the wood itself.

Route & distance: Walking routes can be found here. We did our own version -which was 4.5km from the pub. Follow the lane at the side of the pub until there’s a sharp bend to the right. You’ll see a path to the left here- follow this to the southern most entrance to the wood. From here, starting with the stream on out right we headed in a North East direction to the Sandbed hut. From there we went to Fisher’s Hall, and then down to Kent’s seat to cross the stream on the stepping stones and returning to the exit on the other side.

Anyone who went to Hackfall over Easter may have spotted that our route is remarkably similar to the Easter trail- and we’d actually planned to do this. Unfortunately it was a cash only jobby- and since neither myself or hubby seem to ever use cash any more, that put an end to those plans! But it’s a credit to the diversity and interest of Hackfall that Jess still was entertained the whole way round. She has a bit of a love of collecting sticks, which helped. But there were lots of places for hiding (or attempting to hide) which was a sure way to win her over.

Jess attempting to β€˜hide’

Our lunch spot was on the sandbank, a proper sandy beach!! Fantastic πŸ™‚ the perfect spot for a picnic, but quite steep steps to get down there. There were a few dogs in the water as well as one brave gent who fully got in and swam head under! Brrrrrrr. Be careful if you decide to paddle, the stones are pretty wobbly!

The follies such as Fisher’s Hall were gorgeous and fun to explore.

Another point of excitement was the stepping stones next to Kent’s seat. This is a good place for paddling too!

So overall a gorgeous walk, that’s not even mentioning that the bluebells were out in force as well as some daffs clinging onto life!

We ended the walk happy and ready for a drink, so we were pretty pleased with our decision with starting point!

Since it was so near, we followed this walk with a visit to Swinton Bivouac and Druid’s Temple. If you have time I’d thoroughly recommend- even if you just go for the ice cream!!

Rachel xxx

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!

Stainforth to Catrigg Force, Nr Settle

Distance: 2 miles.

Facilities: Car Park in Stainforth (machine takes card) wih public toilets. Nice looking pub with beer garden in village.

Accessibility: Not suitable for buggies

Route: http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/391880/walk-stainforth-and-catrigg-force.pdf

This is such a fantastic short walk, we’ve chosen a brilliant morning to do it; there’s a light covering of snow making everything incredibly beautiful. The sun’s out so not too cold and Jess is in a great mood. Prefect combination!

The length of this walk means it would be fine for younger ones- just be aware of quite a steep start. Once this is over you can enjoy the rest of it safe in the knowledge that any hard work is done.

After the initial climb it was great to see a bit more snow, and keeping Jess in the carrier was near impossible after playing with snowballs!

After taking time to appreciate the views over the three peaks we ventured down the rather slippy path to look at Catrigg Force, it was gorgeous and we can’t wait to get back here in the summer for a different view!

It’s an easy walk back down a lane to the village. If you’re on a tight schedule you could do this in a little over an hour, we took about two what with the excitement of playing in the snow, but in warmer weather would have taken a more leisurely pace and built in a lunch stop.

We drove over to Settle for lunch in front of the fire at the Golden Lion afterwards. Would thoroughly recommend it!

All in all a great short walk, one we’ll definitely be doing again!