The Grass Woods near Grassington walk includes a lovely and popular area of woodland. Set beside the River Wharfe the walk is much improved by approaching from the Dales Way path to the east.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has done an excellent job protecting and upgrading the Grass Woods near Grassington. The largest, mainly ash, woodland in the Dales is a truly magical place, ideal for an afternoon stroll along one of the many footpaths which weave their way through the woodland Geologically Grass Woods are set upon a series of limestone terraces and is a place of some historical significance. Fort Gregory is the site of an ancient Brigantean (Brits at the time of the Romans) settlement. However the star of the show is the wonderful flowers which decorate the floor of the woods. For example yellow pimpernel, bluebells and lily of the valley are just three in an area which is a botanist’s delight.
Time of the year is important here. May through early summer being the best time to visit. Deer roam the woods and there is a significant variety of bird life to be seen for those in the know. Examples include woodpeckers, tree creepers and woodcocks, all of which are popular residents. There is a real silence in these woods, different to that in a manufactured coniferous forest, which is pleasant and almost timeless. The wooded area is really not that big. Therefore I would suggest just picking your own route and spending as much time in the woods as you want.
The woods and limestone pavements are lovely and peaceful in direct contrast to busy Grassington or the nearby River Wharfe.
The walk is best done by approaching the woods from the east. As a result the Dales Way long distance path is a perfect start to the walk. Here there is some fine examples of a limestone pavement and good views across Grassington.
A large (pristine as in 2021) gate marks the entry in to the woods. Once you have entered the woods there are a number of paths and tracks to explore. In particular the hill fort is worth finding and from there drop gradually south towards the River Wharfe. The paths may not lead directly where you want but who cares!
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