Skipton Castle WoodsCarmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor
Walking is always in fashion in Yorkshire and Skipton Castle Woods is an excellent place to indulge in this well loved pastime. Whether you find your own way or follow one of the pre designed routes, there are rivers, climbs, traces of the woods’ industrial past and exceptionally well positioned benches to explore. The easiest trail in the woods is the River Valley Route, this leads you on a gentle and family friendly stroll along the Eller Beck towards the great flood bridge. For the more adventurous, the Earl of Thanet Trail is an active walk across higher ground from the town to the castle, providing picturesque views of the trees below.
See kingfishers, herons and dippers fishing in the water, whilst sparrowhawks, buzzards and red kites soar in the skies
The Woods also hold a year round series of events. Their Easter Eggventures, Bat Walks and Lantern Walks are a special way to experience the landscape and encourage your little ones to respect and appreciate nature.
As a spot of natural beauty and abundance, the variety of birds you’ll find in the woods is enough to make any keen birdwatcher drop their binoculars. During the summer expert volunteers and staff host guided walks of the woodland where you’ll learn about its inhabitants and how they survive. It isn’t uncommon to see kingfishers, herons and dippers fishing in the water, whilst sparrowhawks, buzzards and red kites soar in the skies above. You can also take your own educational walk, with the woods’ free Tree Identification app. The app uses bark, leaves or fruits to identify the species and variety of tree. You can save your favourite trees and build up a map of interesting flora as you walk.
Whilst walking you may feel bold enough to take on the Sougha Gill challenge. This steep set of stairs next to Sougha Gill, has been the training grounds for Olympic athletes and is sure to get the blood pumping. Once you’ve made the strenuous climb you’ll be rewarded at the top with a rest and an idyllic view from one of the wood’s memorial benches. Definitely worth it.