Ogden Water Local Nature Reserve offers tranquil walks, nature activities, ducks to feed and plenty of places to picnic.
The 34 acre reservoir is owned by Yorkshire Water, and boasts many woodland trails and waterside paths to explore, including 1 1/4 miles of wheelchair accessible pathway around the reservoir and through sections of the woodlands.
Cycling is not allowed anywhere on the Ogden Water estate, and no fishing is allowed within the reservoir.
The visitor centre is open 10.30am-3.15pm, and sells hot drinks, snacks, and duck food to feed the wildfowl. There is often an ice cream van in the car park – a great reward for all that walking!
OGDEN WATCH GROUP: Do you like bugs, beasties, trees, wildflowers, exploring, discovering, finding out and learning? Why not join the Ogden Water Wildlife Group. Open to families with children aged 3 to 14, we meet once a month at the Ogden Water Countryside Centre. Over the past few years we have made shelters, bird boxes, bat boxes, candles and kites. For information, phone 07769 954956.
Ogden Water Local Nature Reserve, HX2 8YA. Phone: 01422 249136. www.ogdenwater.org.uk
Planned reopening on March 30, 2021.
Outdoor activity centre in Ogden with a wide range of activities. Choose from mountain boarding, grass sledging, archery, low rope courses, slingshots with paintballs, archery, air pistols and more.
Just turn up and have a go – no need to book!
Birthday parties for ages 5+ include packages such as archery, low rope challenge course, go-kart building and racing, tag archery and group and team games. From mid-April to late November you could also choose mountainboarding, grass sledging, dirt scooters or bumper balls. We offer a popular BBQ buffet for afters, in a heated log cabin, under the shade of the marquee or outside in the sunshine.
Another World Adventure Centre, Moss Farm, Ogden. Phone 01422 240700.
Bracken Hall Countryside Centre and museum is situated on the edge of Shipley Glen, a popular beauty spot.
The Centre has displays relating to the natural history, geology, archaeology and local history of the area. The colourful interactive wildlife exhibits delve into the lives of badgers, frogs and bats. There are interactive displays about other animals and foodwebs.
The small, charming garden attracts different kinds of wildlife throughout the year, from tadpoles to butterflies and honeybees. The garden is designed to show how people can attract wildlife to their own gardens, and also features bee hives and a pond.
Check out Wild Wednesdays for family activities.
Bracken Hall Countryside Centre, Glen Road, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD17 5EA
Phone 01274 584140
Dramatic moorland rock formations. Explore Brimham Rocks and have a great day out at nature’s playground. This amazing collection of weird and wonderful rock formations makes a great day out for families, climbers and those wanting to enjoy the simple pleasures of fresh air and magnificent views over Nidderdale.
There’s no admission charge at Brimham Rocks. Parking is free for National Trust members.
For non-National Trust members, car parking charges are as follows: £4 up to three hours, £5 thereafter
Brimham Rocks Summerbridge, Harrogate, HG3 4DW, Tel: 01423 780688
Beautiful green space close to Hebden Bridge town centre and the canal.
There’s an outdoor gym, children’s playground, a skate park, bowling greens, football pitch, tennis court, basketball court and a café.
It’s lovely to walk on the adjacent canal towpath to watch the narrowboats sail by.
Calder Homes Park, New Road, Hebden Bridge
Friendly group of walkers based in the stunning countryside of Calderdale. Walks are held most weekends throughout the year, guided by leaders who know and love the area. New walkers always welcome.
Activities include family-friendly and short and easy walks. For a current programme of walks, see online.
Calderdale Ramblers. Contact 07790 480058.
High on Ilkley Moor, the Cow and Calf Rocks are a large rock formation, also known as Hangingstone Rocks.
A great place to climb – although probably for older children – with lovely views of Ilkley and beyond.
Cow & Calf Rocks, Ilkley Moor. Phone 01943 602319.
The garden, tearoom (takeaway), car park, lower field and toilets are open on selected days. Please book ahead and check the National Trust website for dates.
Lovely former manor house with plenty of outdoor fun for the family, about 35 minutes from Halifax.
Little ones will love the wild play garden with den building, a mud pie kitchen and a Hobbit House. There’s a secret path to explore, tree stumps to picnic on and lovely charming touches dotted around.
There is also a play area with a wooden climbing frame, a slide, swings, a little bird hide where you can spot hungry birds and do some colouring, and some large fields to burn off your energy.
You’ll find picnic benches, a tea room, toilets and a pond with ducks (feed is available in the gift shops).
Our kids loved finding the wooden mice in the historic house too.
A fabulously well-kept secret, Gaddings is a lovely little beach next to Gaddings Dam in Lumbutts village, above Todmorden.
80 feet above sea level and 60 miles inland, it’s the highest beach in England and rewards those who face the steep hike to get there (there is no road access or official parking nearby) with a pretty beach, reservoir and views of the moors.
Just remember to exercise caution if you go in the water, it’s likely to be cold, there is no life guard and help is at least 40 minutes away.
Gaddings Dam and Beach, OL14 6JJ.
Enjoy a lovely walk around the lake while feeding the ducks, then wind down in the newly refurbished café. If you would prefer to picnic, there is plenty of space , and an ice cream van to top it off!
For a different view, follow the path to the right before the tunnel entrance for a lovely walk to Paul’s Pond. You’ll be rewarded with the beautiful bluebells in “Bluebell Wood” (at the right time of year!) – complete with a stream to paddle in.
Golden Acre Park, Arthington Road, Bramhope.
Beautiful park with a paddling pool, just half a mile away from Huddersfield town centre.
There are two lovely children’s play areas with picnic tables, a skate park, tennis court, two cafés, a lake and a fabulous paddling pool to cool off in during the summer months.
A miniature steam train chugs along a track during weekends and bank holidays, and there are horse and carriage rides and children’s rides (weekends, bank holidays and school holidays, check before visiting).
Other park activities include Nordic walking, exercises for new mums, drama classes for pre-schoolers and the 5K Parkrun.
Hardcastle Crags is a beautiful wooded valley to explore, with 19th-century Gibson Mill at its heart.
It’s run by the National Trust and there are often fun events for the kids during school holidays.
There are several marked trails (you can pick up a map in the car parks or have a look online here, including a couple of easy ones and one that’s suitable for prams (a mile each way).
It’s lots of fun to walk by the water, try the stepping stones and have a paddle before cooling off with an ice cream or enjoying a slice of cake in the café. Or you could look for minibeasts, pond dip, play hide and seek in the woods or admire the tumbling water falls and lovely walks.
You can explore on your own, or take a guided tour. Depending on the season, there are bluebells to enjoy and activities such as creating mini rafts to sail on the pond and cooking on campfires.
Inside Gibson Mill you can learn how a cotton mill became a popular entertainment venue before being transformed into a visitor centre and café.
This Green Flag park is a hub of the local community, with plenty to do and a variety of events through the year.
There’s a fenced in children’s play area, two beautiful lakes to walk around, a bowling green, sports pitch and free exercise circuit (trim trail) for children and adults
Harold Park, Park Road, Bradford, BD12.
With 13 hectares of nature reserve, the beautiful Jerusalem Farm and Wade Wood are perfect spots for picnics and paddling! The kids will have great fun splashing about in the stream and there is plenty of space to play ball or Frisbee. There are picnic tables, spots in the shade and you can have a barbecue too!
Look out for woodland birds such as goldfinches, robins, woodpeckers, tree creepers and nuthatches. And if you’re quiet, you might even spot a deer! In the autumn there is woodland fungi and all kinds of flora and fauna to enjoy.
Access to the woods from the car park is by a steep grass track, but there is a zig-zag path from the car park to the grass, which is stroller accessible.
Jerusalem Farm is also a campsite from April-September, with pitches for around 30 tents and a holiday cottage.
Lovely woodland in Bradford, perfect for family walks. Little ones will enjoy collecting leaves and sticks, or jumping in the mud, while the older ones can explore all the interesting paths and jump over streams. Gorgeous bluebells in the spring!
Judy Woods, Wyke. For details of parking and busses, view www.judywoods.org.uk
Playground open but Jungle Experience currently closed
Come rain or shine, you’ll find something to do at Manor Heath.
This Yorkshire in Bloom Gold Award-winning park is open all year round and has a fabulous play area, outdoor gym, sunken garden, walled gardens and a café.
There is also a fun water play area (April to October) for splashing around during warm summer days.
Pop indoors to the Jungle Experience; glasshouses with botanical gardens and habitats for a huge variety of plants, butterflies and animals, such as fish, quails and terrapins. Zones include The Time Zone, The Savage Garden, Butterfly World and The Lily Pod. The Jungle Experience costs £1 per person. Children aged 2 and under are free.
Manor Heath Park and Jungle Experience, Manor Heath Road, Halifax. 01422 365631.
The park is open but the visitor centre is closed. Toilets open at weekends between 10am and 3pm .Upper car parks and cafe only open on weekends.
Oakwell Hall dates back to 1583 and is now run as a living museum, furnished as the Batt family home in the 1690’s.
There are restored gardens, a visitor centre, a gift shop, cafe, nature trail and picnic sites.
There is also a lovely park with a good, fenced-in children’s play area and a fun slide.
Oakwell Hall and Country Park, Nutter Lane, Birstall.
If your kids like Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom, they will love the adventure trail at Anglers Country Park.
It’s free to explore – although the Visitor Centre sells fun activity packs for £2 – and you follow animal footprints to find your favourite sculptures from the book, trace rubbings and do activities.
The trail is a circular route around the lake and is accessible by foot, cycle, pushchair or wheelchair.
Our little ones loved posing for pictures with the witch, dragon and making a spell in the cauldron at the end!
There is also a café and play area.
Room on the Broom Adventure Trail, Anglers Country Park, Wakefield. Phone 01924 860280.
The St Ives Estate is a fabulous free day out, a short drive from Calderdale and a huge favourite with my mini Mumblers.
Made up of a gorgeous country park with woodlands, open moor, a wildflower meadow and paths throughout, it’s easy to spend the day here, parking is free and there are plenty of places to picnic.
The playground is fabulous (sand play, large climbing frames, a rope bridge, tyre swings and natural elements such as rocks, fallen trees and a dry river bed), and from there it’s a short walk to Coppice Pond, which is actually more like a lake. There’s a bird hide where you can sit and watch the birds and squirrels, and you can feed the ducks with duck food bought from the cafe. It’s great for riding a bike or scooter around too.
We had a pram with us so didn’t really venture into the woodland, but a friend tells me her girls love exploring the woods and having a paddle.
The ladies in the visitor centre are lovely and have some fun trail leaflets to hand out. My kids left with a handful of conkers too!
St Ives Estate, Harden, BD16 1AT.
The caves at Stumps Cross were then discovered in 1860 by miners who were looking for lead seams in the Yorkshire Dales. Although they didn’t find any lead, they did find the natural caverns which you can see today.
The cave system at Stump Cross extends well beyond the show caves which are open to the public, to an overall length of approximately 6km. Many of the deeper caverns are only accessible to experienced cavers, but there is a possibility of further sections of the caverns being opened to the public in the future. Indeed, the impressive reindeer cavern was opened to the public in 2000 after debris was removed and the cave was made safe.
Remains of Wolverines, a giant member of the weasel family, have been discovered at Stump Cross. It is thought that these animals entered the caves looking for food such as Reindeer and Bison, the remains of which have also been found. The Wolverine remains are on display in the visitor’s centre.
Pushchairs and baby back carriers are not permitted due to restricted access, however front carriers are permitted.
Stump Cross Caverns, Greenhow Hill, Pateley Bridge
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
A lovely trail where you can look at artwork and enjoy walking along the riverside path. Ideal for families, it takes about 40 minutes there and back, stopping to look at the 15 pieces of artwork. It is easy walking on the recently cleaned up riverside path, and the pieces are well worth studying – the more you look, the more you discover.
The trail, which starts from the bridge on Victoria Road, is an integral part of improving the use of the footpath alongside the River Aire between Baildon Bridge and Saltaire.
Pick up a free children’s activity sheet from the Saltaire Visitor Information.
Aire alley Sculpture Trail. Saltaire Visitor Information Centre, Salts Mill, Victoria Road. Tel: 01274 437942.
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