(courtesy of Yorkshire Post Newspapers)
Distance Approx 5 miles
Maps OS Explorer 297 Lower Wharfdale and Washburn Valley.
Refreshments Gardeners Arms en route and Knaresborough
Parking. A Car park which is one and a quarter miles from Knaresborough on the B6165 Ripley road, first turn left after Appleby Avenue, under power lines.
It can be muddy and uneven in places, so stout boots are recommended.
1. Leave the car park and enter the wooded area at a gate. From the notice board, follow the main track down, bearing left at a Knaresborough Round sign. Cross at a footbridge, and turn right along the riverside path. The path climbs away from the river but returns to it. Where the path divides, bear right and reach a wooden stile at the riverside, 200 yards beyond is a more open, grassy area.
2. Continue by the river for half a mile to the end of a long boardwalk and reach a gap in the fence. Ignore a path climbing up left, but go on 50 yards and climb steps to a signpost (Milners Fork). Go right for Batchelors Gardens and descend to the weir. This is a picturesque spot ideal for a picnic stop, with Scotton Mill on the opposite bank .Keep on for half a mile to a footbridge over a stream-Bilton Beck. Take the path close to the river to reach the Nidd Viaduct of the former Harrogate to Ripon railway.
3 Go under and follow the path which now leaves the river by steps. Continue beside the metal fence to wooden steps. Follow a FP sign right and reach a crossroads of paths. Go left at a signpost on an unsigned but clear path under power lines. Continue through a wooden gap and along the edge of a field, keeping the wood on your right. Shortly after a wooden stile, go right at a FP sign and through the wood. Emerge on a lane near a gate. A few yards beyond here look for wooden steps up to the old railway track. Turn right on it and reach Bilton lane and go left.
4 This is Old Bilton and you soon reach the Gardeners Arms. Keep on the lane. After the Bilton caravan park follow the Beryl Burton cycle way for half a mile and turn off left through a gate at a public footpath on the Harrogate Ringway.
5 Go along the track to a wooden stile where you enter the woods again. Follow the track which bears right before a grey metal gate. After 400 yards, reach a junction of paths, bear right and follow a narrow path down to the riverside. Turn left and follow the path to the footbridge. Cross over and go left and right to return to the car park.
NB Further details on the Bilton caravan park are on this web site.