Find some heavenly heather this August

For a few weeks every year the moors around Nidderale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty turn a rich and rolling purple as the heather that covers this special landscape blooms a rich purple.

What starts in small sun trap hollows and south facing banks spreads across the moors in one of the iconic floral displays in the natural world.

To enjoy the heather this year here are a few suggested walks and points of interest you can visit this august!

Scar House Reservoir – This popular walk in the upper reaches of Nidderdale is a loop of Scar House Reservoir; crossing imposing Scar House dam before following the old track farm track, through the lost village of Lodge and also crossing the dam at Angram, which sits immediately above Scar Houe, all under the rolling moorland fells of the upper valley.

Upper Nidderdale and Scar Hourse Reservoir in August

Wath Lane, The Curlew Trail – Curlews are a staple of the wet moorland birdlife across Nidderdale. This short walk packs in a serious climb to take you up to the moors above Pateley Bridge. These moors border the wet grasslands where the heather has not fully established and mix of flora is a popular nesting spot for birds like the curlew.

Yorkes of Bewerley – This perennial classic of a walk begins and ends in Pateley Bridge and takes in some of the most popular moorland near the town. From the historic village Bewerley rise up through ancient woodland to emerge on the moors by curious landmarks and traverse the cliffs that offer breath-taking views, all alongside the bright and vibrant moors.

Yorke's Folly in the Heather, by John Pate

Yorke's Folly, a.k.a. Two Stoops – one of the features of the Yorkes of Bewerley walk (above) this fascinating folly can be enjoyed via a short walk from a nearby car park. Accessed by rocky moorland path, from the folly you can enjoy views across the valley, take a picnic or just sit a watch the birds that have made the moorland their home

Colsterdale Road – Driving from the top of Nidderdale to Masham, the road crosses quiet moorland and farm pastures, with moorland stretching to the horizon on either side. Colsterdale is home to two Reservoirs, Leighton and Roundhill, and above them the one of the Colsterdale Towers can be seen on the skyline.

One of the Colsterdale Towers amoung thr heather moorland.

Coldstones Cut – this recent addition to the landmarks of Nidderdale does not itself sit within the moorland, but it commands magnificent views across Nidderdale, and is the perfect place to take in the cumulative impact of the flowering heather across hundreds of acres.

Greenhow Geology Trail – This route includes the Coldstones Cut mentioned above but also explores the site of the old lead mines of Greenhow that sit within a quiet valley between heather topped hills.

Dallowgill Moor: remote and beautiful, this section of moorland reaches to the horizon in some directions. One popular walk in this area is Nidderdale AONBs Crackpots Mosaic Trail, a 7 mile exploration of the surrounding countryside, with decorated waymarkers of hand made mosaics. For a purely moorland experience you can use the same car park and enjoy a stroll along the surfaced lane in an easterly direction. This lane receives only farm traffic as it doesn't lead anywhere, so is ideal for those with mobily aids or who prefer level walking surfaces.


Please be aware that the grouse shooting season begins on 12 August. The walks we have included in this page all use public rights of way and byways which are not closed for grouse shooting.

You may wish to explore some of the access land which covers much of the heather moorland. This access land can be closed for shooting, and signage will be displayed at the entrance points. Further details of planned closures can be found on the Natural England website.