Knaresborough Old Bilton River Nidd Round

Watch the video of this walk

Knaresborough is a very pretty old historic market and spa town in the civil parish of Harrogate in North Yorkshire located on the River Nidd just 4 miles east of Harrogate. Flowing on the out skirts of Knaresborough is the River Nidd providing riverside walks and boating facilities. The views of the Nidd Gorge are breathtaking. There are lots of ancient walkways, cobbled alleys and secret passages to explore along with the castle and the legends of Blind Jack and Mother Shipton. Mother Shipton’s cave is England’s oldest attraction and the birth place of the 15th century prophetess. Here you can visit the Wishing Well and the Petrifying Well where absorbent objects are turned to stone with the passage of time. In the Market Place is the oldest chemist shop, dating back to 1720, with its original fixtures and fittings making it an attraction to visitors and historians. The ruins of Knaresborough Castle are situated on top of a large cliff with breathtaking views of the River Nidd and the Forest of Knaresborough. There are large areas of grass and plenty of seats to sit and relax to absorb the views or to have a picnic. The castle now belongs to the Crown as part of the Duchy of Lancaster. The dungeon and sallyport and also the two storey keep where Richard 2nd was once imprisoned are open to the public. The Courthouse dating back to the 14thcentury is now a museum and features furniture from the original Tudor Court. Market day is on a Wednesday and has been held in the Market Place since 1310. The Nidd viaduct stands 104 feet above the River Nidd and was built in 1848 and closed in 1967. The Nidd Gorge is approximately 3 miles long starting at the viaduct to Grimbald Bridge just south of Knaresborough. The path way along the tree lined gorge is very pretty and is very popular with walkers, cyclists and birdwatchers. Watch out for the wide variety of wildlife such as kingfishers, tree creepers, nuthatches, grey wagtails, dippers and numerous butterflies, mayflies and insects. Watch out for deer too.

We park in Waterside car park. We turn left out of the car park and follow the small road with the River Nidd on our left. We go under the tall railway bridge and then up to the road bridge here we turn left over the bridge and immediately right opposite Mother Shipton’s cave and go onto the path by the Yorkshire Lass pub. We follow the path taking us onto the Harrogate Ringway and cycle path and then crossing a small tarmac track onto Bilton Lane. At Old Bilton we pass the Gardeners Arms pub and then take the old railway line, where there is an information board, and a car park opposite. We follow the railway line until we come to Nidd viaduct you cannot go over the viaduct so here we take a steep narrow path down on the left until we come to the River Nidd. We go under the viaduct and follow the river path into Nidd Gorge. When we come to a bridge over the river we go over it and turn right now with the river on our right. The path soon goes up to a track here we turn right for few hundred yards and then take the path on the right back down to the river. We keep following the river until we have to turn left up a steep path to a housing estate road. Here we turn right and follow this road for a short way to the B6165, Ripley Road, and then turn right. We follow the road to a junction then turn left then right up the hill into Knaresborough. We make our way into the Market Place then up to Knaresborough Castle for a look round before making our way back to Waterside car park.


This is an easy to moderate walk with a short steep decline at Nidd Viaduct. There is also a steep incline and decline along the river and a steep incline from the river up to the road.
The High Street is on a hill and the castle is on a steep hill.


Approx 7.5 miles using OS map 289


Knaresbourough, North Yorkshire.


Market Place, Chapel Street, Fisher Street, Castle Yard, York Place, Waterside, Park Row and Conyngham Hall.


From York take the A59 into Knaresborough.

Toilets and Refreshments

There are public toilets in Knaresbourough at the Bus Station, Castle Yard, York Place car park, Bond End, Waterside and Conyngham Hall car park.
For refreshments there are plenty of pubs, cafe’s etc and shops in Knaresborough and a pub, the Gardiners Arms, a news agents and late night opening Co-op in Old Bilton.

2 responses to “Knaresborough Old Bilton River Nidd Round”

  1. john ferry says:

    i’m just wondering do you know when the viaduct near bilton will be open and where it will end?

  2. Steve says:

    The viaduct opened at the end of April 2013. There’s a tarmac cycleway from Bilton Lane to Ripley, which crosses the viaduct. Easily accessible (lots of family groups using it).

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