Five Harrogate Walks for Nature

Embark on unforgettable Harrogate walks through stunning nature spots. Discover five scenic walks for nature enthusiasts, showcasing the beauty of Harrogate's nearby landscapes.

Scar House & Angram Reservoirs

At the very top of Nidderdale are two reservoirs which have become the home for a host of wildlife. The loop around Scar House Reservoir is easy to follow, but the option to add another three miles of more wild walking makes this a walk for all abilities and ambitions.

Ground nesting birds enjoy the surrounding moorland, and the shallow banks of the lake provide feeding grounds for wading birds and waterfowl.

Scar House Reservoir over the water content

As well as the call of the skylark, the call of oystercatchers can often be heard overhead. Several birds of prey call upper Nidderdale home, including buzzard, red kite, but also the rarer merlin and hen harrier.

Note: We recommend taking an Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 298 - Nidderdale if added the Angram loop as this less walked path can become tricky to make out at some points of the year.

Scar House Reservoir Walk

Washburn Valley Birds Walk

This beautiful woodland loop explores the rich and verdant valley floor of the Washburn Valley, home to countless species and some beautiful ancient woodland. The walk begins at the upper reach of Lindley Wood Reservoir where the river joins via the gentle mud banks, a popular place for wading birds and Heron as well as the rarer spotted flycatcher.

Washburn Valley Woodland content

The woodland as you follow the river will offer great spotted woodpeckers and green woodpeckers. Bullfinch and goldcrest are among the colourful species that live amongst the trees, as well as redstart and flycatcher. At the top of the walk you cross the dam of neighbouring Swinsty Reservoir you will enjoy water birds such as tufted ducks, grebe and pochard depending on the time of year.

Washburn Valley Birds Walk

Beningbrough River and Woodland Walk

Starting from the car park at the National Trust Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens this walk combines woodlands and riverside walking in the Vale of York.

The River Ure is slow and wide by this point in its journey, having absorbed a number of rivers including the Swale and at the halfway point of this walk it also joins with the River Nidd. This makes it the perfect home for birds like the kingfisher.  This distinctive bird is known to dart up and down the river so keep your eyes open for the telltale streak of orange and blue.

Kingfisher content

In early summer salmon are making their way up the river to their spawning grounds in the Yorkshire dales and otters returned to these rivers some years ago so keep an eye out on the river bank for their sleek form and furry faces.

The trees that line the river bank are also home to a mix of birds, that flash of green, usually up ahead as you approach will likely be the timid green woodpecker. Curlew and oyster catchers will often provide a glorious soundtrack overhead.

Beningbrough River Walk

Curlew Trail

This short but hearty walk from Pateley Bridge combines the gentle riverside stroll, and the yomping climb up the side of the valley to the moors that look over the Nidderdale landscape.

Curlew 1393843 1920 1152077862

As well as following the side of the River Nidd where kingfisher and dipper can often be seen due to the abundance of river life, this walk allows you a great opportunity to see the curlew. This distinctive bird is the signature bird of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is easy to identify due to its long and downturned bill. As well as curlew the moors are home to lapwing (green plover) and skylarks. Red Kite and buzzard can often be seen circling overhead.

Curlew Trail

Valley Gardens to RHS Harlow Carr

It's easy to neglect the wildlife in our towns, and with so much green space Harrogate is home to a surprising range of species. The Valley Gardens Harrogate is a wonderful mix of kept parkland and rich woodland planting that is home to many traditional British species. Blackbirds, thrushes, finches and tits all visit the gardens to seek food among its trees and shrubs, taking advantage of the water that flows alongside the paths.

Overhead the red kite, reintroduced to the nearby Harewood House in 1999, has now truly established around Harrogate and patrols the skies in search of food.

The woodland beyond the Valley Gardens is dense but still home to a variety of bird and animal life. Goldcrest flit about the branches, usually in pairs. The woods are also home to willow warblers, nuthatch and treecreepers. The strange bird call you might hear among the denser trees, half scream - half rasp, is likely a jay moving through the branches in search of food.

RHS Garden Harlow Carr itself is a heaven for pollinating insects, but they also have a bird feeding station and viewing hide where you stand a better chance of getting a longer look at each of these species.

Valley Gardens Walk 1838124597

While there are new few wild honey bees left in the UK, the local beekeeping association maintain an observation apiary on the site where you can watch the busy too and fro of the worker bees as they take advantage of the bountiful supply of pollen and nectar these amazing gardens provide.

If you would like to inspire a little more wildlife into your own garden, the RHS shop supplies a variety of nesting boxes, bug hotels and feeders to get you started.

Walk from Valley Gardens to Harlow Carr

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