One of my favourite walks is a local walk that starts a couple of hundred meters from my home. The walk leads to a local Hall and forest. The forest is nice to walk around with an excellent viewing area that can be amazing at times. With the very poor weather we have had over the last week I decided that I would have a walk around Dalby Forest. I'd looked at this area before as a possible walk so the poor weather made for a good excuse.
The drive to the area took just over an hour. There is a toll road through the forest, although on Sundays they didn't seem too interested in collecting. The Dalby Forest Visitors Centre has a reasonably sized car park so no issues here. There's a cafe, toilets, visitors centre and shops. Pretty early on after arriving I realised that this area is very much geared towards cycling (pardon the pun).
|Looking towards the car park and visitors centre.|
I had a good look around the maps dotted about to see what routes there were that they recommended and compared them to my OS map. To be quite honest I was displeased at this point. There is a large number of footpaths around the forest but the organisation that posts the maps around the area seem to me to be putting walkers on little circular walks and cyclist on the large routes around the forest. Now I have no issue with the cyclists on these paths. The paths are very wide and I don't mind giving them room as it's easier for me to get out of their way than visa versa. (Plus, with walkers and now all these cyclists, any fights for access rights will probably have more support.) But I do have issue with the poor walkers maps on the site. So I stuck to a route on my map. The signs around the forest itself are spot on and help a lot with navigating.
|Path through to Dalby Court Yard.|
I initially took what was sign posted as a yellow route that took me around the back of Dalby Court Yard. This path was the toughest section all day wound nicely through the forest. This was possibly the only place where I had any kind of view of the surroundings other than later on.
|One of the limited views.|
On the way through this area you also come across what must be some quite old trees. One tree was between 3 and 4 feet thick.
|This tree was 3 to 4 feet thick.|
The path winds its way back down to the main path that goes south from Dalby Court Yard. Continuing south around two miles south of the car park the path heads around eastward. Be careful here if you plan to follow the OS map that you follow the correct road (rigg around here). At the point where the path heads around the southern end of the forest there is a hide. The hide looks out across a nature reserve and is well worth a visit.
|The main path from Dalby Court Yard south through the forest.|
Where the hide is located there is a split in the path. The left hand path is the path marked on the OS map which follows Sand Dale.
It's pretty straight forward from her as you follow the path which heads steadily north. The path passes some interestingly named places, including 'Shoulder of Mutton'.
|Shoulder of Mutton, sounds yummy.|
At the top of this section of path, around 2 to 3 miles you come to a T-junction. Taking a left and heading west for a few hundred meters I came to Housedale Rigg. From here I made my my way back to the car park a couple of miles away.
|Speaks for itself really.|
At this point I was glad I did. I'd spent the entire walk with a single layer on up top, no gaiters gloves or hat. The sun had been out most of the time and only the odd shower. But typical, it had to come down heavy at some point. not for long, but for long enough to see me back to the car. Oh well, at least the weather had been a lot better than the previous week. (And my sympathy's to anyone around their affected by the rivers and floods. The Wharfe looked to have broken it's banks when I passed it on the A64.)
So it was a pretty good walk, around 8 miles. On a downside was the lack of views, trees and more trees. Yep, I know, it's a forest. But on a plus side was the wildlife, plenty of birds around there to look out for. And I even brought some wildlife home with me. I got my first tick on this walk. So don't forget the repellent.
Would I go again, probably not. I think next time I will aim a little further north and head to Fylingdale Moor and maybe include the north end of the forests in the area as part of a walk instead. I like forests, but in small quantities mixed in with other types of landscape.