Riverside Walks – York

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Things to do


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October, 2021

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As fairly regular visitors to York, we’d ‘done’ all the major tourist attractions so visited the “Visit York Information Centre”:https://www.visityork.org/ on Museum Street for information and inspiration. It was a treasure trove of both.

We found a set of five free leaflets ‘Walks around York’ (although the fifth was out of York). Each A4 folded leaflet had the duration and distance on the front (miles and Km) and inside, both a map with the route marked and walking directions, and a list of things to look out for.

During our short stay we did walk 2 a circular route north along the river and walk 3, a circular route south along the river from Clifford’s Tower. Maps are online as well.

“Walk 3”:https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.itravelyork.info%2Fdownloads%2Ffile%2F67%2F-3-walks-around-york-castle-to-millennium-bridge&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK – Circular route south along the river from Clifford’s Tower

Clifford’s Tower was conveniently near our hotel (Middletons) but the tower was scaffolding clad and closed for refurbishment. The walk took us alongside the river, and although it was a little muddy in places, there was both a track right on the edge of the river and a concrete path for cyclists and walkers.

We eventually reached the Blue Bridge (so named because it has always been painted blue). According to the map, a small wooden draw bridge was originally built on this spot in 1738 at a cost of £100. It has been replaced only four times with the existing bridge being built in 1929. At this point the River Ouse joins the Foss and a flood defence system, the Foss Barrier, which was built after the severe floods of 1979 and 1982 to protect the city. When the gate is released, it effectively blocks the River Foss preventing any back flow from the Ouse. Three green and three red lights at the entrance denoted whether the gate was up or down, and therefore whether ships could pass through.

We also saw the remnants of train tracks and a sign told us that the trains carried munitions, into an army depot behind the wall, from the 1890s to the 1950s which were delivered by a ‘Powder Boat’ from the Woolwich Arsenal in London.

We continued onwards as far as the striking Millennium Bridge with its Wembley-like arch, which was the first permanent bridge at the site.

A footbridge took us across the river where we diverted off into “Rowntree Park”:https://rowntreepark.org.uk/ which had a large lake, interesting gardens, library-café, tennis courts etc. After walking around it, we headed back up Bishopthorpe Road, with its independent shops and cafes, and into York city centre.

“Walk 2”:https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.itravelyork.info%2Fdownloads%2Ffile%2F71%2F-2-walks-around-york-lendal-to-clifton-loop&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK – Circular route north along the river from Visit York

Our starting point for walk 2, was not the suggested Visit York centre, but Lendal Bridge where we had got off our “boat trip”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/210450.

We walked along a path and found the spot where it split between the Dame Judy Dench Walk and Joseph Rowntree Walk. The path followed the River Ouse and we went past all the sights we had seen from our earlier trip on the river.
The turnaround point for the circular 2.4 mile walk was Clifton Bridge.

Having walked over the bridge, we struggled to find the path, which unlike the right-hand side paved path, was more of a muddy track. The leaflet warned that in wetter weather, it was often impassable, and it was certainly not wheelchair friendly.

We had views of York Minster in the distance and although the leaflet suggested looking out for boats and rowers, the only ones we spotted were the red and white self-drive boats that could be hired from City Cruises.

The walk would have taken us back into town, but we detoured off slightly to visit the National Railway Museum.

The other walks in the series are:

“Walk 1”:https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.itravelyork.info%2Fdownloads%2Ffile%2F69%2F-1-walks-aroung-york-whistle-stop&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK – Whistle stop tour including a suggested walking route
Walk 4 – Visit the remains of York’s Roman history
Walk 5 – Out of town

Helen Jackson

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