I always find myself fortunate living in North Yorkshire as we have so many amazing walks right on our doorstep. I never have to travel far in order to be walking in stunning countryside. Of course having a dog means I am out in all weathers. Here in the UK this year, we seem to have had a very long winter with many days of grey skies. I don't know about you, but grey skies really affect my mood. A walk in the countryside can be a great antidote to the low mood I find myself in over the winter months.
In this 'Walks With George' post, I would like to tell you about one of our favourite walks close to home. Of course George doesn't seem to mind where he walks. He is happy as long as he has plenty of interesting things to sniff at and investigate.
In today's post I will be featuring a walk around Ripley Castle estate and the surrounding area. Ripley Castle is only a few miles from where I live so this is a regular walk for us. Best of all there is a fabulous tea room at the end of the walk. I always think the incentive of tea and cake at the end of a walk definitely adds to the excitement.
Ripley Castle is situated in the village of Ripley in North Yorkshire. The village lies a few miles north of Harrogate on the A61 to Ripon road. Ripley Castle dates from the 15th century and the castle and grounds are open to the public. Dogs are not allowed in the castle or grounds, but you can still get a great view of the Castle on the walk that is featured on here.
To start the walk we always park in the area around the Castle. If it is busy then there is a large car park on your left hand side as you approach the village centre ( if you are approaching the village from Harrogate ) Parking in the village means you get to see the beautiful church on your left just before you head for the footpath and your walk.
All Saints' Church is a Grade 2 listed building which dates from the 1400's and is worth a look inside for its beautiful stonework or just for five minutes peace.
The start of the footpath for this walk is situated just a little lower down from the entrance to the church opposite a rather impressive turret style building which is part of Ripley Castle.
Making your way down this path, don't forget to keep an eye out for the Castle which stands so proud on the hill side. As you approach the bottom of this hill turn your head right for a fabulous view of the Castle. The walk then takes you around the edge of the castle walls for a while and then into Ripley estate. The path is very well kept and suitable for prams and wheelchairs. It is an easy stroll for most people with no steep inclines.
The path goes through some glorious wooded areas and it almost feels like you have been transported to some magical land. The open countryside views are breathtaking along this walk. There were many little nooks for George to explore and enjoy. You will find yourself stopping every five minutes while your dog carries out his important sniffing job.
Depending on your time schedule you can walk right to the end of the path until it reaches a small lane where there is a sign for Hollybank Lane, Clint Bank, Hampsthwaite and Burnt Yates ( 67 ) We often turn back at this point especially if the weather is poor. The walk is then linear so you return to the Ripley village retracing your steps back along the same path. You may also want to turn back at this point if you have a pushchair or wheelchair as some of the paths further along may be unsuitable.
If you have a little more time then you can carry on following the signs of public footpaths. We followed the signs up to Clint Bank and then Burnt Yates and then on the public footpaths till we reached Whipley Lane.
Going down Whipley Lane brings you back onto Hollybank Lane. Turning left you will then reach Ripley Castle and your original starting point. This walk is a circular walk and can take a couple of hours ( depending on how fast you and your dog walks ! ) If you are unsure of the route then have a look at a local OS map or google the route before you set off. Please be aware that some of this walk is close to farmland so please remember to have your dog on the lead.
Of course the best part to a walk is the refreshment at the end of it and in Ripley village you have two choices. You can visit Ripley Castle Tea Rooms which is dog friendly both inside and outside the Tea Room. There is a specified room inside the Tea Room for dogs. There is a fabulous menu at the Tea Room and in all the times I have visited I have never had a poor meal. Best of all, they also have dog treats to give to your dog and bowls of fresh water are always outside the Tea Room.
If you fancy a more substantial meal with a cool beer then why not try the Boar's Head located close to the castle opposite the church. This is another dog friendly establishment, although it is advisable to take your dog into the bar area via the rear entrance though the beer garden. We have had many wonderful meals in the Boar's Head while George snoozes under the table. I can honestly recommend the steak pie which is the best I have ever tasted.
Whether you do the short walk or the longer walk, this area is fabulous for dog walking. Even the shorter walk is a great walk. If you are new to exercise then this is definitely a good one to choose. The added bonus of a fabulous tea room and traditional pub waiting for you at the end of your walk is another definite plus
Until next time dear friends
Susanna & George x
Ripley Castle, Ripley, North Yorkshire. HG3 3AY.