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Harrogate & District

Harrogate & District - Introduction

Harrogate District covers a 504 square mile area of North Yorkshire and includes the towns of Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon, Borougbridge, Masham and Pateley Bridge and includes the entire Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As the latter is really part of the Pennines it has a section of its own on this website. Therefore, for the purposes of this website, Harrogate & District covers the area of Harrogate District to the east of the Nidderdale AONB as well as a small area south of the River Wharfe allowing me to incorporate places such as Harewood and Wetherby.

Harrogate & District Gallery: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Bluebells in Hollybank Wood
The River Nidd
Almscliff Crag
Ripley Castle
Knaresborough Viaduct
The site of the old ford over Oak Beck at Knox
The Nidderdale Greenway
Stepping stones over the River Skell at Ripon
One of the Spofforth Pinnacles
Evening in Harewood Park

The area is characterised by rolling country covered in a tapestry of fields, woodland and parkland and containing numerous attractive villages. Whilst it can all seem far removed at times from the rugged beauty of the Pennines there is a close link with the Yorkshire Dales as those mighty Dales rivers the Swale, Ure, Wharfe and Nidd all continue their journey through Harrogate District. It is alongside the banks of these rivers that some of the finest walking in the area can be found.

The underlying rock is, for the most part, millstone grit whilst in the east of the region it is Magensian limestone. There are some fine millstone grit rock formations and outcrops in places like Birk Crag, Plompton Rocks, Spofforth Pinnacles and especially at Almscliff Crag, a favourite haunt of climbers and a major landmark in the Lower Wharfe valley.

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Apart from riverside rambling and exploring rock formations there is plenty elsewhere to interest walkers. Both Knaresborough and Spofforth have Norman castles and there are the large estates of Harewood House, Ripley Castle, Ribston Hall and Stockeld Park to name just a few. Special mention must also go to the railways in the area. Thanks to the Beeching cuts in the 1960's a lot of the train lines in the area were closed down. Some of these have now been turned into walkers paths including the Harland Way between Spofforth and Wetherby which was part of the old Harrogate - Church Fenton line. There are also some spectacular viaducts including the Crimple Viaduct and Arthington Viaduct.

This is very much my home patch in terms of walking and one that I have largely overlooked in my eagerness to head to the hills. However, I have many fond memories of family outings to places such as the Pinewoods, Birk Crag, Harewood House and spring time visits to Ripley to see the bluebells in Hollybank Wood. The path from Bilton to Knareborough along the Nidd is one I have walked countless times since I was a child and the view of Knaresborough Viaduct from Knaresborough Castle is one of my favourites. In 2012 I have made a conscious decision to try and explore more of this beautiful area.

Harrogate & District