In this first section of the Dales Way, enjoy a gentle day of riverside walking through pasture and woodland. On entering the grounds of Bolton Abbey, you will cross the threshold into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
From a stone bench, marking the official start of the Dales Way, you will walk North West, following the course of the River Wharfe. You will pass through the extensive grounds of Bolton Abbey, today a functioning priory. The remains of Bolton Abbey are quite impressive and its extensive grounds are well maintained.
Here you will walk by the 'Welly Walk' (a series of themed playgrounds for children) before crossing the river to reaching a cafe with public toilets. You then walk through Strid Wood after which you cross the river again, over Barden Aqueduct (now dry), to walk along the east side of the river. The walk ends at the Red Lion pub, in the quaint little village of Burnsall.
On the way through Strid Wood, look out for a viewing point of the river. Here you can see the river swirling over and around limestone slabs.
Take care when walking along and in crossing a few roads. In particular, take care in crossing the B6160, a little way before Bolton Abbey. This is a very busy road and your view of the traffic is impeded by bends in the road.
Points of Interest
St Peter's Church - St Peter’s is an ancient and living church serving the village of Addingham. Christians have worshipped on this site for over 1100 years. The building, set amid an open field, has a nave roof, arcade and chancel dating from the 15th century with a gallery of 1756. It is a place of prayer, peace and beauty where you will find a warm welcome.
Farfield Friends' Meeting House - Farfield Friends Meeting House is a Quaker meeting house no longer regularly in use by a Quaker meeting and now owned by the Historic Chapels Trust. It is located some 2 miles north of the village of Addingham, West Yorkshire, England
The Priory of Bolten Abbey - At the heart of Bolton Abbey Estate lies the Priory Church and Ruins of an Augustinian Priory in its beautiful riverside setting. The land was gifted to the Augustinian canons by Alice de Rumilly in 1154. The canons lived and worshipped here until 1539 when the dissolution of the monasteries stripped the Priory of its assets. History lovers will enjoy the story of Prior Moone and how he negotiated with Cromwell to secure the nave as a place of worship for the local community and how the church continues to thrive to this day, for more information see here: https://boltonabbey.com/
Barden Aqueduct - The large turreted bridge which crosses the River Wharfe north of Strid Wood is the aqueduct. The splendid castellations hide the pipe that carries water from the reservoirs at the top of Nidderdale to the cities of West Yorkshire.
Barden Bridge - Barden Bridge is an attractive three-arched humpbacked bridge across the River Wharfe north of Bolton Abbey on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales. The bridge crosses the river just north-east of Barden Tower, a 15th-century fortified manor house.
The Welly Walk - The 'Welly Walk' offers a series of playground adventures and curiosities (such as the coin tree) for children along the route. You will follow the Welly Walk before entering the Strid Wood
Food and Drink
There are plenty of stops for food and drink along the route and amoung walkers favourites are one of the lovely tea houses in Bolten Abbey or continue a little further on the trail to the Cavendish Pavillion.
If you can not walk today there is a 40 min bus which connects Ilkley and Burnsall, you can check your best connections here: https://www.traveline.info/
Craigland Hotel, where we stayed on the night before starting the walk, were happy for us to leave our car in their car park for the week, whilst we waled the Dales Way.
There is free parking in the roads near the start of the Dales Way. Many hikers leave their vehicles there whilst walking.
Stout footwear, preferably boats, would be most suitable and pack a rain jacket as this can be a wet part of the country.