This lovely walk at Hardcastle Crags is along the side of the river- the views are simply stunning and there is lots of opportunities of scrambling for adventurous children!
Distance: 2 miles (although you’ll need to walk to the start from the carpark too which is a mile from Midgehole car park)
Accessibility: Not buggy friendly. Some of route is on rocks, so I’d avoid with young children in wet weather or icy where this will be slippy. We took our toddler in a carrier- he did walk parts but was unable to navigate some of the route.
Parking: two options, Midgehole car park (a mile from the trail’s start)- flat and easy walking, or at Clough Hole, closer, but a very steep climb to return. Hardcastle Crags is a National Trust property- so parking is free for members, or £5 for non-members.
Facilities: Gibson Mill at the trail start has a cafe and toilets. There is also a lovely riverside picnic area.
The route: Easy to follow green trail posts. See trails at Hardcastle Crags here.
Hardcastle Crag’s Green Trail
We started our walk at the Clough Hole Car Park- the benefit of this car park is that it’s MUCH quieter (it’s a little harder to get to)- so even on busy days we find you can get parked without difficulty. It also has the most incredible views. You might not want to bother with the walk and just sit and stare!! But a steep walk down means it’s a steep walk back up- so make sure to save some chocolates/ bribes for the kids to get them back up!
The green trail starts behind Gibson Mill, and gives you some wonderful little becks to jump over and little waterfalls to see!
The route takes you past the ponds (the path goes through the middle of them) and then follows the river. Honestly it’s just the NICEST of walks, crossing lots of bridges and getting wonderful views of the crags!
After crossing some bridges, the trail takes you back to the Mill along the estate track- there’s no traffic and walking is easier so it’s a much quicker return walk. You might choose to stop off at the crags themselves- there is a large picnic area opposite here.
Once you make it back to Gibson Mill, there is a smaller picnic area on the riverside which we really love. It’s peaceful and you can grab some treats from the cafe too.
The walk back to the carpark from Gibson Mill is steep and on rubble track so children might need some encouragement, But wow, those views!!!
We cant wait to get back to Hardcastle Crag and perhaps try the slightly longer purple trail (the Railway Trail) – but this does also climb so we would likely not park at Clough Hole for this route- my kids are good walkers but they might resist a double climb! What’s your favourite part of Hardcastle Crag?