Pastures and panoramas walk at Brimham Rocks
This walk takes you through pastures in Nidderdale with beautiful panoramic views across the dale.
A countryside ramble through farmland and meadows
Look out for flashes of blue as kingfisher fly past, and brown trout in the river, as you walk along the river path, and don't forget to visit the exhibition and shop at the start of your walk.
Brimham Rocks car park, grid ref SE206650
SE 2085 6458 / 54.0766, -1.6827 From the car park, follow the main track towards the visitor centre. Facing the visitor centre, take the tarmac road to the left and take the path around and behind the visitor centre heading towards the rock formation known as the Dancing Bear. Keep following this path, and the rock formations you will see include the Druids' Writing Desk, and the Idol with its extraordinary balancing act. Be sure to stop and look to the left for panoramic views across Upper Nidderdale, shortly after passing the Idol. As the path reaches open moor land, (SE 2075 6531 / 54.0832 -1.6843) bear left following the path down into a gulley. Follow the gulley path down to a farm track and turn left.
Don't forget to visit the exhibition and shop at the start of your walk, and be sure to stop and look to the left for panoramic views across Upper Nidderdale, shortly after passing the Idol.
SE 2088 6551 / 54.0849 -1.6823 Follow the farm track, and above the tree line to the left there are panoramic views of Brimham Rocks. When you get to gate straight ahead (SE 2054 6537 / 54.0838,-1.6875) with a farm track bearing to the right, either - a) (Red line on the map) Go through the gate then follow through a second gate and turn immediately right across the paddock. Follow the yellow way markers over the stile and turn left on to a farm track. Or b) (Blue line on the map) Follow the farm track keeping the houses on your right. 100m or so past the houses use the stile on the left (SE 2041 6538 / 54.0838, -1.6901) and cross the pasture diagonally to the stile and wall ladder. Walk along the edge of the next pasture keeping the wall on your left. Cross into the next large pasture over a stile and follow the fence line, keeping the fence on your right. Whereas until now the rock beneath our feet has been sandstone, we’re now walking over limestone, and you’ll find evidence of it as greyish rock and stones here and there where it reaches the surface. Go over the next stile and follow the rutted path across two more pastures still with the fence on your right. At the bottom of the hill cross Fell Beck using the bridge.
As you cross Fell Beck stop on the bridge and look back upstream to see the disused mill race and cascade.
SE 1967 6540/ 54.0841 -1.7018 Follow the track slightly to the right and uphill, and in less than 100m turn left at the millstone and go over the cattle grid. Shortly after this, leave the track bearing right and follow the yellow way markers across the pasture. Climb uphill and through the gap in the wall, crossing the next pasture and keeping the wall on your left. Go through the gate and over the stile following the path to the left hand end of a small row of terraced houses. Once past the houses turn left along the bridleway towards Wilsill until you reach a cross roads of tracks.
SE 1913 6520/ 54.0823 -1.7090 At the crossroads follow the footpath sign for 'The Raikes' which takes you through the gate and past a bench. Follow the path with the wall on your left and the Raikes rising above you to the right. Bear right when the path joins the farm track. In 220yd (200m) stop for a break at the bench and enjoy panoramic views to Menwith Hill, Knabbs Edge Wind farm and Guiscliffe.
Take a break
Why not sit here for a rest and enjoy the views. As you continue your walk with the wall on your left, look out for the bee hives under the shade of silver birch. You will pass alongside Nidderdale Llamas.
SE 1825 6492/ 54.0798 -1.7225 Upon reaching the road turn left, after 220yd (200m) turn left along a narrow way marked footpath just to the left of a private driveway. Go over the stile and keep right through the next two pastures. Continue across the next field and climb the wall onto and over the stone steps, just before the next gate. Continue across the next two fields passing through first a metal and then a wooden gate. (SE 1864 6475 / 54.0783,-1.7165) Cross the gravel in front of a house and through a metal gate. Go over the next stile and cross the field with the wall on the left. Pass through the next gate and cross the field heading towards a green metal gate. Pass through the gate, turn right on to the track and continue downhill to the road and turn left.
SE 1868 6446/ 54.0757 -1.7160 A short way long the road and just past a field gate take the public footpath forking to the right signed 'Low Laithe'. After about 200m climb the steps over the wall on your right. Cross the field to the main road heading for the bus stops that can be seen. Cross the road, then cross the meadow to the River Nidd.
Walk over the foot bridge to see the view, where a couple of hundred metres up the rising meadow ahead is the now dismantled route of the North Eastern Railway Harrogate to Pateley Bridge line. The nearest station to where you’re standing was at Dacre a couple of miles to the south. The Nidd Valley Light Railway - owned by Bradford Corporation - continued up the dales from Pately Bridge to Lofthouse near How Stean Gorge. Walk back over the footbridge and turn right, continuing along the footpath with the river on your right. Look out for flashes of blue as kingfisher fly past, and brown trout in the river. Leave the river where a beck joins it, then cross the footbridge over the beck and take the path up to the main road.
Cross the road and follow the tarmac bridleway. In 110yd (100m) turn right towards Knox Hall. Follow the path along the side of the Hall, past a garage and along the edge of some woodland. When emerging from the wood turn left onto the Old Coach Road. Look out for alpacas and goats in the fields to the right. Continue uphill, turn left on to the road and then right to the footpath signed 'Brimham'.
SE1965 6437/ 54.0748 -1.701 Walk up the bridleway and after about 200m at the tiny cottage “Artists' Retreat” turn right, continuing to follow the footpath signed 'Brimham'. In about 500m turn left into the field and follow the wall to your right. Over the stile head straight across the next field to a stile in a wire fence. Once over that stile go forward and left heading for the rough stone steps over a small stream. Follow the path keeping the wall to your left and pass a large pond with bulrushes and dragonflies in summer. Go over the stile still keeping the wall to your left and head for the gate. Once through the gate, turn immediately left over another stile. Walk diagonally across the field passing a green barn to a gate with a faint white arrow. Cross the track then go through the gate and follow the right hand of the two way markers across the field to the far gate. Go through the gate and turn right up the track. Continue through the green gate and up the track. Note the stones on the track, quite a few of them contain limestone which for a short way we’re walking on again.
SE 2051 6483/ 54.0789 -1.688 After passing the farmhouse on your right, turn left on the unmarked path and continue through the silver birch trees back into Brimham Rocks. Continue onwards and upwards between the large rock outcrops and head to the left towards the visitor centre. Reward yourself at the refreshment kiosk (we recommend hot chocolate!) before returning down one of the many paths through the rocks to car park.
Brimham Rocks car park, grid ref SE206650
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