Walk: Enjoy the parklands and woods around Harrogate

The route around the parklands and woods in Harrogate.

The route around the parklands and woods in Harrogate.

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This is a delightful walk from Harrogate Pump Rooms to the west and high side of the town, taking around two hours. Walk courtesy of The Walking Englishman

This is a delightful walk from Harrogate Pump rooms to the west and high side of the town.

A Flower bed at valley gardens.

A Flower bed at valley gardens.

The first half of the walk is uphill but not too strenuous and you should take your time to enjoy all the lovely scenery anyway.

The return route includes a walk through Valley Gardens, a recreational space provided for the folk of Harrogate by their Victorian ancestors.

Note: Some footpaths on the walk are unmade and stout footwear is recommended for those wanting to take full advantage of the Birk Crag woodland section.

The route

Tree roots exposed in Birk Wood.

Tree roots exposed in Birk Wood.

This walk starts outside the domed building that is the Royal Pump Room Museum in Low Harrogate, the site of Europe’s strongest Sulphur Well.

You leave the Sulphur Well behind to walk up Cornwall Road and not into Valley Gardens which you leave for the return journey and will make a superb finale.

The first part of the walk is all along streets, but spectacular streets, wide tree avenued ones with huge houses and streets with evocative royal titles.

From Cornwall Road you turn right along Clarence Road, then left along York Road, left again along Duchy Road and then right into Hereford Road followed by a left into Kent Road which runs out of tarmac and becomes unmade with potholes strewn everywhere.

The beautiful setting at valley gardens.

The beautiful setting at valley gardens.

Emerging from Kent Road and out of urbanisation the walk now continues on the Harrogate Ringway route, first by taking a sharp turn left and uphill round a bend before turning off the road to the right and following a woodland edged track towards Birk Crag.

Now you are one mile into the walk and suddenly amidst approximately 27 acres of fantastic mixed evergreen and deciduous woodland.

Birk Crag is a series of rock outcrops, some hard to find in the deep foliage.

You can enjoy exploring the series of paths around the crag while always taking care.

The Royal Pump Room Museum in Harrogate.

The Royal Pump Room Museum in Harrogate.

Play it safe before continuing on south west for about 500 metres after the crags before turning left and heading south continuing through the wood and across a wooden bridge at a point where a few mighty oaks struggle against ground erosion as their east facing side lose out to the crumbling bank falling into Birk Beck.

Soon after we emerge from the woodland at the Harrogate Arms.

If the pub is open enjoy refreshments if you wish - you’re now over half way.

After the Harrogate Arms climb up the road from the pub and turn right onto Crag Lane, following it for 100 metres before turning left along a marked path on the northern edge of woods.

The woodland has some fine examples of Scots Pine and Cypress, so look out for them.

After following the path on a true line on the edge and then through woodland for 900 metres you will emerge by the side of Harlow Moor Road which you go straight across.

Birk Crag near Harlow Carr Gardens.

Birk Crag near Harlow Carr Gardens.

Follow a path straight back towards town, a path which is enclosed by high trees on both sides, high enough to give a feeling of being closed in.

You’ll emerge in the glorious wide open spaces of the upper reaches of Valley Gardens.

The walk, so far a superb one of varying interest, has now reached a crescendo, especially if you’re doing this walk in Spring.

On the walk through the gardens you have every option to wander on the paths that criss-cross the park.

You will then complete the excellent walk by returning to the start at the Royal Pump Museum.

Cherry Blossom in Valley Gardens.

Cherry Blossom in Valley Gardens.