Walk from Strid Wood to Howgill via Barden Bridge

A walk from Strid Wood to Howgill starting at Strid Wood car park at Bolton Abbey taking you via Barden Bridge, to Howgill. The walk is along the River Wharfe passing Barden Aquaduct and Barden Tower. It’s flat and easy and, on the stretch to Barden Bridge, is accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Brief details

Length: 2½ miles to Barden and back.

6 miles to Howgill and back.

Difficulty: Easy. Flat, alongside the River Wharfe.
Type: Circular element although you’ll return along some of the same paths.
Time required: Under an hour for the Barden walk.

2 hours for the Howgill walk.

Map of the walk

View a larger map


Entrance to the Strid Wood car parkPark in the Strid car park but beware, it’s pricey at a standard fee of £6.50. If you’re lucky you might get a free spot along the road but there aren’t many available.

Walk past the car park and the Dusty Bluebells cafe into Strid Wood. The path is downhillStrid Wood, left to Barden, right to the Strid. here as you head towards the river. Take a left turn a couple of hundred yards in and continue down a winding path until you reach the river. Bear left again keeping the river on your right. This path will take you past & under the Aquaduct, over a wooden bridge and along the river to Barden Bridge.

The path to Barden Bridge from here level and well gravelled in many places. Good for wheelchairs and child buggies.

Barden Bridge, Yorkshire DalesAs you approach the bridge, keep an eye out for Barden Tower in the woods on the left. These are the impressive ruins of the main hunting lodge of the ancient Forest of Barden. It was the home of the 10th Lord of Skipton, also known as the ‘Shepherd Lord’. Next to the tower is the Priest’s House, now a restaurant with a fine reputation.

The walk to the bridge is about a mile.

At the bridge you can grab an ice cream at the kiosk that is usually parked there while you decide whether to go back or continue on to Howgill. Those in wheelchairs will have to return the same way as the path both on to Howgill or back along the other side of the river isn’t suitable for that mode of transport.

Going back

Cross Barden Bridge – it’s narrow so beware of cars – turn right, go through the gate and head back on the opposite side of the river. The path is obvious but rougher. When you reach the aqueduct walk over it to rejoin the path you started out on.

Going on to Howgill

Parking at Barden BridgeCross Barden Bridge and turn left, walking past the ice cream kiosk and the row of cars that will inevitably be parked there. The path is next to the road for a few yards and then turns into a field through a gate. The river is on your left now. As you approach Howgill the path will incline up slightly so that you are higher than the river and it can get muddy here after rain. You might spot some stepping stones across the river here but trying to use them is risky. The river runs fast at this point and they are often covered.

River Wharfe, HowgillWalk through the farmyard and onto the road and that’s Howgill. There’s not much here so have a breather and head back the way you came. Back at Barden Bridge walk follow the ‘Going back’ route described above.


A little way beyond Howgill there’s a plaque on a wall commemorating a young 18 year old girl, Pat Proudfoot, who, in 1960, saw the new year in underwater at the spot. Pat died of cancer a few months later.

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