Forge Valley and Hackness

(Suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs)

Watch the video of this walk

Forge Valley is a gorge made in the last ice age, and is set into the tabular hills of North Yorkshire and the gorge is about a mile and a quarter long. During the last ice age the North Sea was covered in ice and this part of the moors remained free of glaciers. The streams of the River Derwent, which flows at the north end of the valley, had no where to drain so a large lake was formed being trapped between the hills, glaciers and the moors. Eventually the lake over lapped the hills and started to drain south therefore over time carved Forge Valley. When the glaciers receded the River Derwent took a new course southwards through Forge Valley and then west until it joins the River Ouse.

The Forge Valley is a National Nature Reserve with wild life such as birds of prey the merlin, sparrow hawk and the golden plover and also many other species of birds like herons, chaffinches, wrens, marsh tits, willow tits, great tits, blue tits, coal tits, jays, song thrush, black birds, tree creeper, bramlings and great spotted wood peckers. Blackcaps also feed here but they migrate south in the winter. There is also a wide variety of plants and animals, so always keep your ears and eyes open you never know what you might see. This is also one of the best examples of a valley side of mixed deciduous woodland in North Yorkshire.

The Forge Valley walk has been adapted to accommodate the disabled, whether walking or wheelchair user, and also for people with young children in pushchairs. All ages will love it here. The full length of the valley is 4 miles long and is really beautiful so is well worth a visit at any time of year there are three parking areas two of them with picnic tables.

We arrive at West Ayton and drive down the little road immediately before the bridge to take a look at the old mill. We then drive over the bridge and take the first left sign posted Forge Valley and Hackness. We then stop at the side of the road to view the remains of Ayton Castle, which is of 12th century, then carry on driving along the valley and stop at the bird feeding station to watch the birds and squirrel after some time we then carry on driving along the valley to Hackness. At Hackness we have a look round the village and the Hackness Grange Hotel where non residents are welcome. We then drive back along the valley past the bird feeding station to the Old Mans Mouth car park and picnic area to begin our walk.

From the car park facing the river we turn right, go over the bridge, turn right and then follow the wooden pathway with the river on our right until we come to the end of the wooden pathway and a stile. You can walk on further if you are able bodied. Here we about turn back to the bridge and then walk straight ahead now with the river on our left and follow the wooden pathway to the end and a gate. Again you can walk further if you are able bodied so here we about turn again and follow the path back to the bridge and car park. The first half of the walk is approx 0.75 miles and the second half is approx 1.75 miles.

The wooden pathway has safety grips of grit going across it, so is completely safe for people with walking difficulties, wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Map of Forge Valley and Hackness


Very level with good pathways so is very easy going.


The whole walk is approx 2.5 miles using OS map OL27


Forge Valley is between West Ayton and Hackness in North Yorkshire.


From York take the A64 towards Scarborough and just after Rillington take a left turn onto the B1258 to Snainton. At Snainton turn right onto the A170 towards West Ayton and then take the first left over the bridge to take you to the car park and Forge Valley.

Toilets and Refreshments

There is only one radar accessible toilet available, at West Ayton caravan club site, please check opening times, but there are 17 at nearby Scarborough.
For food and drink there are two pubs, a spar convenience store and a fish and chip shop in West and East Ayton, in Hackness there is the Hackness Grange Hotel and at the roadside along the Forge Valley is the Everley Country Hotel. In nearby Scarborough there are plenty of pubs and shops etc for refreshments.

One response to “Forge Valley and Hackness”

  1. thetaxidriverj says:

    Hi Andrew, yes dogs are permitted, we did not notice any no dog signs, and this is a lovely walk.
    Aslong as they are on leads when yo go through fields with cows, sheep and horses you should be ok.
    John and Janice (The Taxi DRiver)

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