5 of the best – Festive walks


If you love a good walk with trails to explore in a beautiful setting, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is the right place for you. So wrap up warm, get your boots on and head on over!

This Christmas, the wonderful people at the 12th century monastic ruins have supplied you with a treat of historic festive strolls. The World Heritage Site has experienced a flurry of sparkling snowflakes float down and land in and around the abbey, each flake is different so keep your eyes peeled to spot them all.

Walk off that Christmas dinner with the Boxing Day Pilgrimage, walking in the footsteps of thirteen monks on a cold day in 1132 who walked from Ripon to a completely deserted valley by the River Skell, where they started their own community from nothing, and so Fountains Abbey was born.



On Monday 28th of December, Shibden Mill Inn, the heart of life in West Yorkshire’s Shibden Valley, hosts the Annual Twixmas Stroll to raise funds for the Shibden Valley Society, a great Christmas tradition.

The day begins at 10:30am, you will receive a complimentary bacon sandwich accompanied by a hot tea or coffee, and the guided walk will start half an hour after and will involve a two hour walk around the beautiful setting that is Shibden and its surrounding area. After witnessing the valley in all its seasonal splendour, it’s time to treat yourself to a premier gastro lunch at the Inn afterwards, but be sure to book in advance!

The stroll is not too strenuous and suits all ages, wear sturdy footwear and waterproof clothing. It costs just £4 per person and all the proceeds go to a good cause.



All year round, Malham Cove offers a stunning backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales. It has quickly become one of Yorkshires most iconic scenes as Harry Potter camped on the limestone pavement in the Deathly Hallows. It recently, for the first time in living memory, saw England’s highest waterfall brought back to life as the treacherous Storm Desmond hit the National Park.

The picturesque, curving, amphitheatre shaped cliff formation of limestone rock has been attracting visitors and helping shred Christmas pounds for centuries. Begin your walk in the village of Malham, one of the most spectacular and most popular villages in the Yorkshire Dales and take the gentle half hour stroll up from the village, to the cove. Continue on for something more challenging past Malham Cove and walk along the Pennine Way to the Tarn, a glacial lake and National Nature Reserve.

If the notorious Yorkshire weather holds up, come with a camera and snap away at the glorious landscapes and scenery on offer.



Sledmere House is a beautiful 18th century country house, owned and lived in by generations of the Sykes family. The estate throws itself into the festive period, making it perfect for a lovely winter walk.

As you parade around the estate you will come across the graceful Sledmere House and other architectural gems in the surrounding buildings, charming gardens and if you’re lucky you may see some deer in the woods.

The grounds are open Tuesday to Sunday throughout the festive season until 5pm, leaving you with enough time to pop over to The Triton Inn after for a fine ale or a good wine.



There’s an unimaginable number of great walks in the North York Moors National Park, so to narrow it down here’s a choice of three to consider for a festive jaunt depending on how much Christmas pudding you may have devoured.

In one is the Roseberry Topping and Cook’s Monument trail, this 7 mile walk covers much of Captain Cook country, whom spent hours walking this area in his early years, said to give him the taste for adventure. Over to Roseberry Topping, an unusual landmark of the Moors and on to Newton Wood, the 400 year old woodland.

Slightly shorter, yet not in terms of grand landscapes and big views, is the 5 mile stroll across Levisham Moor and the Hole of Horcum. It includes one of the most spectacular features in the National Park, the 400 foot deep, Hole of Horcum, moving on to Levisham Moor and the ruined Skelton Tower.

Finally, for those who have only divulged in a cracker or two and a slither of Wensleydale is the 3 mile White Horse Walk, a classic from Sutton Bank to the famous turf-cut hillside landmark, the White Horse of Kilburn.



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