We feel very luck to have such a choice of lovely walks straight from the door in Appleton. When we lived in Harrogate, we used to have to drive for over an hour to find the best walks; now that we live here, they are on our doorstep. During lockdown, many of us in the village have been sharing our favourite walks, so we have even more walking options for guests.
This circular Woodland walk is one of our favourites, and we will feature it along with others we recommend in our new look welcome pack for guests. So, we are just giving a flavour of it in this post to tempt you to try it if you stay with us.
It has a perfect combination of country lanes, fields with views and beautiful woodland. It’s about 2 miles and takes around an hour depending on how often you stop to admire the view. There is a climb up through the last section in Ridings Bank Wood; nothing too steep, but enough so that you feel you have a slight bit of aerobic exercise. This track has the wonderful name of The Thieves Highway.
We love this walk as it is beautiful whatever the season. We’ve walked it during the winter when the views from the woods down to the river and Appleton Mill are revealed. In fact it’s a great Christmas Day walk. Just long enough to walk off Christmas dinner (or beforehand so you’ve had a walk to justify the dinner…) One November we bumped into guests on this walk all wearing Christmas jumpers; they had an annual meetup every year for a friends “fake” Christmas before the real event!
In springtime, as everything bursts into life the woodland floors are carpeted with wild daffodils and anemones. Nearby Farndale is renowned for its wild daffodils, but we think the daffodils in Hell Bank and Gill Wood are better (and there are no crowds)!
Then comes the pungent wild garlic, perfect for making pesto. We try to pick as many leaves as we can to stash a pesto supply in our fridge for the rest of the year; it never lasts long as we hope as it tastes just too delicious. There are certainly no vampires near the Long Barn when we’ve been eating it!
Then it’s the blue bells, and the woodlands become greener and greener as the tree canopies bring more shade. Late summer means the view from the fields turn purple as the heather comes out on the moor. Finally, Autumn when the russet colours arrive and the leaves begin to fall.