Trail Length – 2km
Family Friendly walks in and around York and North Yorkshire
Check out our Blog with 50 family friendly walks in and near York – they are listed by distance from York.
We give details of how long they should take, whether they are pram friendly, dog friendly, any cost involved, car parking and loads more useful information.
The gardens, galleries, restaurant, shop and play area are open. The rest of the hall remains closed. National Trust members and under fives are free, all other prices and opening details can again be found online. Please check the website for all the information you will need to plan and enjoy your visit.
A place of reinvention; evolving gardens and changing art exhibitions.
Beningbrough, York, North Yorkshire, YO30 1DD
Distance from York: 15 miles
Grounds and Skelf Island are open with restrictions in place. You must BOOK ONLINE prior to going
Castle Howard is a magnificent historic house in the north of England, the 18th century residence is set within 1,000 acres of breath taking landscape in Ryedale.
The grounds include lakes, fountains, temples and woodland (with children’s trails) as well as formal walled garden and children’s adventure playground making Castle Howard the perfect family day out.
The Boathouse is a lovely place for an ice cream, tea and cake – near the playground too!
Castle Howard, The Estate Office, Castle Howard, York, YO60 7DA
Follow the Gruffalo Spotters trail at Dalby Forest, spot the signs and see what creatures you can find! With the amazing new Gruffalo Spotter 2 app, fun activity pack and trail, you’ll get to interact with all your favourite characters as you go in search of the Gruffalo in the deep dark wood.
1. Download the new Gruffalo Spotter 2 app
2. Get your paws on the Gruffalo Spotter trail activity pack
Head to the visitor centre to grab your activity kit, packed with fun things to do to help you spot the Gruffalo.
To keep visitors and our staff safe we are asking that people make contactless payments when buying their activity packs and wear a face covering during the purchase (£3.50).
3. Follow the trail
The trail at Dalby Forest starts the World Cup Car Park near Adderstone Field. Complete fun family activities and learn about each animal from the book as you follow the new interactive trail.
There are also rubbings to complete and other characters to look out for as you go! Use the app to see the characters appear in the forest around you.
Dalby Forest, Dalby Visitor Centre, Low Dalby, Thornton-Le-Dale, Pickering YO18 7LT
Moorlands is a beautiful small woodland with the extra attraction of a spectacular collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, some of which are very old, large and unusual. These provide a bumper display of flowers from March to the end of June accompanied by a carpet of snowdrop, bluebell, primrose and wood sorrel. This gem of a reserve is located 5.5 miles from York city centre.
Wooden sculptures and a family explorer trail lead a journey around this magical woodland; picnics can be enjoyed at the toadstool circle! There’s a short circular walk around the reserve which is roughly 1km (0.6miles) long with plenty of opportunities to sit, rest and enjoy this wonderful place. Please stay on marked paths and take any litter home with you.
Please note: the reserve is open at all times except from 9am and 5pm every Tuesday beginning from 20th April 2021 until further notice. Please see our website for further updates –https://www.ywt.org.uk/nature-reserves/moorlands-nature-reserve
Location: Moor Lane, York, YO32 2RE
Access is through gates off Moor Lane. Permissive footpaths may be muddy. Accessible for wheelchair users and pushchairs. There are numerous benches on the reserve to take a rest.
For 8-10 cars either side of the reserve entrance is in a narrow layby beside Moor Lane. Firm surface of compacted gravel by the reserve entrance. The verge opposite is muddy and poorly surfaced.
Dogs are not permitted at this nature reserve.
OPEN Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday WITH RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE, lovely open air destination.
MAY HALF TERM – Open Monday 31st May and Tuesday 1st June 2021 during half term as well as normal days.
Join us at Northwood and enjoy the beautiful fairy trail in spring sunshine, the perfect combination of imagination and fresh air. Our fairy museum will also be showing an exhibition of spring fairies and have an additional scavenger trail of spring hares.
Northwood Trail is nestled in a 100 acre wood at Buttercrambe close to York and this delightful woodland fairy sanctuary is the first of its kind in the world. The eco-aware sanctuary is off grid and, quite uniquely, designed to appeal to adults as much as children. As well as a beautiful woodland trail, it also includes an intriguing Fairy Museum, to display what is believed to be the world’s largest collection of fairy artefacts, collected over many years by owners Carolyn and Christian.
Northwood is about fostering a connection to nature, at its most beautiful and magical. The woodland trail winds through 1.5km of old fairy paths, peppered with fairy tree houses, stump houses, a willow walled maze and Elven thrones. There is also a natural play area for smaller children and den building for older kids.
In keeping with the sustainable ethos, a stylish woodland kitchen will be serving organic teas and coffees as well as healthy and delicious local food.
Limited pre allocated slots making for a calmer experience.
Buttercrambe Wood YO41 1AP
Why not walk from Rowntree park to Homestead park?
Download the map here: Childrens Walking Map which has things for children to spot on the way.
The walk takes approximately 1 ½ hours. The last section is not suitable for wheelchairs or large buggies, but an alternative route is suggested.
Wheldrake Wood is located to the south east of York just close to the Village of Wheldrake. It takes around 20-25 minutes to drive there from the city centre and the closest bus is the Number 18 to Wentlock Arms Stop.
There are a huge range of trees and it’s great for a walk with children – also dog friendly. Buggies are fine on the main track which is wide and gravelly.
Here is what the Mumbler’s Say:
“There is parking at wheldrake woods but recently I’ve noticed it starts to really fill up from about 11am. There are a couple of extra spaces a bit further down road (direction of wheldrake) where there is a clearing near a gate (which leads into another walk). The route can be circular if you go off on the side paths (I did this the other day with five year old and dog, took about an hour) but might be worth sticking to main track if you don’t know it so well and just turn back when you feel like it. I would def take a buggy which will be fine down the main track which is wide and gravelly. They are lovely woods for a good walk. We go there a lot xx”
MH June 2020
Broad Highway, Wheldrake, YO19 6BG
If you’re looking for more walks and ideas of places to go then check out the York Mumbler Blog on 50 family friendly walks around York and beyond.
Distance from York: 25 miles
Nature Themed Gardens, Trails & Play at Wolds Way Lavender & Nature Farm
Pre Booking required.
Enjoy the outdoors together at the Beautiful Lavender & Nature Farm, with seasonal activities ensuring lots to keep the family entertained.
Help Woldie Willow with his Butterfly count, bee keeping and bird spotting.
Weave through Woldie Willows Living Willow Maze.
Miniature railway, Football golf, Giant games, Timber trail, Den zone Building, Giant sandpit and much more!
New for 2021
Now serving a delicious selection of sandwiches, cakes & tray bakes. Variety of Coffee’s, Tea’s & Hot Chocolates.
Free Parking. Gift Shop & Plant Sales. Toilets, Disabled Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities. Dogs welcome on a lead.
Tel. 01944 758641
Open DAILY (10am – 4pm)
Wolds Way Lavender
Just of the A64 between Malton & Scarborough
If you don’t mind travelling that little bit further then don’t forget the Out of York page for Day’s out ideas that little bit further afield.
A small woodland which makes a welcome break in an otherwise urban landscape. Acomb Wood Drive dissects this site from the larger part of the wood to the east. The greater spotted woodpecker, tawny owls and tree creepers have been spotted here. Parking available at the quaker wood pub car park.
Acomb Wood Drive, York, YO24 3XN
Distance from York: 14 miles
Large lake with canoes, paddle boards and boats to hire, circular walk around the lake and a shallow area of the lake roped off that you can paddle in. Also an Aqua Park – inflatable obstacle course on the lake. Open water swimming available. Also a good playpark and cafe with children’s menu.
£3 per person/ £8 for a family entry, hire items for the water additionally. Pre-book in advance only. Open Tuesday – Sunday 9.00am – 5.00pm, and bank holiday Mondays.
Melbourne Road, Allerthorpe, Pocklington, York YO42 4RL
T: 01759 301444
Askham Bog is great for birdwatching, butterflies and wildflowers. Permissive footpaths all the way round so accessible to wheelchairs and prams. Dogs must be kept on a lead.
Public Transport – Buses stop adjacent to the nature reserve on the A64 and in the nearby village of Copmanthorpe. A cycle track links to both York and Tadcaster. Directions – Approaching York on the eastbound A64 take the A1036 turn off and then turn sharp left in the car park just after the first set of traffic lights.
Just off the A1036, York, North Yorkshire, YO23 2UB
Distance from York: 17 miles
Brayton Barff woodland is a very popular recreation destination for visitors who head there to walk their dogs, enjoy the beautiful scenery and take a gentle stroll. The 1¼ mile circular route flows through densely wooded areas, some of which is ancient woodland. A car park is situated off Barff Lane, west of Brayton near Thorpe Willoughby.
Brayton Barff, Barff Lane, Brayton
Distance from York: 16 miles
Open 10am-5pm – prebooking only. 9 acres of land, comprising 2 lakes and a National Collection of over 100 varieties of Hardy Water Lily.
Clifton Backies Nature Reserve is located in historic York. In May 2002 Clifton Backies was designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) because of its diverse wildlife, its recreational open space and its potential for education. Friends of Clifton Backies hold regular events such as pond dipping, wildflower/butterfly walks.
Car park off Water lane / Woodland Chase, York , YO30 6RE
Curious About York is a journey of discovery: an exciting glimpse into what makes this fabulous city what it is.
Have fun (re-)discovering York, spotting things you’ve never noticed before, with two quirky treasure hunt style heritage walks – a safe, fun and affordable way to get some fresh air. Visit our website to buy in printed booklet or instant download format, using code Mumbler20 for 20% off all purchases.
Distance from York: 32 miles
Enjoy a classic spring walk in the so-called ‘Daffodil Dale’ to see Farndale’s glorious wild daffodils. It’s a straightforward 3½-mile linear route alongside the enchanting River Dove, from Low Mill to Church Houses and back. Depending on the weather, the daffodils are usually out between mid-March and mid-April, but this is a charming walk at any time of year.
Low Mill Car Park for Farndale Daffodil Walk, North York Moors National Park, Low Mill, York, YO62 7UY
Distance from York: 30 miles
Set within the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, this World Heritage Site offers a great day out for all the family. Hidden within the Skell valley, you’ll find the magnificent ruins of the once great Fountains Abbey and a Georgian pleasure ground to delight your senses. This breathtaking landscape is also home to a Jacobean Manor House, Medieval Deer Park, Victorian church and Cistercian mill.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Estate, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY
T: 01765 608888
Distance from York: 7 miles
Hagg Wood is an area of woodland of 107 acres (43Ha), to the east of Dunnington, York towards the River Derwent. The wood was established as a Community Woodland in 2003. The Forestry Commission manages the wood in consultation with the Friends of Hagg Wood. Mumblers report reports bluebells to see in Springtime.
Please park in the village and walk down to enjoy the lovely woods.
Hagg Wood, Dunnington
Used for grazing in the summer months but is also a valuable area for wildlife and flora, as well as a recreational area for dog-walkers, footballers, cyclists, pedestrians, birdwatchers and many others. Friends of Hob Moor website has a list of wildlife to look for.
Hob Moor Drive, York, YO24 4JU (Various points of access)
A lovely medium sized woodland, popular with dog walkers. Knavesmire woods has a path running from Bracken Road through to the cycle path that goes past the racecourse. Parking can be busy but you can usually get a space on Bracken Road – although it’s a residential area. Knavesmire Wood is an area of 13.8 acres (5.6 hectares) of mature broadleaved woodland just outside the south-west corner of the Knavesmire.
Knavesmire Wood can be accessed from Bracken Road (YO24 1JT), Dringthorpe Road (YO24 1LF), the Knavesmire, National Cycle Route 65, and Bishopthorpe Road (near Middlethorpe Hall).
Partially open. Visitors can enjoy the grounds, gardens and deer park (10am-8pm) and the cafe is operating a takeaway service (9:30am-5pm). The hall, playground and toilets remain closed.
Distance from York: 15 miles
Lotherton is a very popular place attracting over 3/4 of a million visitors each year
(Wildlife World, House and Chapel, Grounds and Gardens, Outdoor Play, Indoor Play)
Off Collier Lane, Aberford, Leeds LS25 3EB
T: 0113 378 2959
Nature reserve with a pushchair friendly flat path, sculptures, a sun dial, orchard, walkways through trees, dens built in the wooded parts, lots of sheep and lambs and you can see trains passing on the nearby railway line.
Church Lane, Nether Poppleton, York, YO26 6LF
Nature reserves are specific areas where plants, animals and wildlife are protected to allow everything to thrive and great places to visit whatever the weather and time of year.
Nature reserves have pledged to stay open during the coronavirus outbreak with the National Trust, RSPS and the Wildlife Trusts saying that nature reserves will remain available for everyone to enjoy a walk, fresh air and the nature around us during the restrictions. Cafes, visitor centres and other facilities may be closed depending upon restrictions, so please check before you set off if you have specific needs/requirements.
Please put safety first on your family walks and keep at least 2 metres apart from other people when you are out. Government guidelines about what you can and can’t do can be found here. Please take time to read and follow the guidelines.
This ten-acre site of mixed woodland and ancient meadow is a green haven in the middle of a large housing estate and is managed by the Woodland Trust. It offers a small area of nature in an otherwise urban landscape. Plenty of birds have made it their home, so don’t forget your binoculars!
🗺 Location: Acomb Wood Close, York
🚘Parking: Car park available nearby
🐶Dogs: Welcome but keep under close control
ℹ️Find out more: Woodland Trust website
The boardwalk is a short loop so perfect for little legs and pushchairs. If you decide to venture off the boardwalk, you will need wellies and it is very boggy with some deep pools and ditches.
Check out our Mumbler Review of Askham Bog before you set off!
“Askham Bog is a lovely walk but it’s not very long! There is a wooden walkway round tho so it’s not muddy!” Mumbler AC
🗺Location: Just off the A1036, York, YO23 2UB
🚘Parking: Car park available at the entrance of the reserve
🐶Dogs: Must be kept on a lead
ℹ️Find out more: YWT website
Clifton Backies was designated as a Nature Reserve in 2002 and is situated between Bootham Stray and Water Lane in Clifton. It has been used for various things over the years, from arable fields to an airfield in World War II. There are still some surviving historical features such a the ridges and furrows created by medieval ox ploughs and the concrete airfield paths and some old blast shelters.
“It’s fairly small so fine for little ones. We stuck to main paths but there was some we didn’t explore. Nice big grass area which ours played on too.” Mumbler LT
🗺Location: Just off Water Lane, York
🚘Parking: Small car park at the entrance
🐶Dogs: Dogs are welcome
ℹ️Find out more: Friends of Clifton Backies website
Hob Moor was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2003 and is an 89-acre site of mainly unimproved pastureland, with a small area of raised sandy heath in the north-east corner. Cattle graze on the main expanse of the Moor from May to October.
🗺Location: Hob Moor, one of the ancient commons of York, is situated between Acomb, Holgate and Dringhouses; it is 1.5 miles south-west of the Minster, not far from the Racecourse.
🚘Parking: Off-street parking available
🐶Dogs: Dogs are welcome
ℹ️Find out more: Friends of Hob Moor website
Moorlands is a small woodland, very popular with Mumblers! There is a lovely trail for children to follow and the fact it is a safe enclosed woodland, makes it perfect for young explorers of nature. There is a huge collection of rhododendrons, some of which are very old.
“Moorlands Nature Reserve is a lovely little walk, tree house to play on”. Mumbler CP
🗺Location: Moor Lane, York, YO32 2RE
🚘Parking: Limited off-street parking is available outside the woodland
🐶Dogs: No dogs permitted
ℹ️Find out more: YMT website
At St Nicks, you can discover 24 acres of green space on the site of a former rubbish tip. It has been a Nature Reserve since 2004 in order to maintain and conserve a wide range of habitats. Just a mile from the city centre, it is situated between an industrial area and a housing estate. It will come as no surprise to hear that the Environment Centre remains closed during the latest lockdown. The nature reserve, however, remains open for exercise and wildlife spotting!
“St Nicholas fields off Hull road/Melrosegate or can enter on foot from the cycle track or the end of Hazel court. Can get a bit muddy but is a great oasis in the midst of the housing area.” Mumbler KU
🗺 Location: bottom of Maple Grove, York, YO10 3FW
🚘 Parking: Off-street parking available
🐶 Dogs: Yes but must be on leads or close control
ℹ️Find out more: Saint Nicks website
“It’s lovely there and lots of parking… it is known to have a fabulous population of adders, which is great, but I would definitely recommend wearing shoes/boots not sandals and long trousers. But I want to stress any encounter with an adder is very rare as they often get out of the way long before you see them.” Mumbler KB
🗺Location: Common Road, Strensall, York, YO32 5YB
🚘Parking: Roadside parking. A central parking point is by the Common Road level crossing.
🐶Dogs: Yes but must be on leads
ℹ️Find out more: YMT website
Don’t let winter put you off getting out and about. There is still plenty of nature to look for and The Wildlife Trust has an amazing Winter Wildlife & Activity Guide available here. You could:
There is so much to see in spring when nature starts bursting to life again. Why not enjoy playing spring bingo with this sheet from the RSPB? The Wildlife Trust also has a great list of things to look out for in Spring from bluebells to woodpeckers and hares to woodland butterflies. You could also:
In summer you can enjoy the sunshine and all the colour that nature offers. The Wildlife Trust has a great list of things you can spot in summer. The Woodland Trust also has some great activities to try in summer. You could also:
This time of significant change in nature is a brilliant time to learn even more about what is going on around you. As the leaves and seeds start to fall there are plenty of treasures to collect. The Woodland Trust has some great craft ideas for all those fallen leaves you collect on your travels. You could also:
❄️🌷☀️🍁 We hope you enjoy getting out and about and enjoying your local nature reserves whatever the season! ❄️🌷☀️🍁
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like our Family Walking in York section or one of our posts about walking below!
Distance from York: 24 miles
The sound of children’s joyful laughter rings out as they swing, play, ride, splash, and run in Newby’s legendary Adventure Gardens. A perfect place to meet up with friends; eat, discover, relax, shop and smile all in the stunning setting of Newby Hall. A day with us is a rare thing…truly a day that the whole family will enjoy.
Newby Hall, Skelton-on-Ure, Ripon HG4 5AE
T: 01423 322583
Distance from York: 22 miles
Picturesque Yorkshire manor house with organic garden and exciting exhibitions.
Nunnington, York YO62 5UY
T: 01439 748283
Some 2000 trees and 1,500 woodland shrubs were planted during the establishment of the Country Park. Developing woodland includes willow, birch and pine with oak and ash. Hawthorn, blackthorn and dog rose thickets give nesting cover and food for an increasing range of birds. The climbing boulder is open for use by the public all day, every day and is free of charge.
Facilities: Country Park office/classroom, children’s play area, toilets at Park and Ride
“Recommended a walk around the pond (lake) at Rawcliffe Country Park”
GH, Jan 19
“We have just been round Rawcliffe lake this morn with scooters, its tarmac all the way so it is nice, flat and safe for bikes and scooters”
KH, Jan 19
Rawcliffe Bar Country Park, A1237, York YO30 5RR
T: 01904 883991
You can walk from Millennium Bridge down into town and there is a path all the way so good for buggies.
You pass Rowntrees park with a great play area on the way as well as the reading cafe in the park if you want to stop for a drink or something to eat too.
Millennium Bridge, York, YO10 4FZ
Distance from York: 10 miles
Skipwith Common National Nature Reseve is one of the last remaining areas of northern lowland heath in England. An incredible variety of plants and animals depend on the Common for their survival. The 270 hectares of open heath, ponds, mire, fen, reed-bed,woodland and scrub are an ancient landscape, with its roots in pre-history.
The first part of the walk is along a track that would be suitable for most buggies except in the worst weather. Dogs are allowed on the walk but must be kept on a lead. There is parking at the start of the walk, head out of the village on ‘Common Road’ and it’s approx 1 mile on the right.
Postcode: YO8 5SG
This scale model of the Solar System is spread out along 6.4 miles of the old East Coast main-line railway. Along it you can find scale models of all the planets in our solar system as well as models of the Cassini and Voyager spacecraft. The track is a wonderful nature reserve with many different species of trees along the way, and an abundance of wild life to see and hear.
Route goes via Brunswick Organic Nursery & various pubs for refreshments.
https://www.york.ac.uk/solar/index.html for more information.
Open all year.
Come and explore 24 acres of unique green space. Many birds live on or visit the nature reserve. There is a great variety of plant species, insects like butterflies, trees and shrubs.
St Nicks, St Nicks Environment Centre (formerly York Environment Centre), Rawdon Avenue, York, YO10 3FW
T: 01904 411821
Distance from York: 8 miles
The nature reserve supports a mosaic of wet heath, dry heath, mire, open water, woodland and acid grassland. Over 150 plant species grow here including marsh cinquefoil, the beautiful blue marsh gentian and carnivorous round-leaved sundew. Great for a family day out, butterflies & wildflowers
Common Road, York, North Yorkshire, YO60 7QY
York Glass is the home of York Lucky Cats where we celebrate the York Cat story. You can pick up a leaflet from the shop on the Shambles.
34 Shambles, City Centre, York, YO1 7LX
T: 01904 541122
This is a great buggy friendly walk at the racecourse as it’s got a path all the way around.
Accessed easily from Tadcaster road, by the side of the Holiday Inn, there is always plenty of parking space too.
Popular with dog walkers, it’s a great place to wander round with the children while looking at the racecourse stands or (if you time it right) see the hot air balloons taking off!
Knavesmire Road, York, YO231EX
Explore some of the hidden treasures of York Museum Gardens. Follow The Squirrel’s Trail of 10 fascinating fact points!
Follow the interactive trail and take part in our online quiz at the end. Find the Questions at…
Museum Street, York, YO1 7FR
Free parking on weekends and evenings. Lots of wildlife to look at across both East and West campus.
University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD
T: 01904 430000
There aren’t many better things to do with kids than get out into the great outdoors for a walk. York has lots of great walks and woodlands and we’ve got some of the best options listed HERE
Big skies, often full of whirling flocks of birds, stretch out above you, which the wide green expanse of floodplain meadows go for as far as the eye can see. The Derwent flows quietly by, reeds rustle in the breeze and a mysterious ‘plop’ in the ditches might signal a pike, water vole or even otter. In fact, at times in the centre of Wheldrake Ings, it can be so peaceful and remote that you feel like the only person on earth.
Walking information: Permissive footpaths. Keep to footpaths as there are areas of deep water. The ground is often soft and slippery.
Ings Lane, York, North Yorkshire, YO19 6AX
Kilburn White Horse is the most northerly turf-cut figure in Britain and one of the most famous landmarks in North Yorkshire.
(Free car park: YO61 4AL, but a steep walk)
Sutton Bank Visitor Centre, Thirsk, YO7 2EY
T: 01845 597426
Distance from York: 16 miles
Yearsley woods is nice and scenic .There is also a lake.
Yearsley Woods, North Moor Lane, York, YO61 4SL
Please note there is a one-way system in place.
Children can enjoy following the route via the golden disks on the floor and remember to take some paper and crayons so they can complete the map rubbings at each of the bars. The walls go most of the way around the city, just having to get down to street level a couple of times. Not strictly buggy friendly but I know many who have managed it fine. Always a friendly visitor or local on hand to help!
Distance from York: 15 miles
A stunning landscape of parkland, lakes and ponds is the backdrop for a collection of more than 6,000 trees from around the world. Wander off to explore peaceful hidden glades and wildflower meadows, let the children go wild in the woodland playground and enjoy the very best in seasonal, home-cooked food in the café.
The Yorkshire Arboretum, Castle Howard, York, YO60 7BY
T: 01653 648598
Distance from York: 13 miles
Walk amongst the lavender flowers, with their stunning array of different colours, a truly wonderful experience.
Come and see our unique Lavender Maze, wander in the Parkland, sit and admire the fabulous views and watch the fallow deer nearby.
We have lavender and herbs for sale, EJ’s Tea Room, Gift Shop, award-winning lavender gardens, deer park and sculpture park. Our panoramic view over the Vale of York is said to be one of the best in Yorkshire!
Yorkshire Lavender, Terrington, York, YO60 6PB
T: 01653 648008