Pateley Bridge is one of the prettiest villages in Nidderdale AONB. And it goes without saying that pretty villages tend to come hand in hand with pretty walks. There are many Pateley Bridge walks to enjoy – whether you want short wanders around the historic centre or longer hikes to abandoned mills and quarry-side sculptures. Walks around Pateley Bridge are the best way to embrace the mixed terrain of historical attractions and scenic moorland of Nidderdale.
These 15 routes are the best walks Pateley Bridge has to offer. Let’s get started.
Short Pateley Bridge Walks
1. Pateley Bridge Panorama Walk
Miles: 3 miles
Time: 1 hour
Highlights: A Pateley Bridge introduction and a pretty riverside path.
The Pateley Bridge Panorama Walk is one of the loveliest short Pateley Bridge walks as it combines the River Nidd with a country village experience. It is ideal for families with young children. Or perfect if you want a short stroll to get a taste of the area after a pub lunch. The Pateley Bridge Panorama Walk is pretty and not strenuous in the slightest. It is also one of the best walks in Pateley Bridge itself, starting in the town centre rather than detouring to nearby hiking trails.
You start the walk at Pateley Bridge’s riverside car park and walk up the high street, turning off onto a small path when you spot the Panorama Walk signpost. In this section, you’ll spot St Mary’s churchyard and a viewpoint with protective iron railings. As you near Glasshouses (the neighbouring village), you take a left on a signposted footpath through a large field. After a slight detour through the residential outskirts of Glasshouses, you join a riverside footpath and follow the River Nidd back to Pateley Bridge.
2. Curlew Trail
Miles: 3 miles
Time: 1.5 hours
Highlights: Yorkshire moorland and River Nidd.
The Curlew Trail gets its name from the moorland curlews – who you might spot en route if you keep your eyes peeled. This moderate-difficulty hike starts by the Pateley Bridge museum, following the River Nidd before diverting through a woodland area and reaching open moorland. The moor will be covered in beautiful purple heather if you visit in summer.
3. Pateley Bridge Inner Trail
Miles: 1 mile
Time: 20 minutes
Highlights: Historic village centre.
The Pateley Bridge Inner Trail is the shortest and sweetest of our shortest Pateley Bridge walks. You can easily complete the route in 20 minutes if you don’t get distracted along the way. The trail whisks you through the historic centre of Pateley Bridge, so you’ll pass plenty of independent shops and country pubs (some of the best dog-friendly pubs in the Yorkshire Dales). Allow a bit longer to check out shops, pubs, and attractions along the way.
You can check out Visit Harrogate’s guide here.
4. Bewerley Tree Trail
Miles: 1.25 miles
Time: 1 hour
Highlights: Bluebells in spring and scenic woodland in autumn.
Bewerley Tree Trail might not be in Pateley Bridge, but it is a hop, skip, and jump away. It is a three-minute drive away or a 20-minute walk through the idyllic Bewerley village centre – we’ll leave the choice up to you. The route loops through Fishpond Wood, which consists of a pretty woodland, a large pond, and benches scattered along the way.
In autumn, when it is too cold and unreliable weather-wise to attempt a long Pateley Bridge walk, Bewerley Tree Trail is a fantastic alternative. The trees burst into stunning yellow and orange colours. And from late March to early May, you’ll find the woodland bursting with purple bluebells. This is a really tranquil, easy-going hike.
Medium Pateley Bridge Walks
5. Victorian Gardens of Pateley Bridge Trail
Miles: 4.75 miles
Times: 3 hours
Highlights: Historical residences in Pateley Bridge.
The Victorian Gardens of Pateley Bridge Trail is a more in-depth walk around Pateley Bridge. The route loops you on a walking tour of some of the village’s most impressive houses and gardens. Sticking to residential areas, this hike is a beautiful way to get a taste of the culture and community behind one of Yorkshire’s most famous places.
6. Ladies Riggs and Ashfoldside Trail
Miles: 5.5 miles
Time: 3 hours
Highlights: An abandoned mill and pretty beck.
This medium-length Pateley Bridge walk is perfect for taking a quick look at the village’s industrial history. Ladies Riggs and Ashfoldside Trail whisk walkers through the surrounds of Prosperous Smelt Mill – long abandoned and derelict. And after that taste of history, the route diverts to the peaceful Ashfoldside Beck and Ladies Riggs and Bale Bank. It is an excellent walk for balancing history and good views. Perhaps it could be a compromise between history and photography lovers.
7. Scot Gate Ash Trail
Miles: 4 miles
Time: 3 hours
Highlights: 14th-century ruins and a disused quarry.
Scot Gate Ash Trail is another historic Pateley Bridge hike with good views. The route encompasses the 14th-century ruins of St Mary’s Church, remains of Scotgate Ash Quarry, and the traditional street scenes of the Pateley Bridge High Street. Plus, hikers have valley views of Nidderdale throughout their walk.
For more directions on walking Scot Gate Ash Trail, Visit Harrogate offer a great guide.
8. Toft Gate Trail
Miles: 5.5 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Highlights: Coldstones Cut artwork.
Toft Gate Trail is a route for art and history lovers. The route passes Toft Gate Lime Kiln, which was heavily relied upon in Pateley Bridge’s industrial days. It also includes Coldstones Cut – rumoured to be Yorkshire’s biggest and highest public artwork. Coldstones Cut is a massive streetscape sculpture that admirers can walk through. It is perched overlooking the working Coldstones Quarry. Toft Gate Trail is one of the most engaging Pateley Bridge walks if you want to convince older children to come on a long family walk.
Here is Upper Nidderdale’s route guide for Toft Gate Trail.
Long Pateley Bridge Walks
9. Pateley Bridge Circular Trail
Miles: 9 miles
Time: 5 hours
Highlights: Brimham Rocks.
The primary draw of the Pateley Bridge Circular Trail is Brimham Rocks – one of the most famous geological areas in the Yorkshire Dales. The route traverses woodland and farmland and passes these unique rock formations. This is a fantastic option if you want a ‘destination’ or ‘sightseeing hike’. It is of moderate difficulty, so pack plenty of refreshments. There should be plenty of natural rest stops anyway since you’ll be stopping to admire Brimham Rocks.
10. Pateley Bridge to Beamsley Beacon
Miles: 16 miles
Time: 6 hours+
Highlights: Beamsley Beacon, Bolton Abbey Estate, Coldstones Cut artwork, Stump Cross Caverns, and Ilkley.
This is a hike for the adventurous. Hiking from Pateley Bridge to Beamsley Beacon covers the entire lower half of the Nidderdale AONB. You’ll walk past some of the region’s most impressive attractions, including the Coldstones Cut artwork, Stump Cross Caverns, Parcevall Hall Gardens, and the Bolton Abbey Estate. We recommend parking a car at either end of the hike and grabbing something to eat in Ilkley after you finish.
Once you reach Barden, join the Dales Way footpath along the River Wharfe, passing the Strid and entering Bolton Abbey Estate. You can stop for a coffee at one of the cafes in Bolton Abbey village or at Cavendish Pavilion – great places for a short rest. At Bolton Bridge, follow the footpath under the A59 and walk up the shaded pathway alongside the road until Beamsley Lane. At Beamsley Lane, it is a short walk through narrow country lanes until you turn up the steep Lanshaw Bank hill for a challenging climb to the top of the valley. As the hill finally plateaus, you reach a gap between two houses and a wooden bench – the sign to begin your final climb.
Beamsley Beacon is an ancient trig point with the best views over the valleys below. You can read all about it in our Beamsley Beacon guide here. From there, add your rock to the pile as a marker of your pilgrimage and great efforts.
11. The Nidderdale Way
Miles: 53 miles
Time: 2-3 days+
Highlights: Country pubs, Brimham Rocks, Scar House Reservoir, How Stean Gorge, and Yorke’s Folly.
The Nidderdale Way is the most challenging of all these Pateley Bridge walks. The 53-mile beast of a route passes Scar House Reservoir, Middlesmoor Church, Brimham Rocks, How Stean Gorge, and Yorke’s Folly. To really push yourself (physically and mentally), completing the Nidderdale Way is fantastic if you have a few days to spend in Pateley Bridge.
The route starts and ends in Pateley Bridge. It is a relatively well signposted circular route, but we recommend treating yourself to a map. Bewerley Hall Farm Bed & Breakfast is at the perfect halfway point for hotel accommodation on a two-day hike. If you are spreading the walk out over a few days, the Wellington Inn is a stunning, traditional choice with a restaurant and pub downstairs.
12. The Yorkshire Heritage Way
Miles: 43 miles
Time: 2-3 days+
Highlights: Bradford, UNESCO Heritage Sites, Ripon, and Brimham Rocks.
The Yorkshire Heritage Way might narrowly bypass Pateley Bridge itself. Still, it is one of the best long-distance walks near Pateley Bridge. The route starts in Bradford and ends in Ripon – passing through all the highlights of Nidderdale AONB and Yorkshire’s major heritage sites.
Bradford has a reputation as a nitty gritty northern city; honestly, that is what it is. We’ve got a complete guide on the best things to do in Bradford here, so check it out before you decide. The route also includes two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Saltaire and Fountains Abbey. You’ll pass through protected moorland landscapes that conjure images of the Bronte sisters (born in Haworth) and traverse tiny footpaths past Yorkshire’s best waterfalls and formations like Brimham Rocks.
The Yorkshire Heritage Way is not for the faint-hearted. But for seasoned hikers who can keep their wits about them, it is one of the most rewarding walks near Pateley Bridge.
Walks Near Pateley Bridge
13. WWI Heritage Trail
Miles: 3.3 miles
Time: 2 hours
Highlights: Local WWI history.
The WWI Heritage Trail is 40 minutes from Pateley Bridge. Easily one of the best walks near Pateley Bridge, it presents the research and findings of a three-year research project into the local area’s WWI history. Breary Banks village was a training camp for the Leeds Pals Battalion in WWI and later became a Prisoner of War camp. What is now considered the ‘Colsterdale Camp’ is treated as a memorial, and the WWI Heritage Trail aims to ensure the sacrifices of soldiers are not forgotten.
The starting point is Gollinglith Foot. You can visit the official Nidderdale AONB website for a more detailed route.
14. The Dales Way
Miles: 80 miles
Time: 5-7 days+
Highlights: Bolton Abbey Estate, Ilkley, Burnsall, Grassington, and Lake Windermere.
The Dales Way is the iconic long-distance trail through the Yorkshire Dales. And while it bypasses Pateley Bridge quite substantially, it is easily one of the best hikes near Pateley Bridge. The route starts in the spa town of Ilkley – famed for its things to do and Ilkley Moor walks. It passes through Bolton Abbey, Grassington, Burnsall, and many more beautiful Yorkshire towns and villages. Finally, it finishes past the Yorkshire borders in Cumbria, right near Lake Windermere in Bowness.
In summer, people joke that the Dales Way looks like the M1. Inns along the way book out months in advance, and there’s a beautiful community feel about the hike. Solo hikers, we’d suggest planning ahead and visiting during this period, when there’s safety in numbers and less treacherous conditions. But for those wanting to avoid this rush, late April to May is ideal, or October if you want to visit after summer. In these months, the weather is good, but the route is quitter – a more relaxing experience.
15. Crackpots Mosaic Trail
Miles: 7 miles
Time: 4 hours
Highlights: Mosaic artwork.
Crackpots Mosaic Trail is one of the most unique walks around Pateley Bridge. The route loops around Dallowgill, encouraging hikers on their mission with 22 mosaics dotted along the way. The mosaics are beautifully created local artwork depicting scenes of flora and fauna.
You can check out Visit Harrogate’s guide here.
Pateley Bridge Walks: FAQs
Before we finish off, let’s quickly cover some of the most commonly asked FAQs about walking in Pateley Bridge.
Where is Pateley Bridge?
Pateley Bridge is located in the Nidderdale Area of Natural Beauty, just next to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is easily accessed from major town of Harrogate and also the tiny city of Ripon.
How far is Pateley Bridge from Harrogate?
Pateley Bridge is a 30 minute drive or 50 minute bus ride away from Harrogate. If you choose the bus, you’ll be catching the number 24 straight from Harrogate Bus Station.
Is Pateley Bridge worth visiting?
Absolutely. Pateley Bridge is one of the best bases for hiking in Nidderdale. It also has lots of cultural heritage that you can easily embrace at the Nidderdale Museum or even by just walking along the town’s streets. Pateley Bridge is full of character and attractions, and beautifully located in an Area of Natural Beauty.
What to wear when walking in Pateley Bridge
Always wear layers when walking in Pateley Bridge. Yorkshire is known for its wet and blustery weather, and as a whole, you need to prioritise good waterproof trousers and strong, waterproof walking boots. If you don’t own these, check out these waterproof clothing options on Amazon and bag next day delivery. Of course, even Yorkshire gets sunshine sometimes, so if the weather forecast is in your favour, remember sun cream and light layers that you can easily carry if you get too warm.
Where to stay in Pateley Bridge?
Staying overnight in Pateley Bridge is a brilliant way to maximize your experience. The best luxury hotel in Pateley Bridge is Nydsley Hall which comes with hot tubs, while The Crown Hotel offers a more mid-range experience. If you are on a budget, we’d suggest Harefield Hall.
What to do in Pateley Bridge
The obvious answer is go hiking. But once you’ve experienced the best of the walks near Pateley Bridge, there are plenty of other attractions. You can treat yourself to retro sweet treats at The Oldest Sweet Shop In The World or invest in a history lesson at the Nidderdale Museum. St Mary’s Church Ruins are also an eerie but photogenic attraction to visit.
Feeling inspired and ready to tackle some walks around Pateley Bridge? These 15 Pateley Bridge walks are so diverse that you’ll have one or two to slot into your itinerary.
Don’t forget to leave time to enjoy the village itself. It has many attractions, including the ‘Oldest Sweet Shop in England’ – certified by the Guinness World Records as the longest continuously trading sweet shop globally. The sugar rush will be needed after all your walking.