Yorkshire Dales walk - Stainforth

PUBLISHED: 18:31 10 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:34 14 August 2018

Stainforth Force

Stainforth Force

Archant

A favourite Yorkshire Dales walk for a bright winter’s day. Words and photographs by Terry Fletcher

Knight Stainforth HallKnight Stainforth Hall

Stainforth is delightful village near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales though its charms will be lost to drivers rushing past on the mini-bypass which steers the lorries that serve the quarries further up the dale and away from the centre. A diversion into the village reveals elegant houses, small cottages and a welcoming pub. Yet none of these are its chief claim to fame, which instead lies tucked away on the other side of the main road towards the satellite hamlet of Knight Stainforth on the opposite bank of the Ribble.

The two are linked by an elegant 17th century packhorse bridge, which itself replaced a long-used ford just a few yards upstream from Stainforth Force. This is not a single fall but, like so many others in the Dales, is a procession of limestone steps over which the river tumbles and charges in a series of cataracts. In spate the force is a daunting sight, and is especially spectacular in the autumn when migrating salmon burst out of the water, flashing silver, as they attempt to leap the falls to reach their spawning grounds in the Upper Ribble. On gentler summer days it is a popular picnic spot with young families. The walk crosses the bridge twice on its way to and from the tiny hamlet of Feizor.

DIRECTIONS

 
Walking in the Yorkshire Dales
Facebook Group · 63 members
Join Group
A place for people who love walking in the Yorkshire Dales. Share your recommendations, routes and photos here.
 

From the national park car park by the main road, go under the road bridge. From the other side of the underpass follow the bridleway rightwards to a gate and out onto a lane, where you turn left to cross the railway bridge over the Settle-Carlisle line and then take the bridleway rightwards parallel to the tracks.

At the end turn left down the lane which winds down to Stainforth Bridge.

Immediately on the other side take the stile or gate on the left and follow the riverbank. Carry on downstream for well over a mile as the Ribble makes its now more placid way through woods and fields to arrive at a metal footbridge and weir just above Langcliffe village on the opposite bank. Do not cross the river but instead turn right up the narrow enclosed track to the secluded community of Stackhouse, which seems to enjoy its rather aloof position on the quiet side of the valley, spared the traffic on the opposite bank of the Ribble. At the road turn left then immediately right on an unsurfaced lane leading further into the hamlet. At a junction carry straight on between the houses and as the track becomes rougher, immediately after the last house, take a gate on the left into the open fields.

Climb the field, leaving it by a ladder stile and at the next boundary go through the right hand of two gates and continue uphill parallel with a wall on the left. At the top go through a gate to pass two small ponds and up a shallow valley. At the next gate bear left up the valley to emerge on a broad plateau. Carry on along the path to where it converges with a wall. Go through the right hand of two gates still following the track.

Soon the flat-topped summit of Ingleborough comes into view and Wharfe Woods appear ahead, marking the way to Feizor, still hidden in the valley below them. Soon a three-armed signpost promises Feizor in half a mile and the track drops down to this charming little hamlet, which is supplied with a popular café.

When you reach Feizor, turn right for a few yards. Opposite Elaine’s Tea Rooms, turn right following a sign pointing back to Stainforth, which it claims to be a rather optimistic 1.5 miles away. Go through the car park and take the signed path with the climbing crags of Pot Scar on the left hand skyline. The path climbs before crossing several walls. At the last one a ladder stile crosses by a fingerpost pointing away rightwards along the wall to Stainforth. As you top a small rise Penyghent comes into view and as the watershed is crossed Stainforth itself appears below.

Follow the track downhill past a farm to arrive at Knight Stainforth, also known as Little Stainforth. Like its larger counterpart across the river, where the walk started, this village also stands well back from the Ribble. Its centrepiece is the impressive, white-painted Knight Stainforth Hall. This is the grandest building in either of the Stainforths. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book and the hall has had a colourful past, playing a part in failed insurrections against the Crown and also as an early Quaker Meeting House. Today it has a more placid role as a caravan site. Continue downhill past the hall and the large caravan site to arrive back at Stainforth Bridge and retrace your steps to the car park.

COMPASS POINTS

Start/finish: Stainforth, near Settle

Distance: 7miles.11km

Height gain: 650ft/200m

Time: 3-4 hours

Terrain: Field and fell paths.Two climbs

Parking: National park pay and display

Refreshment: Tea shop at Feizor, pub at Stainforth. Wide choice in Settle

Map: OS OL41 Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Yorkshire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Yorkshire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Yorkshire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 00:00

The first ever National GetOutside Day takes place on Sunday 30 September with the aim of getting 1 million people active outdoors across the UK.

Read more
Mon, 00:00

There’s lots going on in Wakefield so visitors shouldn’t just confine their visit to the nationally famous Hepworth gallery, says Tony Greenway.

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Flamborough might be small but it has a big beach bag full of fun stuff for visitors to do

Read more
Flamborough
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Enjoy this walk with its secretive paths through shady woods starting from a classic North York Moors village

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Gateway to the Dales can be the perfect base for a walking holiday around the Yorkshire Dales, this selection of walks are all within a ten mile radius of the market town.

Read more
Skipton
Monday, September 10, 2018

Ambitious plans are going ahead to create new and unique public gardens that will inspire your own planting

Read more
York
Thursday, September 6, 2018

There’s much more to Leyburn than you might expect, as Martin Pilkington discovered when he joined the growing throng of visitors.

Read more
Leyburn
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

There are plenty of reasons for the obvious pride locals have in Brighouse

Read more
Brighouse
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Organisers of the 160th Great Yorkshire Show welcome many thousands of visitors to their anniversary extravaganzer

Read more
Great Yorkshire Show
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The hidden life below the waves is vital to the wildlife above it. Clea Grady from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust takes a peek into the North Sea

Read more

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Property Search