Strid Wood (inc. Bolton Abbey)
There can’t be many better stretches of river that offer as much variety as this length of the River Wharfe. It is truly stunning. The path is excellent, and you can walk on both sides! Additionally, it is one that the whole family can do.
From the barn hop over the stile next to the courtyard down to the road. Follow down to the river and turn right before the bridge. Just follow your nose. You will first pass the aqueduct before entering Strid Wood. There are many rare species of fauna and lichen in here. Our favourites are the Herrons and Mandarin Ducks! During April and May, you will walk amongst the majestic Bluebells. When bloom season begins, the gorgeous smell of wild garlic will tingle your nostrils.
A Mandarin Duck family surround the Strid.
As you progress through the walk the river changes dramatically to become more of a rapid and is quite spectacular when in flood. There is a choice of paths to take but you will eventually arrive at “The Strid” – where the river narrows to little more than 6 feet. It is tempting to jump across, but be warned, many have died in doing so as the information board testifies to. At this point the river is some 30 feet deep and extremely dangerous – make sure to enjoy the view from a distance.
The Strid Wood in the evening.
Beyond here is a nice stroll to The Cavendish Pavilion with the option of the path down to the Islands and “beach”. You can choose to have time out with an ice-cream or coffee, even carry on down the river to the steppingstones and Abbey. However, to walk back, we suggest you cross the bridge and come back upstream on the other side. There is a bit of a climb as you approach the Strid with a welcome seat at the top. However, the views down to the river from this elevated point are stunning. Easy ramble then back to Barden bridge crossing a field (place to play cricket or footie!).
Then just back up the road to the barn…quite a fabulous walk.
Bolton Abbey with stepping stones in the foreground.