Yorkshire Dales walk - Bainbridge
PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:33 14 August 2018
Terry Fletcher takes in some record breakers in the Yorkshire Dales on a walk from beautiful Bainbridge
The Yorkshire Dales are steeped in history and legend and this walk enjoys both, setting off from one of our most beautiful villages to march in the footsteps of the Roman legions before visiting the scene of a cautionary folk tale. For good measure it also takes in the county’s second biggest natural lake before finishing off by following the country’s shortest river.The day starts in Bainbridge, a picturesque community gathered round one of the largest village greens in the Dales. All in all it adds up to quite a day for superlatives.
From the sloping green, take the road which climbs across the top of it signed to Marsett, Semer Water and Countersett. After about half a mile, where the road turns sharply left, carry on straight ahead up the broad track which climbs arrow-straight up the hillside ahead and is signed as a byway to Beggarmans Road.
This is part of the Cam High Road and while its uncompromising line bears the signature directness of the Roman road builders it was actually already old even before Caesar’s armies arrived. Its origins are lost in pre-history but it is thought to have been a very early trade route trodden into existence by ancient man.
Carry on climbing steadily up the track for about a mile and half to where it is crossed by a tarmac lane at Four Lane Ends and then press on ahead again for a little over a mile more until signposts on either side of the track mark the crossing of a path from Burtersett to Marsett. Here, turn left through the gated stile on the path to Marsett, which climbs a short hill.
At the top go through a gate and carry on ahead along a shallow valley to reach a four-armed signpost. Carry on ahead and cross the watershed to where Raydale opens up before you with Semer Water down to your left with the flat-topped hill of Addlebrough beyond.
The path winds steeply down the grass slope, making for Marsett below. At the bottom of the hill the path climbs a stile to join a farm access track. Turn left down this to a road and then turn right up this to cross a bridge into Marsett, a tiny hamlet clustered round a small green and still graced with a traditional red telephone box.
Once over the bridge, take the left hand fork to a signpost and turn left onto the track signed to Stalling Busk. Initially, the track follows the beck before curling away rightwards. Cross two foot bridges and after the second the path leads slightly left before following the right hand wall and then passing through it at a gate to climb to a barn with another gate beside it. Go through this to begin a gently rising traverse across a series of narrow pastures and a quick succession of gates and stiles aiming down the valley towards Semer Water.
Eventually the path reaches the roofless ruin of the isolated old Stalling Busk Church, which dates from the 18th century and was in use until the early 20th when it was replaced by the new church of St Matthew in the village itself in 1909.
After exploring the ruins, take the continuation path down the valley to pass above the lake to emerge on a tarmac lane by a farm. Turn left downhill to the lake.
Legend says that Yorkshire’s own Atlantis lies beneath the placid waters. An old beggar, or in some versions an angel, came to the city that stood there and begged for food and drink but was turned away from every door until he reached a hovel belonging to an old couple who took him in. The next day he cursed the city and the lake rose to drown all the inhabitants except the couple who helped him.
At the outlet do not cross the bridge but turn right on the path beside the River Bain, at just two and half miles long before it joins the Ure, said to be the shortest named river in England. Take the path down the eastern bank, initially following the river, until after about three quarters of a mile the path angles rightwards up the hillside and the river cuts its way through a steep-sided gorge. Carry on above the water with Wensleydale now ahead.
When the path reaches a road, ignore a stile and instead carry on along a path beside the fence to reach the main valley road. Here turn left into Bainbridge at the end of a delightful day’s walking.
Distance: 8 miles/13km
Terrain: Good tracks and field paths
Parking: By village green in Bainbridge
Refreshments: Pubs and cafés in Bainbridge
Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales Northern and Central