The village of Addingham is situated between Skipton and Ilkley and just one mile from the Yorkshire Dales National Park close to Bolton Abbey making it an ideal starting point for numerous walks in the surrounding countryside.
The Dales Way long distance path starts in nearby Ilkley passing through the edge of Addingham along the River Wharfe on its way north to Bowness-in-Windermere in the Lake District covering a distance of 82 miles.
We weren’t feeling so adventurous as to attempt the entire route, opting instead for a looped walk starting and finishing by the river. Arriving into the village from the direction of Leeds we headed up North Street leading onto Bark Lane where we easily found a parking space close to the start of our walk.
A signposted gap in the stone wall leads onto to a zig-zag path that winds its way down to the riverside. Here families were making the most of the warm, sunny afternoon enjoying picnics on the pebble beach and taking a paddle in the river.
Instead of going down to the beach ourselves we walked across the pedestrian suspension bridge. A bridge was erected in 1897 to allow residents in the hamlet of Beamsley (population 150) to cross the River Wharfe enabling them to attend services at St. Peter’s Parish church in Addingham.
However, in 1936 disaster struck as the original bridge was washed away by floods and the current bridge was built to replace it. The bridge is of an unusual design as its span is much greater than the river itself, presumably to prevent it from being washed away again.
Nowadays the bridge is used mainly by people out for a stroll, dog walkers and to access the beach on the far bank of the river. I would imagine that most of the parishioners in Beamsley now have cars and don’t need to walk two miles across fields to go to church.
After crossing the footbridge we followed a path along the edge of a field. Wharfedale is a delightful part of Yorkshire and as we walked along we enjoyed northerly views across to Beamsley Beacon.
Continuing, we crossed a small stream which joined a narrow track between two dry stone walls that eventually brought us to a minor road by a sharp bend. This old road links Ilkley with the beauty spot of Bolton Abbey and as few cars use it, is popular with cyclists.
Rather than continue further in this direction, we retraced our steps back to the river pausing to admire an attractive farmhouse that had its own stone stile access to the public footpath.
We returned to the other side of the river via the suspension bridge and then turned to the right following the river upstream joining a small section of the Dales Way footpath. It’s a lovely section of the river with stunning views and is ideal on a warm day as the path is mostly shaded by overhanging trees. The aroma of wild garlic filled the air and everything looked so lush and green after a week of constant rain. Fortunately though, the paths were quite dry and we only needed to step around the occasional muddy puddle.
It wasn’t too long before we arrived at Olicana Park which comprises luxury alpine style cabins, traditional stone cottages and static caravans all for holiday rental. The entire site is located in a tranquil spot with its own private beach.
It was such a pity that due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions it was closed otherwise we would have called into their Hamilton’s Cafe/ Bistro overlooking the river for tea and cakes. We were unaware of Olicana Park’s existence before but will definitely be returning once things are up and running again as it looks absolutely lovely.
Sadly being unable to partake in afternoon tea we wandered on a little further before heading up High Mill Lane towards the village centre. Along the slightly busier B6160 we spotted an old milestone tucked under a hedge on a narrow grass verge. I’m a real fan of these old way markers and it is so pleasing to see them restored and freshly painted.
Not only does this road boast a milestone but also a ‘Ducks Crossing’ road sign warning motorists to be on the lookout for pedestrians with webbed feet who might be crossing the road.
A wander through the village centre followed, its old stone cottages looking at their best with doorways adorned with rambling roses and neat gardens ablaze with colour.
We spotted an old traditional red phone box which since taken out of use has been adopted by Addingham Civic Society as a village information point. It’s now equipped with shelves and normally contains leaflets on local activities, events, clubs and societies but was cordoned off when we passed due to the pandemic.
Our afternoon stroll then looped back onto North Street which meets with Bark Lane where we had left the car. Despite all cafes and pubs being closed there was the welcome appearance of an ice cream van parked along the road.
Our gentle stroll had been very pleasant and one I’d happily recommend if you are visiting the area. To access Addingham by public transport take either the X84 between Leeds and Skipton or the 62 service that operates between Ilkley and Keighley.
If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like: