A series of reservoirs up the valley offer bracing walks along with interesting stories about their construction. Gouthwaite Reservoir is a great place for bird watching. Scar House Reservoir tucked high up in the hills offers great walking and mountain biking. The extensive high heather moors above the valley turn purple as they flower in late summer. The market town of Patelely Bridge is an excellent base to explore the area and has a full range of facilities plus a community-run museum and the fascinating King's Street craft workshops. The National Trust's Fountains Abbey is nearby as are Ripon Cathedral and Newby Hall.
At Lofthouse you can discover How Stean Gorge where you can explore the dramatic limestone gorge, go through caves, take on a via ferrata or just have a coffee and admire the view.
South of Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale opens out and the scenery changes to rolling farmland as the river continues its journey past Ripley and Harrogate to Knaresborough.