Walk: Wonderful Wharfedale

Harewood map'� Crown copyright 2016 Media 051/16
Harewood map'� Crown copyright 2016 Media 051/16

This week’s five-mile walk, courtesy of Helen Barclay, sets off from Harewood Village Hall and takes approximately two hours to complete.

Walk past the main gates of Harewood House and very soon you will see a door in the stone wall indicating the start of a permissive footpath.

Once through this door follow the broad, muddy path into the woods where it continues parallel to the road.

Soon you reach a broad surfaced area enclosed by timber fencing.

Go through the gates and turn right to follow a broad path through the parkland.

There are sheep here so dogs should be in close control and there are lovely views across the parkland towards Harewood House on your right and the rolling countryside of Wharfedale beyond.

The path runs downhill, note the new planting on your left where the estate is working to continue this parkland for future generations.

From the established deciduous woodland also on your left you may be able to hear Jays screeching, but you seldom see them.

At the bottom of the hill go through another timber gate into a wildlife conservation area.

There are lots of Doggy Bins here – well done Harewood Estate, much nicer for all walkers and safer for the sheep.

Go over a pretty stone bridge, called New Bridge (look to your left and you will see waterfalls at the end of the stretch of river which is visible).

Follow the bridleway path to your left along the well marked path.

Pass an area of mown grass on your left and up a slight slope to where the path goes off to the right hand side below the sycamore trees.

The path continues past and old timber waymarker with LCW on it indicating ‘Leeds Countryside Way’ (this is part of that route).

At the cross roads where there are waymarkers on either side of the track, continue straight on and leave the LCW which leads off to the left past an old stone wall.

After a very short distance during which you will enjoy the sound of thrushes and blackbirds singing in the tree canopy above you, take a steep path off to the right hand side.

This is not marked and easy to miss if you are just tootling along.

This path bends back and drops steeply down through the trees to a timber gate beside the end of a stone barn.

Go through the gate and into the parkland. The lake of Harewood House is visible to your right.

Continue along the obvious path between post and rail fencing and soon there is an old walled garden on your right hand side, cross a cattle grid and follow the lane up to where it joins a tarmac road.

Turn left and follow the surfaced road with the low stone wall on your right.

At the neat triangular green head diagonally left and over a little stone bridge.

Continue to a timber gate where you will see a yellow square way-marker.

Go through the gate and into Harwood Yard, the commercial part of the Harwood Estate.

The bridleway is clearly marked between two white line across the tarmac and up the road in front of you.

Follow this to an especially tall metal gate beside an especially broad cattle grid.

This is the deer park.

Look out for deer cunningly concealed among the cattle in the fields beside the road.

At the next junction turn right, continuing along the surfaced road which now leads right back, without turning, to the village hall car park.

Part way along there is a bench for weary walkers at the top of the hill with wonderful rural views, and in the distance the Wharfedale viaduct.