North Yorkshire has everything! Here, we have beautiful old market towns nestled in glorious countryside, which visitors can immerse themselves in, time and time again.

And with those magnificent towns comes history. These places were self-sufficient – you would once have found the “butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker” and many more besides.

A relatively recent introduction to these places was the canal, a means of transporting goods in and out at much cheaper and speedier rates than using the road network, and an opportunity for these manufacturers to expand their businesses.

Next came rail and improved road links, making the canals redundant – but leaving us with safe and easy places to walk.

Two such places are Skipton and Ripon, (Ripon is England’s smallest city), Skipton with its magnificent medieval castle and Ripon with its awe-inspiring Norman cathedral.

Skipton’s canal walk can start right in the basin, in the heart of the town. I prefer the linear walk, simply strolling along the water-side in a southerly direction, perhaps stopping off at the Bay Horse pub for a refreshing drink – but certainly returning to Skipton centre and visiting Bizzie Lizzie’s for superb fish and chips, which can be enjoyed inside their delightful café or taken along to the canal-side and enjoyed “en plein air”.

If you visit Ripon and would like to take some exercise, find the little canal-side car park near the racecourse and stroll along past the Marina and the wetlands towards the secluded Newby Hall, ( or cross the water and discover the delightful village of Littlethorpe.

For Ripon:

Article contributed by Chris Redman MITG Blue Badge Guide –