The River Nidd south of Pateley Bridge winds its way slowly through some attractive countryside. Some of the villages still show reminders of the areas industrial heritage.
Downriver from Pateley Bridge walking along the River Nidd is a real pleasure. The paths are good and stick unusually close to the water. However after two and a half miles walking the east bank I was after some variety and headed inland. This took me through Smelthouses and towards the lovely woodland of Fell Beck. This is one of the most attractive areas of deciduous woodland in the Dales. I have also included Fell Beck on the walk to Brimham Rocks which is barely one mile away. Smelthouses is of course named after the ‘smelt’ mill built by the monks of Fountains Abbey.
At Smelthouses the walk joins the Nidderdale Way, which is an excellent long distance footpath. Follow it all the way back to Pateley Bridge. The Way follows a high line when it leaves the woods, along quiet lanes and with some excellent views over Nidderdale and the surrounding countryside. The villages of Glasshouses, Blazefield and little Smelthouses add even more variety to what is a highly enjoyable exploration of lower Nidderdale, a very underrated area.
The River Nidd itself flows gently through the area south of Pateley Bridge. Of all the Dales rivers I find it the most tranquil. Even in Upper Nidderdale it is not overly vigorous. From this walk south of Pateley Bridge the river meanders towards Knaresborough before meeting the River Ouse in the Vale of York.
Spend some time exploring the villages on the walk, particularly Yorkshire Country Wines in Glasshouses Mill.
Follow the river from Glasshouses and head for Smelthouses on the second path alongside a small stream. This takes you directly in to the village.
Further on in the trees follow the signs for the Nidderdale Way.
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