I’ve actually been here twice in the last couple of months, and took different paths both times, which gives me a bit more to talk about. So that’s good.
So, Skipton Woods, also called Skipton Castle Woods, are some woods in Skipton near the castle, as you could probably gather. They’re owned by the castle, but leased to the Woodland Trust. Going through them isn’t a long walk, even if you take the longest route. It’s just a nice place to wander about in for a bit.
There are three entrances, and I took the same one both times, the main one. This one is in the town centre. You get to it by walking along the Leeds-Liverpool canal, which runs through Skipton. You don’t go along the main body of the canal, it’s called either the Springs branch or Thanet canal, and it, as the first name implies, branches off it. It takes you round the back of the castle, onto this sort of walkway. You’re not in the woods by this point, but it is probably my favourite part of the walk. I really like castles, and it is pretty cool around there. I’m very familiar with Skipton, but I’d never actually been in this part before – not that I can remember – and I was honestly astonished by that fact. I love that little bit of the walk.
Eller Beck also runs behind the castle. It took me a bit of researching to work this out because I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on with the waterways there. I think it’s the canal on one side of the walkway and the beck on the other. The canal comes to an end but the beck flows on, entering the woods. I’m fairly sure that’s what’s going on.
So you pass the castle, then the path leads you to this gate. You go through that, past some holiday cottages, and then you’re at the gate to the woods. There’s one main path that goes right through them, following the beck. There are two other paths going through the woods from the other entrances, with a couple of little paths leading up to them from the main one. The land is very up and down – as in, abruptly up and down – so it’s steeply upwards if you do decided to change paths – or downwards, I guess.
But back to the main path for now. As you first enter the woods the path is to the left of the beck, which is quite far below you. As you walk along it gets closer to the level of the path, until you end up crossing it. You stay on the right side from that point onwards, until you reach the end of the woods, whereupon you can either turn back or pick a new path – though that might result in you ending up at a different exit, if you don’t rejoin the main path at some point.
There’s some stuff to look at along the way. There was a sawmill and a cornmill nearby – in fact, the main entrance is referred to as the sawmill entrance. Water from the beck was used to power these, and there’s a small reservoir called the Round Dam (though, as I’ve discovered seems to apply to most things, it has a couple of other names). Around this area there’s still remnants of the old workings next to the area. Just random metal bits, but I like little bits of leftover history.
And there’s a waterfall too, and waterfalls are always nice.
The first time I went into the woods I did go up to one of the other paths. As I said, it’s very steeply upwards, which means some pretty cool views going up. I went up to the top left path, which you enter at Short Lee Lane, which is the furthest entrance out. It was a pleasant enough walk along there, but there’s nothing particular to note about it.
At the end of the woods the three paths all converge, so I went back along the path on the other side. That one runs close to the edge of the incline, so you get the cool views looking down the whole way.
That one comes out at the Bailey entrance, which is out of the town centre. You just walk down the road, past the castle – the other side of it from before – and you’re back in Skipton.
More photos here. Next month I promise I am going to space out my posts better. I’ve set myself deadlines for getting each one up, and have got underway with the first two. Thanks for reading.