Harrogate & District Walks
Date: 11th May 2013
Distance: 6.7 miles
Ascent: 617 ft
Time: 2 hours 35 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE287564
A local walk utilising the newly opened Nidderdale Greenway to walk from Bilton to Ripley.
Route Summary: Jennyfield - Grange Farm - Knox - Nidd Viaduct - Nidderdale Greenway - Ripley - Hollybank Lane - Ripley
1. The hedgerowed track leading to Grange Farm
2. Oak Beck and Spruisty Bridge at Knox
3. The Nidderdale Greenway as it crosses the Nidd Viaduct
4. The wooded banks of the Nidd Gorge from the Nidd Viaduct
5. The Nidderdale Greenway
6. A glimpse of Harrogate from the Nidderdale Greenway
7. When in Ripley, have an ice cream
9. Woodland Anemone
10. Hollybank Lane
11. Bluebells in Hollybank Wood
12. More bluebells
13. A glimpse of Ripley Castle's lake
14. Ripley Castle
Walk Detail: After the disappointment of not seeing many bluebells on my previous walk I decided to do visit Ripley and see if I'd have any better luck with the bluebells of Hollybank Wood.
Normally I'd drive to Ripley and do a short 2-3 mile walk from the village. This time though I decided to set off on foot from the house and make use of the Nidderdale Greenway, a brand new bridlepath that was opened over Easter earlier this year. Largely funded by the cycling charity Sustrans the Nidderdale Greenway extends from Bilton Woods all the way to Ripley and makes use of the old Harrogate to Pateley Bridge railway line
To get to Bilton Woods I followed the route of the Harrogate Ringway from Jennyfield all the way to the Nidd Viaduct. Along the way I passed one of my favourite spots around Harrogate - Spruisty Bridge and the site of the old ford over Oak Beck at Knox. Now closed to traffic after numerous cars got stuck I remember as a child the excitement of being driven across the ford.
I also remember being able to walk on to Nidd Viaduct and enjoy the view down into the wooded Nidd Gorge. For years though, until the opening of the new bridlepath, access to the viaduct has been blocked off so I got quite a thrill just being able to stand on the viaduct again.
The Greenway itself proved to be a lovely little ramble on a tarmaced track and is already clearly popular with plenty of walkers, cyclists and even a couple of horse riders making use of it. I've read that Sustrans eventually hope to extend the route all the way to Pateley Bridge which, quite frankly, would be awesome.
Upon arrival in Ripley I treated myself to one of the 'World Famous' ice creams and set off past the castle to head into the woods via Hollybank Lane. The bluebells around Sadler Carr still hadn't quite come out but the display at the far end of the wood was as impressive as ever and certainly made up for the disappointment in Littledale.
At this time of year numerous other springtime flowers can also be found on Hollybank Lane and I managed to get some photos of some woodland anemone and cowslip. Eventually I dragged myself away from the local flora and walked back to Ripley where I caught the bus back into Harrogate. A supremely easy and lovely walk.