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Bolton Abbey Estate accessible walk, Yorkshire Dales

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Bolton Abbey
© Peter Lau & Steve Richings
Bolton Abbey
© Peter Lau & Steve Richings
Bolton Abbey
© Peter Lau & Steve Richings
Bolton Abbey
© Peter Lau & Steve Richings

Bolton Abbey Estate Walk

A suggested route by Peter Lau and Steve Richings.

Bolton Abbey lies in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales near Skipton. Within the estate there are over 80 miles of pathways to explore. There are places to eat as well as opportunity to explore the ruins of Bolton Abbey. This is a circular route which can to started at either Bolton Abbey, The Pavillon Café or Barden Bridge.

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The route

I started the route from Barden Bridge, where there is free parking. For this walk I used a Batec and wheelchair combo, which did need a little extra push from my walking companion on some of the hills. Having crossed Barden Bridge the path climbs quite high and there is a sheer drop down on one side that falls away down to the river below. My companion got a good workout on the hills. It is not a route for the faint hearted or less experienced wheelchair user.

Though the Batec coped it did need help. I would recommend a good 4×4 all terrain wheelchair for this section of the walk. The path is reasonable, made of compacted hardcore.

Keep an eye for Pied Flycatchers that nest in the box’s in the trees. After a few miles you will come to the bridge where you can cross to get to the Pavillion Cafe, where there are good facilities and disabled loos. Continue on the path and you will come to a gate and a ford – cross this and then take the gate on your right as you climb up the hill.

Shortly on this path you have the choice of right or left. The path to your right goes downhill, the path to your left goes up. Go left and follow this. Soon you will be rewarded with splendid views of Bolton Abbey. Continue on the path and you will drop down to the bridge near the stepping stones.

Once across the bridge you need to enter the gate into the ruins of the Abbey. Only some of the Abbey is accessible on grassy paths, so be aware. Once again, follow the path that leads onto the Strid. The Strid is a rocky section of the river that narrows massively. Caution: Do not allow children or dogs to go near the Strid, sadly it has claimed far too many people and animals. There is a nice wheelchair viewing platform overlooking the Strid water feature. The path continues on towards a very ornate foot bridge, which you pass under. Otters have been seen in the river around here. Continue up the path and eventually you come back to Barden Bridge.

It is a great circular route but if you want to avoid the steep cliff route through the woodland then stay on this side of the bridge and make it into a linear walk.

Pete’s verdict
I used a Batec and chair combo for this route and I did require some extra push support from my companion Steve. A tramper or TerrainHopper would have no problems on this walk. If you are unsure about your chair handling the steep bits through the woodland then stay on the safe Abbey side of the river. The road around the estate narrows here by Barden Bridge and visibility from cars will be quite poor, drivers won’t expect someone low down to be crossing, so make good use of able companions.

trainNearest Train (or tube) Station(s):
Skipton or Ilkley, Bradford

 Click photos below for more information:

The Woolly Sheep at Skipton, North Yorkshire

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Read the Countryside Code before venturing out
Make sure to take a map and compass, and know how to use them before going into our National Parks #BeAdventureSmart

Tips for New Walkers: click here to download (PDF).

Remember to prepare properly before heading out on any type of walk or outdoor activity. Tell people where you are going and what time you are expected back. As Wainwright says "There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing".