The Roberts Family

Up'n'over: A circular walk through Skipton Castle Woods

Circular: The canal junction → Canal towards Liverpool → Aireville Park → Uphill through housing estate → Skipton Castle Woods → Back along Springs Branch canal.
(No phone signal in woods and it can be a bit muddy!)


This is our daily walk. It takes an hour and 15 minutes.

From the canal junction you walk along the towpath then through Aireville Park. After the park it's uphill through the estate in order to reach to the top of Skipton Castle Woods.


You then walk the length of the woods past beck, weir and pond.

Finally we use the elevated walkway between Eller Beck and the Springs Branch Canal to walk back into town. Excellent views of Skipton castle on the way.

Along The Canal To Aireville Park

If you are starting from the Freddie Trueman statue by the canal junction then the first thing you have to do is get across to the far side of the canal over by the 'finger post'. There's no shortcut, so you have to go up on to the bridge, along Coach Street, over Belmont Bridge and down onto the opposite towpath via Belmont Wharfe.


Now walk along the canal in the Liverpool direction past the first swing bridge with the traffic lights, then along to the second bridge that leads into the park.

Through The Park And The Housing Estate

We are going to leave the park by the Gargrave Road exit at the top of the field to the right. So just follow the main path until you see a turn to the right uphill between some trees. Or take a diversion around the top end of the park if you wish to have a look.

This next bit of the walk is through a housing estate! It's very pleasant but not an obvious tourist destination. But it's uphill which is good if it's exercise you're after. And it gets us to where we want to be to enter the woods.


So exit the park, cross the Gargrave Road and walk all the way up Rockwood Drive until you get the T-junction with Raikeswood Drive.

Turn left then, over the brow, go left then right into Raikes Road. Then turn right up into Tarn Moor Crescent. Watch out for an alley down to the left which will lead you to the Grassington Road.

Carefully cross this road (traffic zooms around the corner) onto Short Lea Lane - the farm track opposite

Skipton Castle Woods

The woods are the highlight of the walk. They are a little bit of countryside right next to Skipton town centre.

Walk along the farm track to the end. Then through the gate into the woods. Follow the main path as it goes round the northern edge of the woods. I have seen deer along this section. You will see paths off to the right which lead down steep steps. These shorten the route, but we are going to carry on along the main path.

(These constructions often appear in the woods, yet I have never seen anyone building them. So the best I can figure is that the sasquatch, who must surely live in the woods, make them during the night, as sleeping dens.)

Eventually you will encounter this full size wicker statue of a horse. We call him Dobbin. Then totter down the steep slope with a hand rail.

At the bottom turn right and go up a little slope until you see another statue. We call this one Stig. Cross Eller Beck via the footbridge, then turn right towards town.

The beck can run fast here after rain.


Now walk along the straightish section of the beck until you arrive at the pond known as the 'Round Dam'. At this point briefly leave the main path and go up the right to take a look at the water cascading over the weir. I once saw a mink and a heron having a heated debate here. Presumably about who owned the fishing rights.

Return to the main path. Here you will see the steps mentioned previously coming down from the right. Carry on in the same direction crossing over the wider vehicle bridge.

Now you are between two water courses. The main beck is down to the left, obviously, and to your right is the 'leat' or 'goit' - a man-made channel to carry water to the mill pond which supplies water to the water wheel which we will see later.

The banks here turn white with wild garlic in the spring.

Keep following your nose and you will eventually come to the final statue. I believe she is called The Huntress, but we call her Queen Susan. Walkers decorate her with flowers in the spring time.

Go down the slope and out of the woods through the iron gates.

Sawmill, Castle and Canal

The treats are not yet over. Great views of the castle coming up.

Walk past the holiday cottages of the Old Sawmill. Then beware! This is the one place where you might go the wrong way. When the road bends to the right, watch out for a gap in the corner, between hedge and wall. Pass through it, then cross a further footbridge.

Follow the elevated walkway. Soon you will have the canal on your left and the beck on your right. What an unusual path!


I'm confident you'll agree that the views of the castle are impressive. Look for the place where the canal has been blocked by a rock fall.

Continue along the path until you come to the mill complex. Watch out on the right for the water wheel. Some days it is turning. Often it is not.

Now just keep following the towpath. Pass under Mill Bridge, then along the towpath with canal one side and beck the other. Pass under the Coach Street Bridge and you're back where you started.

We hope you enjoy this walk as much as we do.

Click here to download my .gpx file.

Click here to download my sketch map of Skipton Castle Woods.