If ever there was a magical woodland walk, this is it. Take the trail through the trees on a 2-mile circular route that passes an idyllic woodland tea garden and the 30-foot Falling Foss waterfall before returning alongside babbling May Beck. It’s a lovely shady walk for summer – with shallow waters to paddle in, and a bridge to play pooh-sticks from – and spectacular in autumn when the woodland colours are at their best. If you don’t intend to venture far from the tea garden and waterfall, you can use an alternative car park near Falling Foss instead.
You can do the walk with a pram (though not down to the waterfall). That said, you might find using a carrier is best, if you have one, as it is sometimes a bit boggy under foot.
1. From the May Beck car park, leave the road that you came in on and head up the gravel path. Take the immediate first right turn, along the track just above the car park. You’ll soon see some steps on your left. Take them and follow a narrow path uphill through the bracken.
2. The path soon goes through a gate. At this point, turn right (don’t go over the style to your left). You can then stay on this path all the way to Falling Foss!
3. When you eventually meet the road, follow it downhill to the Falling Foss Tea Garden at Midge Hall.
4. Falling Foss, with its tea garden, is the perfect place to stop and play. You’ll find it’s particularly great for a paddle. Just past the tea garden, you’ll come to a good viewpoint for the waterfall. If you want to get closer, you can follow an unofficial path down to the waterfall, leaving the main path to the right as you face the tea rooms. It is a very steep descent but we enjoy the adventure and lots of people make it down.
5. The tea garden itself is at Midge Hall, a tiny cottage with gardens overlooking Falling Foss. The gardens are fantastic for small children, with wooden sculptures and a small play area to explore.
6. Leaving the tea rooms, cross the bridge and you’ll see a wooden-decked path along the side of the beck. You can follow this all the way back to the start of the walk. There are some lovely places for further paddling and exploration (including a cave if you keep your eyes peeled).
Ryedale Mumbler is a go-to parenting resource full of days out, local walks and ideas for enjoying the Great Outdoors with children. Read more here.