Skipton Castle Woods Visitor Information
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Skipton Castle Woods lie at the heart of town, next to Skipton Castle, one of Britain’s most popular medieval castles.
Following the course of the Eller Beck (a tributary of the River Aire) through a stunning steep-sided valley, the woods link to the High Street by a canal towpath. This forms part of a picturesque circular walk which passes the ramparts of the castle, with a surfaced route that’s suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users. Other paths, some with steep slopes, take you deeper into the wood and offer great views of the valley.
Enjoy spring displays of bluebells and wild garlic, and look out for the many species of wildlife, including green and greater spotted woodpeckers, butterflies, kingfishers, herons and a family of roe deer. The woods are also home to five species of bat, though you are more likely to see them at dusk when they’re out hunting for food.
Also known as Skipton Woods, Castle Wood or Springs Wood, this 36-acre (15 hectare) woodland has had connections with the castle for at least 1,000 years and once provided it with timber, fuel, food and hunting. In more recent times its waterways have powered the town’s wool, corn and saw mills.
Most of this ancient woodland is a mix of broadleaf trees such as oak, ash, lime, alder and beech, though there is also a smattering of Scot’s pine and Norway spruce. As you enter the woods the hustle and bustle of the High Street is left behind and you get a sense of stepping back in time into a beautiful, magical place.
With its wonderful location next to a medieval castle and the charming market town of Skipton, together with the local canal network, river and streams, Skipton Castle Woods is sure to win the hearts of everyone who visits.
Known as the ‘gateway to the Dales’, Skipton overlooks the Aire Gap which separates the Craven limestone dales to the north from the gritstone moors to the south and the pastoral Ribble Valley to the west. Skipton Castle Woods lie in the heart of Skipton, next to Skipton Castle on the northern fringe of Skipton.
OS Explorer 2, Landranger 103, SD990525.
Access and walks
Public access on foot is available throughout the site, while permissive paths follow Eller Beck and watercourses, and the eastern and north-western boundaries. All pedestrian formal routes within the woodland are surfaced, including a picturesque circular walk accessed via the Old Sawmill entrance, which is suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users.
Other surfaced paths run along the north-western and eastern boundaries and exit the woodland at The Bailey. They offer excellent views over and along the wooded valley, but have moderate to steep slopes, a flight of steps and are narrower.
The surfaced paths and newly reinstated bridges allow access for all the family to enjoy the features that this wonderful wood has to offer. You can enter Skipton Castle Woods from three different entrances:
Old Sawmill Entrance – from the south, access is available via Chapel Hill (a private road). Follow the driveway of the Old Sawmill (a private residence) and enter via a gateway with wheelchair access. Here, the water of Sandy Goit and Eller Beck is on either side.
The Bailey Entrance – following a line of Victorian-aged lime trees, this inspiring walk has steep drops to old stone quarries and a viewpoint down to the rounds’ high-level walk overlooking the river valley.
Short Lee Lane Entrance – it is from here, when passing through the area of old pines and spruces among the oaks, that you are most likely to see the family of deer that make the wood their home.
All three approaches connect at the round dam, allowing different options for the return part of your walk.
How to get here
Known as the ‘gateway to the Dales’, Skipton overlooks the Aire Gap which separates the Craven limestone dales to the north from the gritstone moors to the south and the pastoral Ribble Valley to the west. Skipton Castle Woods lies in the heart of Skipton, next to Skipton Castle on the northern fringe of Skipton.
OS Explorer 2, Landranger 103, SD990525.
You can discover more about Skipton by visiting the welcome to Skipton website.
There is an excellent train network centred on Skipton, including the celebrated Settle-Carlisle line and the equally scenic Leeds-Skipton-Morecambe line which goes through Giggleswick and Clapham.
The main railway station is located along Broughton Road, approximately 1.5km from the entrance to the wood.
Bus route stops are close to the entrance to the wood at the top of the High Street.
Further information on public transport is available from traveline.
From the M1 (northbound) take the M62 west, then the M606 to Bradford, A650 to Keighley, and A629 to Skipton. From the M6 (northbound) take the M65 to its end, then the A56 to Skipton. From the M6 (southbound) take the A65 to Skipton.
No parking is available on-site, but Pay and Display parking is available a short walk (0.5km) from the woods off Skipton High Street, to the rear of the Town Hall. Other, slightly more distant parking, is also available in the town.
Public toilets are available at the town centre car park, behind the town hall, including a Radar key accessible toilet. Toilets are also available in the bus station just off Keighley Road and other locations around the town.
Accommodation and tourist information.
To find the nearest accommodation visit TripAdvisor.
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