At a time when we’ve all had to stay at home, it is ironic that many of us have never been out walking so much. The one permitted daily outing in early 2020 meant folk were strolling the streets around their home more than ever before. 

Since then, there has been a renewed appreciation of the great outdoors, and a desire to take those steps to scenic spots elsewhere in the city. Of which York has plenty, from the historic centre to beautiful outskirt spaces. Here are six of the best for ramblers new and old to explore.

York City Walls

It is possible to walk York without leaving the centre. York’s walls are a famous ancient Roman relic surrounding the city, and can be walked on a circular 3.4 km route from Bootham Bar to Mickelgate Bar. On the journey you’ll travel back in time and can learn about the city’s rich history, whether on a casual wander or an organised tour. 

Museum Gardens

Still in York’s centre, there is a beautiful tranquil space perfect for a leisurely stroll. Museum Gardens may be a tourist attraction but it offers a special serenity as you meander through botanical plants and trees, beneath species of birds, and besides ancient towers, forts and the evocative remains of St Mary’s Abbey.

Rowntree Park

Only a short walk from the city centre is a longer walk at the lovely Rowntree Park. Situated on the banks of the River Ouse, this 30 acre open space is popular for a variety of activities, such as tennis courts, bowling green and skate park, but particularly for a relaxed ramble through the beautifully maintained grounds. So much so that there are free guided nature walks available from the Friends of Rowntree Park community group. 

Moorlands Woodland Nature Reserve

To the north of York is a part of the ancient Forest of Galtres that is immersed in the beauty of nature. A walk through this 7 hectare Edwardian woodland will encounter plants, mammals and birds; the Spring is awash with colour from primrose and rhododendron, the Summer sights brown bats, whilst Winter spots woodpeckers amongst the many delights at Moorlands Woodland Nature Reserve.

Northwood Trail

Northwood Trail is a unique day out for all the family to enjoy. This place is a magical fairy sanctuary which will entice the kids, whilst the trail of this hundreds acre woodland will find all ages connecting with nature. It is a chargeable attraction and membership is available, but worth it for that walk with a difference.

Danes Dyke

The York postcode spreads out to the North York Moors and the east coast, both of which have so many glorious places to go walking that this article would never end. So, the one we’ve chosen is something special: a nature reserve which runs 4km across Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs, Danes Dyke is a Scheduled Ancient Monument of national importance. The stunning walk here explores woodland trails and magnificent seashore. 

Even without heading out to the moorland rambles and coastal hikes, there are so many open spaces to walk in York. As well as those above, places like Fulford Ings, Askham Bog, and New Earswick and St. Nick’s Nature Reserves will keep you going all year every year. Keep on strolling on! 


Images: Museum Gardens, Northwood Trail, York City Walls