Circular walk at Brimham Rocks

Walking trail

This short walk will show you the highlights of Brimham from the amazing rock formations to the fantastic heather moorland.

Strangely shaped rocks at Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire


Map route for circular walk at Brimham Rocks


Brimham Rocks car park, grid ref: SE206650


Take the sloping all-weather path behind the notice board out of the car park. Follow the all-weather path through the rocks passing Surprise View, which boasts impressive views up Nidderdale. Further on, leave the track and see if you can find Cannon Rocks - so called because of the 22yd (20m) hollow cannon (tube) through the solid rock.


You will pass the famous oak tree which has been growing out of a rock for more than 250 years. We know this because it is shown in a sketch of Brimham by Moles Griffiths in 1804, and mentioned in poetry by Ebenezer Elliot published in 1833. The all-weather path then meets the track to Brimham House directly in front of you, with the kiosk and toilet block to your right. At this point it is worth a slight detour up the steps near Brimham House to the view point. There you will have superb views towards York and Harrogate. You will also find the visitor centre and shop for further information about the geology and social history of the site.


Turn left and follow the tarmac road up a slight incline, take the left fork by a large rock through the staff car park. Directly in front of you is the Dancing Bear (Begging Dog).


Follow the track past the Dancing Bear and after about 110yd (100m) you will glimpse the Druids Writing Desk, now often called ET, and further along the Druids Idol (Idol Rock), probably the most famous and spectacular rock at Brimham. Keep going past the Idol Rock and on your left-hand side are views over Dallowgill Moor (beware of steep drops).


After about 110yd (100m) the track turns sharply to the right giving views of Mushroom Rock in the distance, and an expanse of moorland (which consists mainly of Common Heather Calluna vulgaris, sometime called ling). Keeping the moorland on your left-hand side and the rocks on your right follow the path past the rocks on the right, towards Middle Crag, the large body of rocks in the distance.


At the habitat pile turn right towards a lone rock called The Gorilla. After working here for some years our Warden still can't see the gorilla in this rock; can you? Just past this rock the path turns back on itself to the left following a small valley, keeping Middle Crags on your left hand side. Follow this path for approx 440yd (400m), until it enters the main car park.


Brimham Rocks car park, grid ref: SE206650

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Circular walk at Brimham Rocks


Not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. Rough footpaths. Sturdy footwear advisable.

Dogs should be kept under close control at all times and on a lead during nesting and lambing season.


Circular walk at Brimham Rocks

Contact us

Circular walk at Brimham Rocks

How to get here

Brimham Rocks, Summerbridge, Harrogate, HG3 4DW
By road

Off B6165, 11 miles (18km) from Harrogate; off B6265, 4 miles (6.4km) from Pateley Bridge.

Parking free for National Trust members, non-members £5 up to 4 hours, £6 all day.

By bus

Nidderdale Rambler runs Sundays from Harrogate to brimham Rocks, April to October, plus selected winter Sundays. Other services from Harrogate to Pateley Bridge alight Summerbridge, 2 miles (3.2km).

Circular walk at Brimham Rocks

Facilities and access

  • Parking National Trust members free, non-members 4 hours £6, daily £9, minibus £12, coach £18
  • Shop, visitor centre and refreshment kiosk (check opening times)
  • Toilets
  • Cycle racks
  • Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads where cattle and sheep are grazing.