As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Nidderdale, Paul Bloomfield picks out a selection of walking, cycling, wildlife watching and family fun in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Yorkshire Dales.
Getting out and about on foot in the AONB is, of course, one of the best ways of exploring the landscape and there are so many options whatever your ability (or desire!), from simple strolls to more demanding long-distance trails. You’ll discover the history of the area as well as wildlife.
Cycling is a popular pastime for visitors to the region too, with an extensive network of rights of way so you can get off the roads and into the heart of the countryside and there are routes for everyone from beginners to experienced riders.
You’ll discover wildlife of all kinds – birdwatching is a particular favourite – and animal lovers shouldn’t miss the unusual opportunity to trek with a llama at Nidderdale Llamas (there’s a cute petting area too for smaller creatures).
Off the rails in Settle
Offers bike hire (from £20 for a day) if you want to set off on your own to explore, and self-guided or guided tours. 3peakscycles.com
Dales Bike Centre
Dales Bike Centre has the largest selection of mountain and road bikes in the area (from £17 a day for a hybrid bike). It also offers guided tours, whether it be for a day, a weekend or longer, and various skills courses. dalesbikecentre.co.uk
Trekking with llamas may sound a little strange, but those who’ve done it say they make amazing walking companions! Nidderdale Llamas, based on Kilm Farm, has 19 of the furry camelids – and there’s a choice of treks, from an hour and a half jaunt to a full day eight-mile hike to Brimham Rocks (with a picnic and refreshments provided). You’ll learn all about llamas on the way, and there’s a Pet Village on the farm too where children can pet smaller animals, ponies and handle the reptile collection too. nidderdalellamas.org
A family favourite – this adventure nature trail is aimed at primary and pre-school aged children. Rabbit, Mole and Owl will take you and your little ones on an adventure, to learn about the area and its wildlife while you search for clues and hidden treasure – with plenty of surprises along the way. From wild flower meadows to a bird hide and a woodland area with fairy ring, it’s a beautiful place for some family fun. There are loads of activities throughout the year, so check the website for more. studfold.com
For information on local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities, see our