Yorkshire Dales walk - Addingham and the River Wharfe
PUBLISHED: 00:00 19 December 2019
With rolling pastures, wild moorlands, meandering rivers and a healthy dose of history, this could just be your ideal pre-Christmas walk.
On the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this walk starts in Addingham, a village that was once home to a thriving textile industry. Cross the suspension footbridge over the River Wharfe and follow the path to West Hall Lane. Continue for around 100m and go through a gate as the lane turns left.
Walk uphill across the fields to a narrow walled path which gently climbs towards a farm. Take a route around the front of the farmhouse on to a quiet lane. As it turns right after 150m, bear slightly left down a track towards a finger post.
Take the upper path indicated on the finger post over a stile and through a copse as the path crosses a number of fields, entering the wonderful Dales National Park at the second field boundary. To the right of you, you'll see Beamsley Beacon - it's hard to miss - along with the chance to soak in views towards Airedale and Flasby Fell.
The path finally reaches a very narrow stile to arrive at the access road to Howber Hill Farm. Keep straight on across both the track and a minor road as views open out to the left towards Bolton Bridge and Wharfedale. The occasionally damp path joins a vehicle track, continuing to a junction where a finger post directs you along a track to the right towards Howgill Side and Howgill Farm. Stay on this track until 100m beyond Howgill Farm where a path bears left to follow a wall down to a footbridge over Kex Beck. Beyond the bridge, the route climbs steeply up a walled lane to arrive at the A59 road at Hill End.
Take care to cross this very busy road and continue down the lane opposite to a fork in the road near some houses. Take the right fork up the hill and after 120m, double back on to a walled lane which climbs to reach the access track to Witchey - you'll not a change in terrain.
The pastures seen earlier have been left behind and the open moorland is more reminiscent of the Dark Peak. Follow the clear route past Witchey as it winds over the moor to reach a finger post at a track junction. It's worth having a break here to enjoy the expansive views towards Barden Fell, Simon's Seat and across Wharfedale.
Turn left and as the track descends gently, the Cavendish Pavilion and River Wharfe can be seen down below on the right. The track continues down to arrive at a road at the hamlet of Storiths. Go right along the road and after 200m, go left down a quiet lane to a finger post. Turn right and then left past a farmhouse to join a walled path descending steeply as the ruins of Bolton Abbey come into view.
Where the path meets another path at a gate, turn left and follow it as it descends towards the river bank and crosses several fields to arrive at a quiet road just east of Bolton Bridge. Turn right and cross the now practically disused bridge as the traffic thunders across a more modern bridge a short distance downstream.
At this point the walk can be shortened by turning left on to the Dales Way just beyond the bridge and following it back to the start at Addingham.
However, if you want to travel a little further continue straight ahead to the B6160.
Turn left and after around 70m, go right at a finger post through a field to another gate on the A59. Cross the road and continue up the tarmac road opposite as it climbs up to Hawpike Farm.
Follow the track through the farm buildings as it bears left through a gate. Continue to follow the track for 150m to just beyond a gully and then go left to follow a faint path along the top side of Lob Wood on a bearing of 135 degrees.
The route continues on roughly the same bearing over a couple of stiles as views open out towards Beamsley Beacon and other points seen earlier the walk.
Descending gently the route arrives at a gate next to a disused railway line. After 80m turn left on a track which passes through extensive riding stables to arrive at the B6160. The Friends Meeting House here dates back to 1669 and is well worth a look.
Cross the road and go down the steps on to the Dales Way, following this well walked route back to the start in Addingham.
Start/finish: OS grid reference SE083499
Distance: 10 miles
Terrain: Moderate and varied
Parking: There is some on street parking in the village
Refreshment: There are several places to eat in and around Bolton Abbey, including in the heritage site cafe or the much-lauded Devonshire Arms.
Map: OS Explorer OL2