Nidderdale Way

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The Way above Nidderdale

The Nidderdale Way is a circular long distance footpath 53 miles long in Nidderdale in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

The usual starting point is Ripley, a small village just north of Harrogate (accessed by the frequent busses from the larger towns of the West Riding).

The route follows the northern side of the dale on the outward leg and returns on the southern side. Consequently, the outward and return legs are never far apart.[1]


Ripley stands a little to the north of the River Nidd, at the foot of Nidderdale. From Ripley the path follows a series of side valleys on the northern side of Nidderdale and then climbs to Brimham Rocks. It then descends to the hamlet of Smelthouses and climbs to Blazefield before descending to Pateley Bridge.[2]

From Pateley the path keeps close to the River Nidd, passing Wath, Gouthwaite Reservoir and Bouthwaite to Lofthouse. The path then takes a route high above the Nidd to reach the dam of Scar House Reservoir, where it crosses to the right or south bank of the river.

From the dam the path climbs an old track to reach its highest point at 1,427 feet, before descending to the village of Middlesmoor.[3] It then crosses Stean Beck to reach Stean, and descends on the western side of the valley to Ramsgill.

A short section of road walking follows, beside Gouthwaite Reservoir. The Way then ascends to Heathfield, and takes a long loop around a side valley to reach Bewerley.[4]

From Bewley, the path follows a high rocky section known as Guise Cliff, before descending to Dacre Banks. It then follows the Nidd downstream to Darley, Birstwith and Hampsthwaite, where it crosses the Nidd to reach Clint. Finally the path passes Ripley Castle to return to Ripley.[5]

A Nidderdale Way waymark

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Nidderdale Way)


  1. Hanson, p.6
  2. Hanson, pp 10-19
  3. Hanson, pp 20-29
  4. Hanson, pp 30-35
  5. Hanson, pp 36-45