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Part of a 2-book set, this guidebook describes 44 walks in the southern and western Yorkshire Dales, including the famous 23 mile Three Peaks circuit over Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. The other, mostly circular routes of 3½ to 13 miles cover the scenic region between Sedbergh, Kirkby Lonsdale, Settle, Skipton and Grassington.
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The Yorkshire Dales need little introduction: their picturesque scenery and hundreds of miles of footpaths, tracks and bridleways have been attracting walkers for decades. Part of a two-volume set, this guidebook presents over 40 routes in the south and west of the National Park, with bases including Sedburgh, Malham, Grassington, Skipton, Settle and Kirkby Lonsdale. The walks cover the valleys of Wharfedale, Littondale, Malhamdale, Ribblesdale and Dentdale – each with its own distinctive landscape and character. Also included is the Yorkshire Three Peaks, a 23 mile (37km) challenge to bag three iconic summits – Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.
Mostly circular and ranging from 3.5 to 13 miles (6–21km), the routes showcase Yorkshire's diverse landscapes, beautiful views and rich heritage and celebrate the 'ups, downs and endless in-betweens' of the Dales. With the exception of the Three Peaks walk, they are designed to suit most abilities: steeper sections are rare and usually short-lived. Detailed route description and 1:50,000 OS mapping are provided for each route, along with information on nearby points of interest and facilities. In addition, an introduction presents an overview of the region's plants and wildlife, geology and history and offers an insight into iconic local industries such as farming and quarrying.
From bucolic pastureland to wild moors, the Dales have it all. Highlights include delightful riverside walking in Wharfedale, spectacular views of the distant Howgills and Lake District Fells, and the arresting limestone cliffs of Malham Cove. Charming villages and cosy pubs offer a warm welcome, but it is also possible to find tranquility and seclusion. The walks in this guide take in rolling hills, sweeping valleys and dancing streams, providing a wonderful introduction to this magnificent area.
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|Evolution of the landscape|
|Industry and enterprise|
|Farming in the Dales|
|Plants and wildlife|
|The Southern and Western Dales|
|The Yorkshire Dales National Park|
|Navigation and maps|
|Clothing and footwear|
|Food and drink|
|Taking your car|
|Leaving your car behind|
|Using this guide|
|1 Lower Wharfedale and Barden Moor|
|Walk 1 Bolton Abbey|
|Walk 2 Barden Moor|
|Walk 3 Simon’s Seat|
|Walk 4 Burnsall and Trollers Gill|
|Walk 5 Grassington and Grass Wood|
|Walk 6 Conistone|
|2 Upper Wharfedale|
|Walk 7 Great Whernside|
|Walk 8 Kettlewell and Arncliffe|
|Walk 9 Buckden Pike|
|Walk 10 Old Cote Moor Top from Buckden|
|Walk 11 Buckden and Yockenthwaite|
|Walk 12 Horse Head and Langstrothdale|
|Walk 13 Oughtershaw Side|
|Walk 14 Arncliffe and High Cote Moor|
|Walk 15 Old Cote Moor Top from Arncliffe|
|Walk 16 Pen-y-ghent Gill from Litton|
|Walk 17 Litton and the River Skirfare|
|Walk 18 Airedale and Weets Top|
|Walk 19 Gordale, Malham Tarn and the Cove|
|Walk 20 Malham Cove and Pikedaw Hill|
|Walk 21 Mastiles Lane|
|Walk 22 Fountains Fell|
|Walk 23 Winterburn Reservoir|
|Walk 24 Cracoe Fell|
|5 Dentdale and the Western Outliers|
|Walk 25 Great Knoutberry Hill|
|Walk 26 Wold Fell|
|Walk 27 A Walk into Deepdale|
|Walk 28 Great Coum|
|Walk 29 Dentdale|
|Walk 30 Calf Top and Middleton Fell|
|Walk 31 Barbon Low Fell|
|Walk 32 Gragareth and Great Coum|
|6 Around Ribblesdale|
|Walk 33 Attermire Scar and Victoria Cave|
|Walk 34 Langcliffe and Catrigg Force|
|Walk 35 Plover Hill and Pen-y-ghent|
|Walk 36 Upper Ribblesdale along the Ribble Way|
|Walk 37 Ingleborough from Ribblehead|
|Walk 38 Whernside from Ribblehead|
|Walk 39 Gayle Moor and the Source of the Ribble|
|Walk 40 Clapham and the Norber Boulders|
|Walk 41 Ingleborough from Clapham|
|Walk 42 Ingleton Falls|
|Walk 43 Kingsdale|
|Walk 44 The Yorkshire Three Peaks|
|Appendix 1 Route summaries and suggestions for longer routes|
|Appendix 2 Where to find out more|
|Start||Cavendish Pavilion car park, Bolton Abbey (SE 078551)|
|Distance||8.5 miles (13.7km)|
|Total Ascent||490m (1608ft)|
|Terrain||Generally good paths throughout. Note the Permissive Path onto Barden Fell may occasionally be closed for shooting between August and December; dogs are not allowed at any time of year.|
|Maps||Explorer OL2 – Yorkshire Dales (Southern & Western areas)|
|Refreshments||Café by car park|
|Toilets||Beside car park|
|Parking||Cavendish Pavilion car park|
Barden Fell is the culmination of a long, broad ridge that separates Wharfedale from Nidderdale, and although at just 485m it is not particularly high, its bulk and relative detachment invest in it an exaggerated sense of scale. In good weather, this ascent through the Valley of Desolation onto the upper moor is straightforward and contrasts with a meandering return beside the River Wharfe.
From the Cavendish Pavilion car park, cross the River Wharfe on the bridge in front of the café and follow the riverbank upstream. When you reach a gate, climb a zigzag path to the lane above. Turn left, but after 250m, leave through a gate on the right beside Waterfall Cottage. A track rises above Posforth Gill for 800m, eventually arriving at a marshy pond where you have your first view into the valley below. Branch left off the main track there, down to a footbridge nestling in the base of the valley.
The Valley of Desolation is now a hardly fitting title for this charming glen. But in 1826 flash floods from a heavy deluge transformed the babbling beck into a raging torrent. It swept down the valley stripping bare the vegetation and uprooting massive trees to leave behind a naked gash cleaving the hillside. Now, apart from the odd ancient rotting stump, only the name gives any hint of its past devastation. More recently, nature has been given a hand, with the planting of some 8000 trees in a scheme to illustrate how the area might have been colonised by a succession of different types of vegetation in the 12,000 years since the last ice age.
The ongoing path winds upstream on the opposite bank through bracken-carpeted woodland past a pretty waterfall and into the upper glen. Beyond another bridge, branch off to remain beside the meandering stream, shortly reaching a rocky pool at the foot of a second cascade. Neither of the falls is spectacularly high, but their setting is beautiful. Surrounded by trees, dark mosses feather the dripping rocks while ferns find root amongst the shaded crevices. Both falls give some idea of the erosive power of the beck, as each has retreated upstream more than 800m during the last 10,000 years as the lip of the underlying rock has been progressively worn back.
With no way forward you must return to the main path, climbing along the valley-side to a small gate entering a conifer plantation. Join a forest track and, ignoring the track off sharp right, follow it forward towards Simon’s Seat climbing through the trees onto the open moor overlooking a confluence of streams. The ongoing track rises ahead above Great Agill Beck, later briefly dipping across to continue up the opposite flank. Further on, beside the path, stands a sturdy stone picnic table, sheltered from the wind by a curving wall. After passing a track off on the right, the way arcs around the upper reaches of the catchment to a junction.
Choose the right branch, which leads past the jumbled rocks of Truckle Crags, a prominent vantage breaking the vast rolling sea of heather and bilberry, and on to Simon’s Seat further to the north, distinguished from the other craggy islands by its size and a trig column adorning its highest boulder.
Having taken your fill of the view, clamber back off the summit, but instead of returning along the path past Truckle Crags, descend south west on a short section of paved way, refurbished in an effort to reduce erosion. Dropping steadily along the flank of Barden Fell, the path makes for the corner of a forest plantation rising in the middle distance. Below, the Wharfe sweeps a corner to drop through a wooded gorge, although from here it is evident that it once described a longer course to the east around Haugh.
As you reach the plantation, cross a stream and join a descending track that soon turns into the forest. Emerging below zigzags at a clearing, take the right fork and continue downhill to Howgill. Looking back to the forest fringe, the upper reaches of How Beck are spanned by an elegantly arched aqueduct carrying water from the Grimwith Reservoir high up on Appletreewick Moor.
Reaching Howgill Lane, cross to the continuation of the track, which ultimately emerges onto Stangs Lane. Take a farm track opposite, signed as the Dales Way towards Barden Bridge, bearing right just before the farmyard to find a path beside the Wharfe. Following the river downstream, there is a fine view back of the hillside, while in front, Barden Tower shortly appears. The path finally ends at Barden Bridge.
There is now a choice of riverside paths back to the Cavendish Pavilion, each equally enjoyable, but having their own special attractions. That on the northern bank climbs higher but in return offers some spectacular views along the valley, while the other gives the opportunity for a close-up view of The Strid. The paths leave the road either side of Barden Bridge, and if you change your mind, you can cross a little further downstream on a footbridge over an aqueduct. Whichever you choose is a fitting finale to the walk.