This week we made our way to Dalby Forest which is on the edge of the North York moors. I had been invited by the Yorkshire Tots website to do a review of the Stick man trail which you’ll be able to read on their website shortly. I’ve wanted to go there for ages and whilst we were there we took the opportunity to discover the other walking trails on offer. The drive for us from near Leeds takes nearly an hour and a half, although we did have fun with the satnav taking us beyond where we wanted to be. We were that excited and busy chatting about our day that we completely missed the brown tourist signs!
As soon as you turn into the drive taking you into the forest the scenery is really pretty. The kids were getting excited in the back seats. We stopped at the first car park where the visitor centre is but there were signs for other car parks further into the forest should you wish to explore some more.
Dalby forest has a Visitor centre with café, shop and there’s a bike hire place and another café in a little courtyard. There’s lots of bike routes and a few walking routes too. We discovered after we came home that there’s also an adventure playground!
Our first walk was quite short so just for fun we picked a coloured route off the information board and decided to follow that for our second walk. My only criticism is that there isn’t a lot of information about the walking routes, some are marked with their distance but others don’t tell you how long they are. We would have also liked to have done a longer route but maybe there’s more next time to discover!
You can see the route here that I recorded using the Viewranger app on my phone. Although a tiny walk it started with a rather steep incline and us cursing Daddy whose had chosen this particular route! Despite being just feet away from a little road we felt deep in the forest as we climbed a path carpeted with pine needles. I think it has to be the most narrow, secluded path we have found ourselves on during our walking adventures and the kids weren’t entirely sure we knew where we were going. It was well marked and although there are also cycle routes nearby should you come to a cross roads with these you are well warned and there is no danger of getting squashed!
The walk varied from steep and narrow, deep in the trees paths to wider open spaces. The scenery was very dramatic in places and the fir trees smelt amazing. We soon looped our way back around and came out on familiar territory to a path we had seen earlier and bumped into an old friend!
We all loved this area and I would like to find some longer walking routes around here. It is a long way to drive though for a short walk, and I think it might be somewhere to visit if you’re holidaying in the area or on your way to/from the coast.
We were given complimentary parking passes but for cars to park all day it is £8. All views are my own.
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What a difference a week makes! Snow last week and we were wrapping up with hats and gloves, to the hottest day of the year this weekend and us slapping on the sun cream. With a fantastic weekend forecast we were eager to enjoy the weather and get the walking boots on.
Warning! Due to the fabulous weather there may be some midriff pictures included in this blog post.
Our destination this time was Helmsley, walking to Rievaulx Abbey. We’ve never been to Helmsley but if you watched any of the Tour de Yorkshire footage you will have seen the wonderful countryside the bikes rode through. We weren’t disappointed as we entered the village and there was a collective ‘ooo’ as we drove to the carpark. The carpark is well signposted and there’s plenty of spaces, Helmsley visitor centre is located towards the back of the carpark and there are also toilets. The parking machine takes cards too which is great for us because we never have enough change!
A slightly longer walk this time, following for a lot of the way the ‘Cleveland Way’ footpath. What I like about the footpaths in this area are that they are all well signposted and even without a map printed off the internet, I’m sure we would have found our way. You can see our route here as we plotted our walk on the Viewranger app. My Daughter as usual had dressed herself for the walk and getting a little hot decided that she was now going to be a superhero.
Having walked so far up a wide track and along some fields, we were now on the edge of woodland. The path narrows and you head into the woodland and down some steps to an opening that looked, I thought, like something from a storybook. Maybe Winnie the pooh and friends or similar? There was a lot of talk about the Gruffalo on this walk but the kids have stopped believing that it exists.
Having made it down and up again both sets of steps the footpath leads you to the most spectacular wide open view at Griff Lodge. By this time we were rather hot as the promised temperatures didn’t disappoint, and it was here I was thinking that I don’t have enough suitable clothes for our walking adventures. Which is why I must apologise because the tummy did get an outing in the photos!
We continued down a footpath taking us deeper into the woodland and carpets of Bluebells soon started to greet us. Here we met a lovely Ranger from the North York Moors National Park who told us he’d just heard a Cuckoo in the nearby trees. Tales of the Gruffalo and some singing had drowned it out but we quietly tiptoed the next part of the walk and in the distance we could hear the bird. Sadly we didn’t see it but next time we know where to look.
The footpath ends at the bottom of the hill and from here until Rievaulx you have to walk along a minor road. The views are very pretty and although I was worried about the kids walking along the road it wasn’t too busy and there were enough gaps in the hedges for us to be safe.
We skirted around the Abbey walls, although you can pay an entrance fee if you want to get into the actual grounds but today we decided to admire the views from afar. A steep climb up and around the corner and we made our way along the permissive path to Rievaulx terrace.
We were soon back into the fields and the kids decided that one particular field looked like the land of Chocolate! We made our way through some farmland which led us back to Griff Lodge.
We had another picnic stop on the bench we had sat on earlier but this time four jets screamed across the sky. A spectacular view with added spectacular noise. Unfortunately I didn’t get the camera out quick enough so no photos of them! Now we were back on the footpath we had started on and followed our way back to the carpark, this time seeing in the distance Helmsley Castle. Easy to spot in the carpark if you look behind the trees! We had been looking in the wrong direction when we set off.
A little foot weary and very hot we made our way into the village for a well-deserved drink at The Black Swan. The food being brought outside looked amazing so next time I’ve decided we’re going for lunch!
We really enjoyed our walk, the kids did so well with the extra distance and the heat. We were impressed with the footpaths and signage and Helmsley looks such a lovely village that we are eager to visit again and do some more exploring.
All views are my own and I received no financial incentive for writing this blog post.
Where shall we go next?
I'm a 'thirty something' Yorkshire Mum of two, recovering from two hip arthroscopies and hoping to get fit for a new challenge. My aim is to also get my kids out into the countryside and get fitter as a family. Follow my blog about hips, trips, training and getting my kids outside!
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