6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Yorkshire Life today click here

Yorkshire Dales walk - Calton and Malhamdale

PUBLISHED: 00:00 18 January 2017

Walkers reach the lonely barn of Farlands Laithe

Walkers reach the lonely barn of Farlands Laithe

not Archant

Terry Fletcher heads for the peace and quiet of the hills above the ever-popular Yorkshire Dales village of Malham

Winterburn Reservoir - built not to slake thirsts but to feed the nearby Leeds-Liverpool CanalWinterburn Reservoir - built not to slake thirsts but to feed the nearby Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Malham is one of the most visited villages in the Yorkshire Dales and it would be a rare day when it is not thronged with hikers and sightseers yet this walk among the nearby fells is never busy and it is not unusual to have it completely to yourself.

For lovers of peace and quiet there are field paths, tree-lined lanes and high moorland with extensive views to enjoy. It also throws in a little history for good measure with a remnant from pre-Reformation days when the Abbot of Fountains was a power in the land as well as a more modern addition from the Industrial Revolution when canals were the lifeblood of commerce and the builders created upland reservoirs to keep them flowing.

DIRECTIONS

1. Start in the neat hamlet of Calton and walk to the top of the single street. Turn right onto an unmade lane, passing a farm and shortly afterwards an isolated barn. Carry on to where the track forks by a modern, low barn. Here go left on a track signed to Cowper Cote, which soon leads into a field. Carry on along the bottom edge of the field, first beside a wall and then a straggly line of trees, before rising slightly to go through a gate and on towards the lonely barn of Farlands Laithe. Pass to its right and then carry on aiming for the obvious buildings of Cowper Cote Farm on the hillside opposite beyond a shallow valley.

2. Arriving at the farm go through a gate above the buildings to enter a field. Ignore the stile ahead and instead climb the field up a very faint track. At the top of the hill aim slightly leftwards, still on the track to go through another gateway in a stone wall in the corner of the field.

Beyond the gateway the path continues through reeds and rough grass, staying parallel with a fence and low earth embankment to the right. The track improves slightly as it crosses more rough pastures to arrive at a barn. Pass to the right of this and then cross a footbridge aiming for the gap between two strips of woodland, one deciduous trees the other conifers. Once past the trees cross the wall on the right by a ladder stile and then continue in the same direction along the other side. After a couple of gates in quick succession carry on along the left hand edge of a large field to the isolated Smither Gill House (marked as Laithe on the OS map). Pass to its left and follow the access lane to a junction. Here turn left towards Way Gill but just before entering the farmyard take a path on the right signed to Cow House.

3. Go through a gate and then turn down the hedgeside to reach a lane. Turn left along this but, again, just before reaching the farm buildings of Cow House take a stile on the right which leads down to the shore of Winterburn Reservoir, built not to slake thirsts but to feed the nearby Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Carry on leftwards along the shoreline path to reach a sturdy stone bridge at the very head of the reservoir. Do not cross it but instead turn sharply leftwards on a track signed to Malham. This is the start of the long climb to Weets Top.

4. The climb is fairly unrelenting though never particularly taxing, the path eventually becoming clearer and easier to follow as it rises until by the top it is unmissable. As it crests the ridge views open out over Malhamdale and the western fells, including Ingleborough peeping through a gap in the ridge opposite. Finally it arrives at a gate close to the trig point of Weets Top itself. Just beyond the gate is Weets Cross, a mediaeval landmark that is not a cross but a simple stone column mounted on a plinth. It once served the dual purpose of a boundary stone for five townships that meet at this point as well as a waymarker on the route from the Malham Moor sheep pastures to Fountains Abbey. There is some doubt as to whether this is the original stone but it is certainly well-weathered.

5. Having examined the cross go back through the gate and take the signed track to Calton 2 3/4miles away with the great whaleback of Pendle Hill ahead. The long descent stays parallel to the wall to the right for most of the way, seldom straying far from it with more excellent views into Malhamdale, including the uppermost rocks of Malham Cove.

Finally the houses of Airton come into view ahead and, after crossing a couple of transverse walls. the right hand wall begins to curl away. When it does so, stay on the track, still aiming more or less for Pendle Hill. The bridleway eventually become a farm track and curls leftwards crossing the hillside with a wooded gill down below to the right before going through a gate to enter a tree-lined green lane which is followed all the way back to Calton.

COMPASS POINTS

Start/finish: Calton, near Airton

Distance: 8miles/13km

Height gain: 1100ft/335m

Terrain: Field paths and moorland tracks

Time: 4 hours

Parking: Roadside

Refreshments: None en route

Maps: OS Outdoor Leisure OL2 Yorkshire Dales (South and West)

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 00:00

Bluebells, historic buildings and pathways. There’s something for everyone at springtime in North Yorkshire.

Read more
Spring
Mon, 10:44

How well do you know Yorkshire? Test your knowledge in this picture based quiz

Read more
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Save this walk around Buckden for a clear day so you can enjoy the wonderful panoramas, says Terry Fletcher.

Read more
Yorkshire Dales Walks
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Does Filey really make you smiley? Jo Haywood heads to the coast to find out

Read more
Coastal Yorkshire
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

One of West Yorkshire’s historic towns ‘is knocking itself out’ to become a major visitor destination, reports Tony Greenway

Read more
Friday, March 10, 2017

A town once famed for a television series has now become a ‘foodie sort of place’ as Martin Pilkington reports.

Read more
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

You may have sponsored someone taking the challenge over the years, but what does it involve?

Read more
Yorkshire Dales Yorkshire Dales Walks
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How will things change when the curtain rises again at a West Yorkshire arts centre after its multi-million pound facelift? Tony Greenway finds out.

Read more
Halifax
Monday, March 6, 2017

Gritty stories of the harsh realities of 19th century life in Ripon are part of the city’s attractions, reports Richard Darn

Read more
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tom Marshall from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust shares some top tips, and discovers if the same lenses can capture the county’s rarest resident.

Read more
Yorkshire Wildlife

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Yorkshire Life Application Link

Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Yorkshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area




Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search