Woodlands and Waterfalls - following Fell Beck to the River Nidd

Walking trail

Follow Fell Beck downstream through woodland to the River Nidd, returning to Brimham Rocks past pastures and meadows.

Woodlands and Waterfalls Walk from Brimham Rocks


Woodlands and Waterfalls Walk Map


Brimham Rocks car park - SE 2085 6458


Brimham Rocks to North Pasture (1.2 km / 0.75 miles) 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 with the Dancing Bear on your right. After 100m or so, forward and to your left you’ll see the rock formation known as the Druids' Writing Desk, and then to your right, a few metres off the path, the Idol with its extraordinary balancing act. Shortly after passing the Idol be sure to stop and look to the left for the beautiful panoramic views across Upper Nidderdale. 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 bedside North Pasture and turn left.

Panoramic views across Nidderdale


Section 2 (SE 2088 6551 / 54.0850 -1.6823) North Pasture to Fell Beck (1.3 km / 0.8 miles) Follow the farm track, and when you get to gate straight ahead pass through it then 50 m or so further on at a second gate take the footpath to the right across a pasture. Over the stile, turn left and continue for about 60 m to another stile on the left – just before the track bends around to the right. Over this stile 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. Go over the next stile and follow the rutted path across two more pastures still with the fence on your right. Continue downhill until you reach the stile at Fell Beck.

Woodlands and Waterfalls Brimham Rocks - Section 2


Section 3 (SE 1968 6538 / 54.0839, -1.7005) Fell Beck to Smelthouses (1.5 km /0.94miles) Cross the stile - don’t cross the bridge - and turn left. After a short winding climb, at a fork take the right hand path signposted Smelthouses. Continue to a stile through a wall and continue straight on for about 300 paces to where a path forks to the right downhill - you’ll recognise it by the 1 metre square stone right in the middle of it! Follow the path downhill to reach Fell Beck and bear left downstream. About 100 paces past a brick building on the right, cross the beck on the footbridge and turn left. Ahead there’s one place where the path is quite narrow and rutted alongside a steep drop down to the beck, take special care here. When you reach the road turn left and follow the road for about 90 m. You’ll pass over Fell Beck on the road bridge, and shortly after on the right you’ll see a bridleway beside a letterbox signposted to Low Laithe.

Woodlands and Waterfalls Brimham Rocks - Section 3


Section 4 (SE 1923 6425 / 54.0738, -1.7074) Smelthouses to River Nidd (0.7 km / 0.4 miles) Follow the bridleway keeping straight on where the track forks left to Knox Hall. (Remember the track though, we’ll be heading towards Knox Hall on the way back.) At the road go straight across to the sign posted public footpath – ignoring any signs saying ‘Private’ – and then down the grassy slope. Follow the path over the beck on a wooden footbridge and continue over a stile to the bank of the river Nidd. Stand and stare for a bit, imagine those tiny grains of sandstone from Brimham Rocks being carried by Fell Beck into the Nidd, being caught by the river’s current which will carry some of them all the way to the Humber estuary.

Woodlands and Waterfalls Brimham Rocks - Section 4


Section 5 (SE 1885 6389 / 54.0705, -1.7134) River Nidd to Smelthouses (1.1 km / 0.7 miles) Retrace your steps back the across the road and follow the tarmac road called Low Laithe. In about 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. On emerging from the wood turn left onto Old Coach Road. Look out for alpacas and goats in the fields to the right. Continue uphill, and on reaching a road turn left and about 50 m on the right you’ll see a public bridleway signed 'Brimham'.


Section 6 (SE 1947 6421 / 54.0734, -1.7040) Smelthouses to Brimham Rocks (1.9 km / 1.2 miles) Walk up the bridleway and after about 250m at the tiny cottage “Artists' Retreat” turn right to follow the bridleway signed 'Brimham'. Continue on this path until you reach a gate with a road 50 m ahead. Head up the rising ground immediately on your left and follow the path by the wall until you reach a farm track, turn right and after 60 m you’ll reach the entrance to Brimham Rocks and the car park. This might be a good time to head up to the refreshments kiosk for a well earner cuppa and a bit to eat.

Woodlands and Waterfalls Brimham Rocks - Section 6


Brimham Rocks car park - SE 2085 6458

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Woodlands and Waterfalls - following Fell Beck to the River Nidd


Can be muddy in places. NOTE: Take special care where the path is narrow and rutted beside the beck.

Woodlands and Waterfalls - following Fell Beck to the River Nidd

How to get here

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

10 miles (16km) south-west of Ripon, off B6265. 11 miles (17.8km) north-west of Harrogate, off B6165.

Woodlands and Waterfalls - following Fell Beck to the River Nidd

Facilities and access

  • Shop, visitor centre and refreshment kiosk (check opening times)
  • Toilets