With the glorious weather this weekend we took the opportunity to plan a trip to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden a world heritage site near Ripon. After a week cooped up with an infection and a training ban I was eager to get back out and do some walking, especially in glorious weather. I’d taken Hubby to Fountains Abbey on one of our early dates in an attempt to sell Yorkshire to him (it worked!) and so was keen to take the kids to explore. My Daughter however was then poorly so Hubby sent me and my son on our own little adventure.
We had planned to do some of the walks we found on the website but we were both excited to see the abbey itself so first headed from the visitor centre down to the abbey. The surroundings are stunning and my 9-year-old even uttered a ‘Cool’ when we got our first glimpse and he practically dragged me down the winding path to get a better look.
After wandering inside the ruins, we walked up the wide lawn and looked back at the abbey getting a fantastic view and from there took the footpath around the Studley Royal Water gardens. There are so many scenic views as you walk around that I could have spent all day just taking photos but we were on a mission to pick up the route of the ‘Seven Bridges Valley’… oh and find deer which were on my Son’s must see list.
We picked up the route at the bottom of Studley lake and followed the path over the rustic bridges using one of the printed walking guides we’d picked up at the visitor centre. It was apt given I’m training for my China trek that these bridges now made of stone were originally timber and made in a Chinese lattice style and we would also walk past what were formerly Chinese gardens. The path then made its way up hill and we could smell the wild garlic and even managed to spot a few bluebells. Despite the full carpark we had the path to ourselves and as we walked through the woods my Son began to doubt my map reading and was convinced we were lost, never to find a deer! However, we soon came to the Mackershaw Lodge and its kissing gates to walk back down through Mackershaw park.
There under a canopy of trees and enjoying the shade were some deer. My Son skulked off in hunter mode with the camera to have a look at what he was convinced were horses! He was miles away from the deer and I assumed all this time he had been taking photos, but no he was just looking at them through the camera so he could zoom in. We only got one fuzzy shot of them but mission accomplished.
From here we walked back to Studley Lake, stopping for ice-cream and walking along another path past the Temple of Piety and moon pond and then eventually reaching the abbey again.
We had a great day, the scenery is so stunning and someone said to me the other day that Fountains Abbey has a magic about it and I can’t agree more.
What did you do this weekend in the glorious weather? Let me know in the comments, we’re always on the lookout for new places to explore. Over on my Facebook page we have more pictures and videos of our adventures.
All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this post.
This time our Hip2trek adventure was to Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales.
Our walk started near the village of Greenhow and so we took the opportunity before our walk began to explore the Coldstones Cut sculpture. I’d seen some amazing pictures of the sculpture on Facebook and so it gave us the inspiration to explore this area.
From the Toft Gate Lime Kiln free car park, we followed the clearly marked path 600m up to the Coldstone Cuts sculpture. It’s a massive sculpture perched on top of Greenhow Hill that you can walk around and which looks over the Coldstones Quarry, the highest quarry in England. It also offers stunning views across Nidderdale and you can see for miles. The Kids loved the street style of the sculpture and there’s two different winding ‘streets’ up to the top. Each child chose an opposite side and ran around to see who could make it to the top first. If you head to my Hip2trek Facebook page you can see a video as we walked to the top. Little lady had problems seeing over the handrail so I had to lift her up momentarily to see the incredible view and we waved to the boys on the opposite side. Having explored the sculpture, we walked back down the big hill to the car park for our next part of the adventure.
Nidderdale is an area on outstanding beauty and there’s quite a few walks in the area that you can find on the internet all following similar routes. We chose an anti-clockwise circular route and from the car park crossed the road to the fingerpost that led us downhill across pastures. Dodging the many molehills my Daughter was worried she might stand on a moles head!
It was a hard-strenuous walk, quite remote in places (or at least it felt like it!) but the scenery was beautiful and we certainly had some interesting encounters. We had heard shooting as we walked down a valley but with the surrounding hills and the sound travelling we didn’t expect to find clay pigeon shooters right below the path. It was a terrifying experience walking along the path knowing the guns were near but not knowing from which direction they came. There had been no signs so we assumed we were safe. I have never been so frightened but we walked past their shooting unscathed although the heart rate will have been high.
Having past this and walked down a winding footpath into an old mining area we came to a ford across the path. We’d known from checking the route beforehand to expect this but with the rain the night before it had become a bit more of a raging torrent! There was no way I was walking past the clay pigeon shooters again so there was nothing for it we going to cross somehow. Me and our eldest could get across by jumping from rock to rock (My Son had a wet foot!) but Little legs and Hubby were a bit stuck. In the end after much debating they walked further downstream and with a bit of team work we got them across. You can see more video of this on my Facebook page!
A beautiful walk through moorlands and old mining areas, we certainly got a good workout and the last mile home was all up hill. A great day out, some interesting moments adding to the adventure and despite a slip and slide in the squelchy, boggy mud we had all managed to remain upright!
Our half term activities were thwarted somewhat by the weather AGAIN! I can’t wait for spring to arrive and better weather as at the moment we just seem to be going from one storm to another.
We did manage a small walk from Grassington to Burnsall recently, walking along the River Wharfe but the wind was starting to pick up and there was lots of mud around. The muddy walks sap so much more energy but we certainly got to blow some cobwebs away and this would be an easy walk on nicer days. I’d picked the wrong day to start wearing in my boots for my trek!
We followed the footpath from the corner of the carpark at the Grassington visitor centre and made our way downhill to Linton falls, stopping first to spot some aliens in the carpark that were part of the dark skies trail. From here we followed the fingerpost towards Burnsall and the path along the riverbank.
The surrounding trees had suffered from the recent gales and fallen trees were blocking part of the path, but we spotted the promise of spring nestled on the banks of the river with some lovely snowdrops.
The path is wide enough in most places that the kids can go on and run ahead. Our eldest was playing the usual sniper game and hiding behind the rows of trees along the way.
We soon arrived at the suspension bridge at the bottom of the footpath to Hebden. The kids loved that it looked really wobbly and narrow and all was fine crossing it until we met someone coming the other way who was so impatient he tried to barge past us. There was no way I was going in the water but we all made it safely across. There’s always one isn’t there!
With a Son having the name of a great racing driver as a middle name I am perhaps a little worried that in later years he might try to live up to his namesake when he gets behind the wheel of a car. We’ve been trying to teach the children about road safety when we’ve been out walking and recently at school both children have had a road safety lesson. My Daughter was thrilled that they turned the school hall into a road and had the children pretending to be cars. But what about driving a real car, would you let your Child drive a car before the legal age of 17 at say age 5? And can I curb my Son’s inner racing driver?!
After the euphoria of last week and feeling pretty good I came down with a bug and have been a sofa sloth for the best part of a week. I was itching to get outside at the weekend and although not well enough to do a big walk we decided some fresh air might do me some good.
My eldest had asked if we could visit Ilkley Moor and the Cow and Calf rocks, I think this is because he knows there’s lots of places he can leap about and streams to dip feet in. He seems to be the one that needs most persuading to go out for a walk (although once out he loves it) so when he suggested somewhere I was happy to go with that. It’s also not far from family so if the weather turns nasty there’s somewhere near to retreat to!
We had a great time exploring different paths and letting the kids stand on the smaller rocks and without too much wind it was nice to get some fresh air. Unfortunately, it was a bit misty so we couldn’t see for miles like you usually can up there. Despite it being a bit frosty my Daughter still managed to get covered in mud.
After our walk we treated ourselves to hot chocolate and warm pasties in the café in the carpark. With blankets and heating lamps we were nice and toasty. I grew up in this area and when I was little and visited Ilkley Moor there was just a carpark and no facilities unless you went up the road to the pub!
Great to get outdoors for a bit but I’m looking forward to getting out and doing some bigger walks. Bug be gone!
Do you let your kids choose where to walk?
For more photos or to join in the chat pop over to my Facebook Page.
With Christmas just days away and storm Barbara beginning to make an appearance, I’m not sure how many outdoor adventures we're going to have in the next few days. Hopefully we can have a small walk on Boxing Day to walk off the turkey, depending on how bad this storm really will be.
Last weekend we had a small trip to one of our favourites, Bolton Abbey. I actually wanted to go and discover the Valley of desolation and then on to Simon’s Seat but with the daylight hours being so much shorter, and with the little legs in tow we decided to just walk to the first waterfall. It’s a famous sight that I keep seeing many photos of and down a tiny winding path and then over a troll bridge we found the view. A cold foggy day and the crowds stayed away and we had the wonderful views of the waterfall all to ourselves. We’ll leave the bigger walk onto Barden moor and then Simon’s seat for a better day.
Having seen the waterfall, we walked along the opposite river bank and discovered there was a pantomime themed trail. The kids loved it and even sat in a sleigh and were provided with hats by a kind Elf!
As Christmas approaches we’ve managed a few trips with friends including a walk by the canal at Bingley. Six exuberant children just before Christmas by a canal might sound like a recipe for disaster but no one ended up in the water, thankfully!
I can’t believe my blog is 11 months old! At the start of last year, I had no intention to write a blog, walk all over the place or be planning a trip to China! It really shows how far the rehab of my hips has come and I’m so excited for what next year holds. My own wellbeing from walking is evident in that I now actually sleep at night! I’m so proud of my family for joining in too, we’ve visited some fabulous places and are all so much fitter as a family, my little people can walk miles.
That just leaves me to say Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year, I hope you’ll follow me on my adventures and who knows I might even bump into you!
I’ve lived in Yorkshire all my life, but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never walked on the Haworth moors made famous by the Bronte sisters. With a dry weather forecast we set off in search of Heathcliff with a walk to the Bronte Waterfall and Top Withens, the ruin that may have been the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s book ‘Wuthering Heights’.
After hideous weather during the week we were all wrapped up and eager to get outside into the fresh air. It was really chilly and this was our first walk with frost and ice puddles. The kids loved the ice on top of the puddles and loved the satisfying crunch they got as they walked across them.
We started the walk on a quiet road that eventually led to a footpath and once we had reached it the kids were able to run ahead and play their puddle game, trying to get there before the other so they could be the first to ‘crunch’ the ice. With it being cold we had picked up a good pace and after a mile and a half were nearly at the Bronte Waterfall. As we had made our way down some rocky steps we heard some birds chattering and Hubby spotted them across from where we were walking. I only caught a glimpse and we think they might have been Merlin’s but they flew off before either of us got a camera out or a good look.
The waterfall wasn’t as spectacular as I had imagined so we quickly posed for a few photos and then walked across the small footbridge. After a steep climb we found a fingerpost pointing us to Top Withens, not only written in English but with a Japanese translation too due to the popularity of tourists visiting.
With the sun out the landscape was quite beautiful although I could imagine on a windy, overcast or rainy day it could be quite exposed and bleak. We were all by now quite warm with all our layers on and the path had been narrow and winding and then we came across some stepping stones over a small stream before, finally a big hill up to Top Withens.
Top Withens is a ruined building and we found the plaque that says itself that this farmhouse ‘may’ have inspired part of Emily’s book ‘Wuthering Heights’. We had a good wander around and a rest on one of the benches.
We had explained to the kids about the Bronte sisters and a summary of the book ‘Wuthering Heights’, the character Heathcliff and about Kate Bush’s song ‘Wuthering Heights’. My Son at 8 years old has raided Daddy’s old tape collection so has already listened to quite a bit of Kate Bush! I had annoyed everyone all morning singing it although I was about three when the song first came out. I’d shown the kids the music video that morning and me and my son did a quick re-enactment whilst we were up there!!
Retracing our steps, we headed back down the hill until a fork in the footpath and this time we headed straight on across the moor until eventually we came to a small village called Stanbury. We passed a few pubs and well it seemed kind of rude not to stop and have a little drink!
The sign outside the Wuthering Heights said that walkers and well behaved dogs were welcome, nothing about unruly cheeky walking children but we chanced it and were welcomed inside.
A pint and some of the best onion rings later, we left and continued on our walk and I was thrilled that it led us across the reservoir dam that looked spectacular with the sunshine glistening on it. I wish we could have stopped and got some better photos but it was very narrow with just enough room for cars to pass each other carefully.
From here we took a left turn down a bridleway and eventually joined the start of our walk. We had really enjoyed our adventure, walking just over 6.5 miles and had found it not to be at all Wuthering, but still and sunny. No sign of Heathcliff either, but if I was him I’d be back at the pub!
All views are my own and I have received no incentive to write this. We parked for free in a lay-by by the side of the road near Cemetery Road, Haworth. There are lots of guides for this walk on the internet and it is well sign posted but we used a route from The Happy Hiker website.
Have you got a route you think we should try? Comment below and let me know or pop over to my Facebook page and say hi.
With half term and a full weekend of kids parties our adventures recently have been a little bit different, so we’ve managed to fit in a woodland walk on Otley Chevin, pumpkin picking in Pontefract and we even dragged the kids Grandparents up Burley Moor. I also have a new best friend!
We were introduced a few weeks ago and I already feel this might be the start of a love/hate relationship. My new best friend is the leg press machine! I’m still having physio after my hip surgery last year and working hard to get stronger, with my charity trek next year I need to be as strong as possible so the jelly legs need a workout. I’m trying really hard to go to the gym every other day to do my prescribed exercises but the lurgy and half term had scuppered things slightly. Having said that my legs are definitely getting stronger and on the exercise bike it’s a lot less like cycling through treacle.
With a fully packed party weekend planned for the kids we only managed to fit in a few short walks to help with my training and try some steep inclines. We’ve walked on Otley Chevin before but there’s lots of it that we still haven’t discovered so this time we started our walk in a slightly different place. The autumnal woodland was gorgeous and the steepness of some of the paths were just what I needed. The kids had a great time in the woods kicking leaves and hiding behind the trees and we managed to spot a few planes taking off from the nearby airport.
Walk for Wellbeing at RHS Harlow Carr with Fenetic Wellbeing & my tips for getting your family active.
Our adventure this weekend was to RHS Harlow Carr and we were invited by Fenetic Wellbeing for a Walk for Wellbeing event. I’m all for getting outside and part of my own mission is to get my family outside and us all fitter. More and more the advice for better health and mental wellbeing is to get outside and I’ve found myself that my mood is brighter and I sleep better having been out and active.
After a treat at Betty’s of tea and scones we were taken on a guided walk of the beautiful RHS gardens, we learnt about the history and some of the hidden secrets the garden holds. Despite a little rain at first we had a great time wandering around and the kids found a fabulous tree house, some colourful fallen leaves and my Daughter made a new friend!
We had a lovely morning and by the end of our guided tour the rain had stopped and the kids were ready to go back and explore the playground again. We had definitely walked off our cakes!
Lurgy has stopped play the past few weekends and we haven’t been on any big walking adventures as I haven’t been able to stop coughing. I’ve also had to stop the gym and physio exercises but my abs still got a great workout from all the coughing!
We did go out for some fresh air and managed a couple of very short walks first of all testing out the kid’s new coats in some local woodland and then this weekend three of us went back to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Although my China trek might be months away I’ve very conscious of the fact I need to continue improving my endurance and fitness. My hip was starting to hurt from being in the house all day and I needed to get my boots back on and get out there. The fresh air was bound to do me some good too. Our youngest was at a party so we headed for somewhere close by and although we’ve visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park before for a stroll amongst the Sculptures, it’s big enough that we haven’t discovered everything about it.
It was a bit strange without our youngest chattering away but the three of us had fun as we picked a path we hadn’t taken before through the woodland. We let our Son choose which way to go and as soon as he found the ’71 steps’ he was decided as part of Mummy’s training that this was the way we were definitely going. He actually looked at me and said “Go on then, get on with it, you can do this one a few times”. Had my chest been better he may have got a smart remark back but we headed up the steps with him counting all the way.
Climbing up through the woodland and under the canopy of pine trees we found a little den made of logs that our Son would have loved to be able to hide in. He ran from tree to tree pretending to jump out on us and I think he was playing some sort of sniper game, like boys do!
The well-worn path led us eventually to the Longside gallery and we were able to wander around and have a look at some of the interesting exhibits. My Son loved the monkey and I liked the interesting blue tiles making a person.
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!
I'm taking part in a charity China trek. For my story or to sponsor me please follow the Just Giving link.