Knaresborough is my home town and I feel very blessed to live here. This quaint old market town is full of hidden surprises, as charming, cobbled streets lead you into a world of enchanting tea rooms, independent shops, visitor attractions and spectacular riverside walks. I am also happy to report that Knaresborough is also very dog friendly.
I will write in the future about the dog friendliness of Knaresborough town, but for now I am going to take you on one of my favourite walks with George. If you would like to read my previous post on Walks With George, then please click here. Today we are going to Conyngham Hall which is just a ten minute walk from the town centre and lies just off the A59 Knaresborough to Harrogate Road.
Conyngham Hall Grounds are owned by Harrogate Borough Council, which means they are kept to a high standard with gardeners frequently tending to the beautiful gardens and parkland areas. The grounds run alongside the River Nidd which makes this a particularly pretty area in which to walk. There are also some safe access points down to shallow parts of the river where dogs love to paddle, especially to cool off during the hot summer months.
Conyngham Hall grounds are also a great place to take children as there are lots of activities that will keep all the family happy and entertained for an afternoon. These activities are available March to October and include tennis courts, pitch and putt golf, woodland sculpture walk, crazy golf and a small adventure trail. Public toilets are also available and are located at the entrance to the car park. These are not the best toilets I have seen to be honest, but they are adequate.
There is plenty of pay and display parking, including disabled parking. The car park can get quite busy on a weekend especially during summer months. I would advise you to get there early if you want to be guaranteed a spot. Most of the grounds and parkland in Conyngham Hall are accessible to all but please be aware that there are some parts that are less accessible to wheelchair or pushchair users.
And so to my dog walk with George. This is one of our favourite dog walks and we take this walk every week. George loves to explore in the undergrowth of the mature trees and bushes that surround the park. He loves to run round the large expanse of the open fields and it is a joy to see him bouncing through the grass chasing insects. Of course, he never catches them !
The walk is a simple one and very easy to find. You can do a short walk just to allow your dog to burn off some energy or you can do the full circular walk which takes you over the river to the other side. The longer walk takes about an hour ( depending on how fast you walk or how often your dog stops to investigate another interesting find !)
Simply head from the car park towards the old ruins walking through them to the other side. These ruins date from the nineteenth century when the site was a working farm and have now been opened up and preserved to provide an interesting walk through for the public.
After you pass through these ruins head towards the wooden bridge which crosses the River Nidd. George absolutely hates this bridge as he is scared of any type of wooden decking. I think he dislikes the open slats as he seems to panic if he is able to see through them. I try to encourage him but more often than not I end up having to carry him over this bridge. So if you see a woman struggling to carry a Cavalier Spaniel over the bridge, then that will be me !
Once you get across this bridge ( one way or another ! ) the area opens up into a large expanse of meadow land which all dogs love. Just turn right after the bridge onto the well worn footpath and enjoy the river views, while you dog runs round at a hundred miles an hour. Along here there are a few safe access points for you to get closer to the river if your dog would like a paddle. There are shallow sections of the river along this stretch, so your dog will be safe here for a little paddle.
You can follow the footpath all the way round this field and if you have had enough walking for the day, simply head back to the wooden bridge and back to the car park. Alternatively, you can carry on the walk along well marked footpaths which take you through some beautiful woodland areas, which are perfect for relaxed walking for both humans and dogs !
The footpath eventually brings you to the main road the A59 where you will need to put your dog back on the lead. This is because the only way back to the car park is to walk along the road for a couple of hundred yards, over the bridge until you reach the Ugly Duckling Tearoom, where you then head left, back into the car park.
The Ugly Duckling is a great stop off point for some lunch or just a coffee. The tea room has outdoor and indoor seating, is dog friendly and is a regular haunt for me and George. The lovely staff usually give George some dog treats while I am enjoying my cup of tea and cake, so this iconic Knaresborough tea room definitely gets the thumbs up from George !
I hope you have enjoyed this months Walks With George. Have you visited Knaresborough and Conyngham Hall grounds ? If you ever take this beautiful walk then keep a look out for me and George and say hello ! I will be the one huffing and puffing, carrying the dog across the bridge !
Until next time dear friends