A 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales
A Dales High Way Walk: a 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales

A Dales High Way

News Archive 2015

Christmas floods devastate North

Further floods produced by the warmest winter on record have caused devastation Footbridge across River Aire at Hirst Woodsto the north of England, including Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Cumbria again.

The Met Office issued two severe weather warnings, meaning danger to life, for rain in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Almost a month's rainfall is likely to fall in one day in some places. The Environment Agency said affected residents should "take action now".

Worst affected so far is the River Ribble, though every river in Lancashire exceeded record levels, the Environment Agency said. The agency also issued 'severe flood warnings' for the River Calder in the Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge areas.

The River Aire burst its banks in several places causing widespread flooding. At Saltaire, at the start of A Dales High Way, Roberts Park became a lake and there was flooding at Salts Mill, as well as a number of homes and businesses along the riverside at Shipley.

More rain is expected overnight.

Photo shows the Dales High Way footbridge across the River Aire early Saturday afternoon - just hanging on.

See the latest flood warnings here.

26 Dec 2015

Floods renew ancient waterfall

Heavy rainfall across North Yorkshire has reignited a regional beauty spot's Rare waterfall at Malham Covehistoric waterfall for the first time in hundreds of years.

For the first time in living memory water has cascaded over the rim of Malham Cove, recreating a scene first witnessed at the end of the last Ice Age, when it is believed glacial melt waters gouged out the Dry Valley above and carved the familar spectacular limestone ampitheatre. The waters had long ago disappeared underground.

It is believed to have become the highest unbroken waterfall in England after water began shooting over its 80 metre-plus high cliff due to freak weather on Sunday morning.

The occurrence comes after Storm Desmond tore through Britain, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to the region and causing Cumbria to declare a major incident. The army was called in to help evacuate residents as Carlisle and Appleby suffered severe floods, with over 2,000 properties flooded and 60,000 homes left without power. There has been major transport disruption throughout the region.

Flash flooding also affected Skipton and Settle, all important towns along A Dales High Way.

The Environment Agency said more than a month's average rainfall was recorded in 24 hours on Saturday. Area manager Lisa Pinney said: "We have spent £45m on flood defences in Cumbria since 2009. Those defences did an important job this weekend in giving us time to ensure we could get warnings out. There is no doubt the flooding would have been a lot worse if the defences hadn't been in place."

Anyone walking A Dales High Way at this time is advised to avoid the last section along Hoff Beck which has suffered from flooding, until the damage has been rectified. Take to the road from Great Asby (see Grot Spots here for details), or pick up the Coast to Coast route at Ravenstonedale Moor and head for Kirkby Stephen.

See previous story here.

7 Dec 2015

New Pennine Way film

A couple of walkers enjoying the Heart of the Pennine Way have made a video blog of their journey, to celebrate the National Trail's 50th anniversary.

Following the route of the Mid Pennine Way - 165 miles from Hebden Bridge to Hadrian's Wall, David Halsall and Bridget Izod have recorded their experience through fine weather and foul,  using the newly published guide book from Skyware Press. And on the murky high point of Cross Fell they were joined by Chris and Tony Grogan with dog Jess.

"We wanted to join them at the highest point with a flask of coffee and some cake, though we had trouble finding them in the thick mist" said Chris.

This is the fifth film of a Skyware long distance trail that the duo, both members of the Friends of A Dales High Way, have made. Others include walking The Dales Way, A Dales High Way, Lady Anne's Way and the Coast to Coast Path.

A number of the spots visited were familiar from previous trails: spectacular Malham Cove from A Dales High Way; windy Cam Fell from the Dales Way; bustling Hawes from Lady Anne's Way and beautiful Keld on the Coast to Coast walk.

A small proportion of the production costs for the 14-minute film were met by a grant from the Yorkshire Dales National Park's Sustainable Development Fund.

See all David & Bridget's films here. See the Mid Pennine Way website here and the National Trail website here.

1 Dec 2015

Offroaders come unstuck on Ilkey Moor

Police are trying to trace the drivers who abandoned their 4x4 vehicles on Ilkey Moor.

4x4's stuck on Ilkley Moor (photo: T&A)Three vehicles became stuck in the deep mud last Wednesday near Whetstone Gate on the ridge of  Rombalds Moor between Keighley and Ilkley, close to the route of A Dales High Way.

Local resident Richard Barton found the vehicles near the track, with their wheels stuck in boggy ground, as he walked with friends on Thursday morning.

He said: “I have seen vehicles on the Ilkley-Keighley track, but the only ones I have seen on the moor have been shooting party vehicles.

“The moor here is very boggy and the vehicles appear to have attempted to keep moving by driving with two wheels on the paved footpath, which they have damaged. It clearly didn't work.”

A Keighley Police spokesman said it appeared one of the vehicles had been driven on to the moorland but got stuck, and the other two vehicles unsuccessfully tried to pull it out.

The spokesman added: “It’s been recorded as criminal damage because there are trespass issues. There are large ruts in the ground, and paving slabs have been knocked out of line.

“Efforts are being made to talk to the owners of vehicles.”

See the T&A report here.

22 Nov 2014

New walking holiday from Wandering Aengus

Walking Holiday company Wandering Aengus have added A Dales High Way to their growing list of self guided walking holidays.

Wandering Aengus dogs Ellie and JJ on Ingleborough They are offering several packages to suit the needs of most walkers - from a 6-day, 7 night holiday for just £515 per person, to a 9-day, 10 night holiday for £725. Each package includes bed and breakfast accommodation in guest houses, inns or hotels along the way, with luggage transfers in between, as well as maps and guidebooks, route notes and an emergency contact number.

Wandering Aengus is a small and friendly Cumbrian holiday company, set up by Pete and Karen Royall in 2001 to provide "quality walking holidays to those who love mountains and places of natural beauty", mainly in the Lake District and Northern England.

Pete said "We love the concept of Long Distance Footpaths - to wander "through hollow lands and hilly lands", each day discovering a brand new part of the world. Add to this a fine mountain challenge or high level stride over moor and ridge, and you have the essence of a Wandering Aengus Trek. This is why when we heard about the Dales High Way, we just had to walk it and offer it to our clients."

Pete was born and raised in South Lakeland and spent 10 years leading treks and expeditions to the Himalaya, Karakoram and the South American Andes before establishing Wandering Aengus. Karen is the organising genius behind the company: previously a successful Executive P.A. in the City of London, she has also trekked and climbed in the Indian Himalaya, and in Pakistan's formidable Karakoram Mountains under the shadow of K2.

Wandering Aengus is the latest walking holiday company to offer A Dales High Way - others include Brigantes, Sherpa Van, Contours and North West Walks.

Photo shows Pete and Karen's dogs Ellie and JJ, surveying the scene from the summit of Ingleborough.

See the Wandering Aengus website here, and links to other Baggage Couriers and Walking Holiday Companies here.

12 Nov 2015

Yorkshire Dales National Park extension approved

After a frustrating three year wait, the government has Yorkshire dales National Park extensionfinally approved the proposed extensions to the Yorkshire Dales and Lakes National Parks.

The new designations will come into force in August next year, but there is as yet no new money to cover the additional costs faced by the National Park Authorities.

The extension to the Dales National Park includes an area to the west, taking in Barbon, Middleton, Casterton and Leck Fells, the River Lune, and part of Firbank Fell and other fells to the west of the River Lune.

To the north the Park will take in the Cumbrian areas of the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang.

Walkers on A Dales High Way will now find themselves inside the newly extended National Park as far as Hoff, less than 3 miles to the finish at Appleby-in-Westmorland. The new extension recognises the similar geological features and shared cultural ties of the landscape which is followed by the trail.

In her letter announcing the decision, Environment Secretary Liz Truss noted "The YDNP was designated in the 1950s, and much of the land proposed for inclusion by Natural England had previously been earmarked for potential inclusion at that time. However the land was not previously included due to an emphasis on administrative boundaries and main roads in determining the boundaries at that time."

Liz Truss arrived at Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes on Friday to announce that the two parks would be expanded to create the largest seamless stretch of protected landscape in England. She said “I wanted to make sure that we got on with this because it’s a fantastic opportunity for the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District and it will make sure that we protect this vital, beautiful landscape for generations to come.”

The Yorkshire Dales Park Authority gets 79% (£4m.) of its funding from Government, but has seen a 38 per cent cut to its government grant since 2010. The new extension will add 188 square miles to the Park, increasing its size by a quarter.

See the full details of the Yorkshire Dales National Park extension here and see our previous posting here.

27 Oct 2015

National Park faces further cutbacks

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is bracing itself Ingleborough fingerpostfor a further round of cuts when the government's Comprehensive Spending Review is published on November 25th.

National park authorities have had their budgets cut by 40 per cent in real terms since 2011 - and now the Chancellor has warned that spending could be sliced by a further 25 to 40 per cent over the next four years.

Dales National Park Chairman Peter Charlesworth said: “Our funding from central Government is now worth only three fifths what it was back in 2010. Over the last five years we have lost programmes such as transport and education and had to significantly reduce our activity in others.

“Next year’s rights of way budget will be nearly half that pre-cuts. Could it be that in future we just concentrate on a few select footpaths and have no option but to let the rest deteriorate?"

The budget for all 15 of Britain's national parks amounts to just 69p per person a year - the price of a packet of crisps - and, for the Yorkshire Dales National Park, just 6p.

 “Unfortunately we’re now in a challenging period of not knowing for some time what the size of any cuts to our Defra core grant might be”, said Peter.

“The waters are further muddied by the continuing absence of any announcement about the proposed boundary extension. In the meantime, the thing that we do still have control over is achieving our own objectives, including those we’ve set ourselves for raising our own income.”

This year, Members of the Authority approved a fundraising strategy with a core aim to move away from a reliance on the Government grant which currently makes up 77% of the Authority’s income. By 2020 this figure is likely to have been reduced to less than 60%, with the other 40% coming from the Authority’s own efforts.

The UK’s 15 national parks have teamed up to form a new company, the National Parks Partnership Ltd, in a bid to find new solutions to the funding crisis.

Download a copy of the latest Dales newspaper here, or visit the Yorkshire Dales National Park website here. See the Campaign for National Parks here.

18 Oct 2015

Extreme adventurer in Dales High Way country

The extreme adventurer and former Special Forces officer Bear Grylls at Gordale Scar for ITVBear Grylls is facing criticism over his latest ITV show Britain's Biggest Adventures in which he explores the Yorkshire Dales.

The film features Grylls abseiling down Malham Cove, exploring Gordale Scar, and diving into the River Ribble at Stainforth - all places familiar to walkers on A Dales High Way.

But his exploration of the Long Churn cave system has brought criticism from the Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO).

CRO chair Heather Eastwood said “Bear Grylls is Chief Scout and is an inspirational figure to many young people but both ITV and Bear Grylls himself have shown a total lack of responsibility by portraying some of the activities in the light that you choose to do.”

 “To depict caving as something that you can just turn up and do is both irresponsible and dangerous.

“The fact that he had no safety equipment in the form of appropriate clothing, a helmet and a reliable hands free torch, which are a basic necessity in caving, was an elementary mistake.

“I and many of my colleagues feel that ITV has disregarded safety and common sense in favour of sensationalising the activities to draw viewers.”

Long Churn Cave is often used as a ‘beginners cave’, but can prove dangerous in stormy weather when it fills with water. In 2007, a man and woman both drowned in the same incident, and in 2008 two separate groups were trapped in the cave during storms, although no lives were lost.

In 2014 CRO attended 73 call-outs, including eight cave-related ones. Of those, two involved people who were physically stuck, one fall, one who had become marooned due to a lost rope and one who was overdue after losing their way.

Catch the film on ITV Player here, and see the Cave Rescue Organisation website here.

3 October 2015

Star Party at Settle

The dark skies of the Yorkshire Dales offer a great Star Party at Settleopportunity to see the wonders of the night sky - stars, planets, galaxies and the Milky Way.

Settle is celebrating this fantastic dark sky panorama with a day-long Star Party on Saturday, October 10th, with events for all the family throughout the day and evening.

Settle Stories are bringing in the experts, the scientists, the people who know everything there is to know about the stars, along with the dreamers and the artists who tell the myths and stories of the stars.

Rod Hine - president of the Bradford Astronomical Society, will guide you through an Introduction to Astronomy; there will be Solar telescopes on hand through the day and in the evening the Society will offer telescopes and help to view the night-time wonders of the heavens.

An indoor planetarium - Star lab - is on hand throughout the day with an astronomer and storyteller to guide you through the science and stories of the stars.

Settle Stories have commissioned two new storytelling shows with international storyteller Cassandra Wye. One for adults and one for families. Join Cassandra and discover evocative stories that will take you to another world where anything can happen and probably will...

There are also Rocket Workshops for the kids, exhibitions, a Star Bar and much much more.

See The Star Party at Settle Stories here, and the full programme here.

27 Sept 2015

Ingleborough path repairs

Major work is being undertaken on the footpath up to Path repairs on Ingleborough approachIngleborough, above the shooting hut ruin where A Dales High Way joins the popular Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge Route. Reclaimed stone flags have been flown in by helicopter for the work.

Park Ranger and Three Peaks project Manager Steve Hasty explained: "We will be flagging two sections of previously subsoiled path to the west of the shooting hut.  The work is being funded by a significant grant from HF Holidays 'Pathways Fund'.

"The footpath through the Allotment is part of the main Three Peaks challenge route and is a popular route to Ingleborough summit from Horton in Ribblesdale.  Each year approximately 50,000 people complete the Three Peaks using the Allotment path.

"The route through the Allotment was engineered in the early 1990’s using the subsoil or path inversion technique.  Two sections of the path on steeper ground have become very difficult to use due to a combination of heavy footfall and water damage.  Walkers are now avoiding the path and trampling the fragile vegetation to the sides, with the inevitable result that the path is widening.

"This project will see the line of the path re-built and re-profiled using a 360 excavator, with stone flags laid as steps to provide the walking surface.  The sides of the path will be landscaped and turfed by hand using volunteers.

"This is a technique that has been used successfully elsewhere in the Three Peaks.  Due to the cost of the reclaimed flags and the requirement usually to lift the flags to site using a helicopter, the technique has a high capital cost.  However it has the long-term advantage of creating a very stable path with extremely low maintenance requirements and is considered a much more sustainable option.

"The work is in two sections of 76m and 40m totalling 116m."

This story features as part of an update report to the state of A Dales High Way to be found in the new Autumn Newsletter No. 2, which you can download as a pdf file from the Friends of A Dales High Way page here.

See also The Friends of the Three Peaks here.

10 Sept 2015

Settle Folk Festival

The second Settle Folk Festival gets underway this weekend - and it's FREE!

Folk musicians at settle Folk festivalThe festival is the brainchild of well known folk musician Mike Harding, who lives in nearby Langcliffe and runs regular music sessions at the Lion Inn. This year the anticipated musicians costs of around £2,500 have been covered in advance thanks to the fund raising efforts of Mike and his happy band of volunteers.

The main festival concerts take place at the Victoria Hall, and even though the events are all free, tickets must be booked in advance. There will also be impromptu music sessions and workshops at the pubs in Settle, and dancing in the Market Square.

Events include BILL LLOYD and friends (Thursday); Ceilidh with MIKE HARDING and house band THE WILLIAM SMALL ORCHESTRA, followed by Late night dancing with THE DUNCAN McFARLANE ROCK N’ ROLL FOLK BAND (Friday); SHEESHAM AND LOTUS AND SONS (Saturday); with the CHURCHFITTERS (Sunday).

See the Settle Folk Festival website here, and catch Mike Harding's weekly Folk show here.

1 Sept 2015

Sedbergh Welcomes Walkers – official!

Sedbergh is celebrating becoming one of the latest Northern Howgillstowns to win Walkers are Welcome status.

The news was announced on Monday this week and celebrated at a Walkers are Welcome northern gathering in Kirkby Stephen.

For walkers Sedbergh is the gateway to the Howgill Fells and the western Yorkshire Dales. There is an extensive network of footpaths and tracks that cover the nearby fells and riverbanks. It is also an essential stopping point for walkers on both A Dales High Way and the Dales Way.

The Walkers Are Welcome initiative was launched in 2007, with Hebden Bridge being the first town to be accredited. Since then over 100 towns and villages have joined the scheme, including Ilkley, Bingley and Baildon at the start of A Dales High Way.

Julia Bradbury, broadcaster and walking enthusiast, said “The Walkers Are Welcome Scheme is a truly innovative project. It’s such a simple concept: set up an accreditation scheme for walk-friendly towns, then encourage the towns to network together for support, advice and ideas. That simplicity has led to jaw dropping success…”

See our previous posting here, the Sedbergh Gateway here and the Walkers Are Welcome website here.

14 Aug 2015

Yorkshire Dales tops for wildlife

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of the top places in the Purple Saxifragecountry for wildlife, according to a new report published by National Parks England.

As well as having some of the largest areas of limestone pavement in the UK, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is home to more than 1,000 species of moths, around 100 species of nesting birds, over 25 species of butterflies and more than 30 species of mammals – including rare red squirrels and dormice.

There is a species of moss that grows nowhere else in the world and a species of bat (the brown long-eared bat) that has ears three quarters the length of its head and body. The limestone crags of Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough are home for the rare Purple Saxifrage (shown in photo).

There are also hundreds of plant species. In fact, the Yorkshire Dales contains the only wild site in the country where the beautiful Lady’s-Slipper Orchid grows and almost a third of England’s remaining upland hay meadows, which are rich in wildflowers.

Andrew Colley, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Member Champion for the Natural Environment, said: “Look at a flower-rich meadow in the Yorkshire Dales and you get a very different picture from the one often associated with modern, intensive farming. More than any other part of England, this area is still dominated by magnificent, semi-natural wildlife habitats and is still managed by the sort of low intensity, ‘High Nature Value’ farming systems that are particularly valuable for wildlife.

“As a result, we are bucking the national trend with some of our most important bird species like Lapwings, Curlews and Black Grouse, because the populations are stable here while they are in decline nationally. That’s part of what makes the Yorkshire Dales National Park such a great place for people to visit and enjoy.”

Walkers on A Dales High Way naturally enjoy a personal close up view of the limestone pavements and flower rich meadows through the Yorkshire Dales.

Visit National Parks England website here and download a pdf copy of National Parks: England’s Wildlife Wonders here.

1 August 2015

Cave archaeology for Virtual Museum

The remains of lion, elephant, rhinoceros and hippopotamus that once roamed the Yorkshire Dales will feature in an Tom Lord and guests at Lower Winskill Farmimportant new project to digitize and preserve the rich archaeological cave archives from Victoria Cave at Attermire.

The Under the Uplands project, run by DigVentures and based at Lower Winskill Farm near Settle, will run until December 2016 and will rely heavily on the work of volunteers to undertake the work of digitizing, enhancing and interpreting the archive, before making it publically available.

A new community-led excavation of a previously unexcavated cave site - Haggs Brow Cave, Settle, will also be undertaken. The project has won Heritage Lottery funding of £100.000.

Commenting on the award, Lisa Westcott Wilkins, DigVentures’ Managing Director, said: ‘Some of the objects we’ve seen from past excavations at Victoria Cave are mind-blowing: bones of spotted hyaenas and their prey such as elephant, rhinoceros and hippopotamus, complete skulls of brown bears, rare Ice Age hunter’s tools, and a medley of beautiful Roman decorative objects. It is imperative that the excavations and the finds from the cave are made accessible, which is why we are so excited about the Virtual Museum.”

Archaeologist and farmer Tom Lord is the custodian of the archive at his home at Lower Winskill Farm. His grandfather Tot Lord was involved in early excavations of Victoria and other caves.

Tom said: ‘Victoria Cave tells of times the Dales were truly wild. The excavations found amazing evidence of top Ice Age predators and their eco-systems, and an incredible human story reaching back nearly fifteen thousand years. But cave environments and their archaeological sediments are extremely vulnerable. Most of the damage is unintentionally caused by recreational activities such as climbing and walking, and casual cave exploration. It is vitally important that we share this information with as many people as possible, and that a Cave Archaeology Toolkit is developed that will help visitors to enjoy these very special places without putting them in danger.’

Picture shows Tom Lord showing guests around Lower Winskill Farm.

See the DigVentures site here, Lower Winskill Farm here, and our previous posting here.

13 July 2015

Dentdale Festival scorcher

This year's Dentdale Music & Beer Festival is proving to be another scorcher, with the small Dales village of Dent packed out with happy festival goers.

This years free 3-day folk festival features a number of popular Bella Gaffney at Dentdale Festivalregular acts, including the resident festival favourites The Dog Roses, Sunday's headliner Sarah Gillespie and Saturday afternoon's highlight Bella Gaffney and her new Bric-a-Brac Band (pictured).

Sarah began her acoustic music career a few years ago at the famous Topic Folk Club in Bradford. After another popular spot last year, Bella picked up some new band members in an impromptu session at the Condor Farm campsite.

Needless to say, both main campsites were fully booked up by the start of the festival, but once again the Community Transport bus was on hand to collect and drop day visitors at the railway station 4 miles up the dale.

A very special treat for any Dales High Way walkers passing through!

See the Dentdale Festival site here, Bella Gaffney's website here, and our previous posting here.

28 June 2015

New cafe at Little Stainforth

A new cafe/bar and restaurant has recently opened at Little The Knight's Table cafeStainforth, directly on the route of A Dales High Way.

The Maudsley family, who own and run Knight Stainforth caravan and camping park, have created a new reception area, shop, restaurant, games room and function room from what was previously an old farm building.

The Knight’s Table is open to the general public as well as to people staying on the park, so passing walkers are welcome to pop in for a coffee or a snack.

Chris Maudsley, who runs Knight Stainforth with his brother and both their wives, told us, “A lot of our campers are walking A Dales High Way. The cafe means that they won’t have to carry food if they don’t want to – they can enjoy a meal right here on site.”

The family are also considering opening a bunkbarn and ensuite bedroom accommodation in the future, which will be great for Dales High Way walkers. Stainforth is an ideal place to spend the night before heading over Ingleborough and into Chapel-e-Dale.

See the Knight Stainforth website here, and the Knight's Table cafe facebook page here.

18 June 2015

Appleby Horse Fair begins today

The 2015 Appleby Horse Fair began today as thousands of Appleby Horse FairGypsies and Travellers poured into the normally quiet Westmorland town for the annual event. The Appleby Horse Fair is the biggest such gathering in Europe, and attracts a further 40,000 visitors who come to enjoy the week-long spectacle.

Walkers finishing A Dales High Way this week are in for a surprise and a treat, though finding accommodation is going to be nigh impossible.

For the last six years the Fair has been overseen by a Multi Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) which has helped reduce problems and improved relations between visitors and locals.

Billy Welch, a Gypsy and Traveller representative on MASCG, said: “I would like to personally thank the Gypsies and Travellers who are making their way to Appleby Fair for responding positively to our message about not arriving too soon for this year’s event. The number of early arrivals has greatly reduced; this has helped to make more spaces available at temporary stopping places for bowtops and for horse grazing.

“This reduction has made a really positive difference to the local communities in Cumbria, for the Police and the other public agencies involved in MASCG. It is something that we hope we can repeat in future years, as we all work together to make the Horse Fair safer and more enjoyable for all concerned.”    

Detective Chief Superintendent Sean Robinson, from Cumbria Police said: “The start of Appleby Horse Fair has gone to plan. We will be hosting the first Community Group Meeting tonight, where local people and Gypsy and Traveller representatives can raise any areas of concern.”

The RSPCA has warned dog owners not to bring their pets to the Horse Fair. RSPCA Chief Inspector Rob Melloy said: “Dogs should not be brought to the Horse Fair at all; it is quite simply not a place for them. Horses can get “spooked” by dogs and dogs can get trampled by horses. We also don’t want to see any dogs being left behind in vehicles either. I don’t know what it takes for people to get the message that dogs die quickly in hot vehicles. It happens so fast. So do your dog a favour, leave it at home.”

See the official Appleby Horse Fair website here, and our previous posting here.

4 June 2015

Countryfile comes to Saltaire

Saltaire, at the start of A Dales High Way, features prominently Anita Rani visits Saltaire for BBC's Countryfilein a special edition of the BBC’s Countryfile this week, when presenter Anita Rani returns to her home turf of Bradford to explore the countryside on the edge of the city, discovering the rural gem right on her doorstep.

Anita was born and bred in Bradford and fondly remembers escaping the city to explore the Moors. It’s a journey that city dwellers have taken in these parts for well over 150 years. Anita visits the Victorian village of Saltaire, designed to integrate natural beauty into the urban landscape and built by rich mill owner Titus Salt, to house his workforce. The idea was to give them a utopia away from the pollution and disease of Bradford. Anita explores the village – and its rules - with the help of local historian, Maria Glot. Then she meets Jamie Roberts and his three alpacas, to find out why their unusual wool was so significant in Saltaire.

Anita continues her journey from town to country on Britain’s oldest working tramway. Now approaching its 120th birthday, this tram was built to take people from Roberts Park in Saltaire, and surrounding mill towns, deeper into the countryside.  At the top of the tramway lies Baildon Moor. Victorians used to flock here in their thousands to escape the pollution of the industrial towns. Today, Baildon Moor is used by over 50 activity groups, from bird watchers to horse-riders and fell runners.

Watch WHERE TOWN MEETS COUNTRY on Countryfile on BBC iplayer here, or see Countryfile Magazine here.

18 May 2015

Ride2stride draws to a close

The fourth annual Settle-Carlisle Walking Festival - ride2stride 2015 - drew to a close yesterday after a week of varied Mussic sessions at the Crown Inn, Horton-in-Ribblesdaleweather led to some challenging moments on some of the walks, but failed to dampen spirits.

The Friends of A Dales High Way helped promote two events in conjunction with the Yorkshire Dales Society: a 7-mile walk from Settle to visit the remarkable Hoffmann Kiln, returning along A Dales High Way, led by Colin Speakman; and a talk by author Sheila Gordon about how she created a popular long-distance trail Lady Anne's Way, a trail which shares a short section from Skipton with A Dales High Way.

There was the usual mixture of walks, talks and music, with the daily music sessions especially giving the whole week a true lively festival atmosphere. Walkers from across Britian and beyond, including America, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, enjoyed a great week in the Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley.

Chris Grogan, secretary of the ride2stride organising committee, said "Despite a couple of blustery and wet days, the weather has been generally good and certainly everyone has thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It's been great to meet some old friends, but there have been a lot of new visitors too this year. We've also enjoyed some fabulous music sessions, especially over the weekend. All in all another terrific festival"

For those who missed the festival, many of the walks feature in Dales Rail Trails, a guidebook to circular and linear walks from the famous Settle-Carlisle railway, written and produced by Chris and Tony Grogan, which includes sections along A Dales High Way.

See ride2stride here, and Dales Rail Trails here.

5 May 2015

A new way to tackle an old friend

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Britain’s first long-distance Heart of the Pennine Wayfootpath, and the event is being celebrated with the publication of Heart of the Pennine Way, a guidebook for a 165-mile walk along the Mid Pennine Way from Hebden Bridge to Hadrian’s Wall.

The Mid Pennine Way is essentially an abridged version of Britain’s toughest National Trail – the 268-mile Pennine Way. It is formed by taking the two end stages of the Pennine Way, undoubtedly the most difficult stages both physically and logistically, and putting them to one side. That cuts out Edale to the Calder Valley and Hadrian’s Wall to Kirk Yetholm, a total of just under 100 miles.

The remaining 165 mile route is a glorious trail along the backbone of England, from the wild moors of West Yorkshire to the rich southern borders of the Northumberland National Park.

It features almost all the highlights to be found along the Pennine Way, including the stunning limestone country of the Yorkshire Dales, the dramatic waterfalls and wild open moors of the Durham Dales and the very best section of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.

Co author Chris Grogan said: “When we were planning a fortnight’s walking holiday, we looked at the Pennine Way but knew we couldn’t walk it all. So we came up with a new way to tackle an old friend - the Mid Pennine Way. It worked for us - we thoroughly enjoyed our Mid Pennine Way adventure and we would recommend it whole heartedly.”

Chris, who also co-devised A Dales High Way, said that the Mid Pennine Way could be tackled in several stages using the beautiful and iconic Settle to Carlisle railway to access the route at key points. And for those who don't like to leave any unfinished business, the guidebook includes additional detailed mapping to the whole of the 268-mile Pennine Way National Trail.

The book will be officially launched tomorrow in Hebden Bridge, as part of the celebrations to open the new Hebden Bridge Loop that links to the Pennine Way.

A proportion of the proceeds from the sale of each book will go to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, to help maintain the Pennine Way.

Buy the Heart of the Pennine Way here, see The Mid Pennine Way website here, and join the opening celebrations of the Hebden Bridge Loop here.

April 24 2015

Pennine Way at 50

Britain's first and toughest National Trail celebrates it's 50th birthday later this month, and features in a new 4-part BBC TV documentary which begins tonight on BBC Yorkshire.

Paul Rose at Malham CovePolar explorer Paul Rose walks the trail, from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm on the Scottish borders, crossing through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales along the way.

The Pennine Way even shares a short section with A Dales High Way - the path along the Dry Valley of Watlowes above Malham Cove.

The Pennine Way was the brainchild of Tom Stephenson - rambler and socialist campaigner - who first proposed A Pennine Way from the Peaks to the Cheviots in a newspaper article in 1935. The route was finally opened as Britian's first long distance footpath 30 years later, on April 24 1965 at an event on Malham Moor attended by over 2,000 people.

See Paul Rose here and more about the BBC TV series here, and the Pennine Way Association here.

10 April 2015

New OS map features Dales High Way

Ordnance Survey have published a new version of their OL19 Explorer map - Howgill Fells and Upper Eden Valley - which features A Dales High Way as a recreational path.

OL19-explorer cover OL19 Explorer area covered

With the route of A Dales High Way already being included in a new version of their OL2 Explorer map - Yorkshire Dales - Southern & Western areas - last year, this means that most of the long distance trail is now covered by OS mapping.

The new map features the trail as it crosses the Howgill Fells from Sedbergh on to it's finishing point in Appleby-in-Westmorland.

Chris Grogan of the Friends of A Dales High Way said: "We have seen the popularity of the trail increase year on year and it's great news at last to see that people will now be able to follow almost all the route on OS mapping. They should, of course, still use the guide books which provide so much more additional information about the walk."

See our previous posting here, and buy the new OL19 map from OS here.

31 March 2015

Pubs get a toast

The Eden Valley Tourism team chose a theme that is close to Clive and Jason at the Midland Hotelthe heart of many walkers to celebrate English Tourism Week 2015 – pubs.

Pubs play a crucial role in the life of the Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley, both for locals and visitors alike. The Friends of A Dales High Way was just one of the groups invited to the Midland Hotel in Appleby today to see Rory Stewart MP launch Drovers Gold, a new beer from Eden Brewery.

The Midland is a favourite with walkers, being situated right by the railway station. Landlord Clive Bissland said, “We enjoy welcoming Dales High Way walkers at the end of their walk, whether they call in for a drink or a meal or they stay the night with us before catching the train home”.

Before heading for the pub, walkers can call at the Tourist Information Centre to collect their Dales High Way certificates. What finer way is there to end a long distance walk?

Photo shows the Midland Hotel’s Clive Bissland and Eden Brewery’s Jason Hill being filmed for TV at the event.

See The Midland Hotel here, Eden Brewery here and Appleby TIC here.

6 Mar 2015

Two new treats at Salts Mill

Walkers who spend some time exploring Saltaire before they set off on A Dales High Way are in for a treat this year.

Model of Salts Mill
Hockney's portrait of Salts Mill

A new gallery has just opened on the third floor of Salts Mill with an exhibition entitled People and Process. The objects on display tell the story of Salts Mill itself and include machinery, clothing and art. There is even a plate from the lavish banquet thrown by Titus Salt to celebrate the opening of the mill in 1853 and attended by 2,440 workers and 1,310 guests. Also on view is film footage showing workers streaming out of the factory gates onto Victoria Road on 24th July 1900.

Also recently opened is a new show by David Hockney. Called The Arrival of Spring it’s a detailed study of the changing seasons with each image depicting a specific day between January 1st and May 31st 2011. The art was created on Hockney’s ipad and is printed out at 1.4 metres high.

Both exhibitions are free of charge and open Wed – Sun 10.00am to 4.30pm (5.30pm at weekends).

See Salts Mill here, and film of the factory gates 1900 here.

21 feb 2015

National Park takes over Pennine Way

Management of the entire 270-mile Pennine Way, Britain’s first Dry Valley above Malham CoveNational Trail, is to pass to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

The trail is currently managed by Natural England, but responsibility will pass to a partnership of all the local authorities covering the route, with the Dales National Park taking the lead role.

David Butterworth, the Park Authority’s Chief Executive said: “It is a big undertaking for us but after a year of shadow-managing the trails in partnership with local authorities, other national parks, charitable trusts and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we are confident we can not only manage this great national asset successfully but enhance and improve it for everyone.”

The Authority has secured a £350,000 annual grant from Natural England to maintain and improve both the walking route and the 205-mile Pennine Bridleway, which runs from Derbyshire to Cumbria. From April the other authorities along the route will pay a fee to the National Park Authority.

A Dales High Way shares a short section with the Pennine Way, along the Dry Valley above Malham Cove.

The Dales National Park Authority has faced big cuts in recent years, losing a third of its staff. Its current annual budget is just under £5 million.

The Pennine Way celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – it was officially launched near Malham Tarn by its founder Tom Stephenson in April 1965.

See the Dales National Park here, and the Pennine Way National Trail here.

12 Feb 2015

GPS route logs for Dales High Way

Hand held Global Positioning System devices (GPS) are becoming increasingly popular amongst walkers and there's GPS in useno doubt that they give a good deal of reassurance to walkers who fear becoming lost in featureless terrain or misty conditions.

Of course, they can never replace a good guide book or OS map as the primary source for route information. No-one wants to walk a long distance trail with a GPS device held out in front of them for guidance.

The Friends of A Dales High Way often receive requests for GPS route files for the long distance trail, so now we've added them to this website.

The Dales High Way route files are available in several formats, depending on the device you use and are available to download for free.

The route logs were originally created by John Sparshatt of the Long Distance Walkers Association and made available to its members on their excellent and comprehensive walkers' website. John kindly gave us permission to use them here.

Tony Grogan of the Friends said: "The GPS route files give the main route but don't include the various alternatives, such as those for bad weather over the high fells. They should be of sufficient detail to help locate your postion along the trail. We haven't checked all the formats in detail, so would be grateful for any feedback from walkers.

"We're very grateful to John Sparshatt for letting us use these files."

Walkers shouldn't rely on GPS devices though. Bear in mind - batteries die and technology sometimes fails.

Download the GPS route files here. See the Long Distance Walkers Association website here.

1 Feb 2015

Saltaire trees to go

32 mature trees that line Victoria Road in Saltaire are to be Saltaire trees to be removedremoved as part of a £720,000 restoration project.

The trees – a mixture of horse chestnut, copper beech, Norway maple and rowan, were planted in the 1950’s and were not part of the original design of the model village. Unfortunately the trees have grown too big and are damaging paving and blocking light to nearby houses.

The trees are expected to be removed this spring, following which new Yorkshire stone paving will be installed and new LED streetlights fitted. The four lions outside Victoria Hall, which marks the start of A Dales High Way, will be illuminated.

Councillor Val Slater said “The scheme will ultimately bring Victoria Road back to how it was originally, but with a modern twist. The trees were a 1950s intrusion, and the new scheme will open up the vista.

Local consultations provided majority backing for the scheme, which is expected to be finished in March 2016.

Vanessa Pilny, chair of the Saltaire Village Society, said: “People say the lighting looks fantastic, especially plans to light up the lions outside Victoria Hall. A lot of the old stone is going to be recycled and it will mean the pavements will be much safer and look better too.”

See the restoration plans here, and the Saltaire Village Society here.

14 Jan 2015

2014 – hottest year on record

The Met Office has confirmed that 2014 proved to be the Malham Cove in the sunwarmest year since records began in 1910, pipping the previous record year of 2006.

The mean temperature of 9.9 degrees beat the 9.7 degrees of 2006 and confirms that all the UK’s top eight warmest years have happened since 2002.

The devastating winter floods in the early part of the year proved only to make the year the fifth wettest on record. The wettest day saw 146.8 mm of rain at Ennerdale, Black Sail, Cumbria on 6 March 2014. The high fells of the English Lake District are climatologically one of the wettest parts of the UK.

The Met Office blogger said: “It’s also worth noting it’s set to be the warmest year on record in the Met Office’s Central England Temperature (CET) series, which dates all the way back to 1659. The mean temperature estimate for the year is 11.0 °C, which would just beat the record of 10.9 °C set in 2006.

“Human influence on the climate is likely to have substantially increased the chance of breaking the UK and CET temperature records. Estimates from the Met Office suggest that it has become about ten times more likely for the UK record to be broken as a result of human influence on the climate.”

Mean UK temperature to feb 2013

Graph shows Mean UK annual temperatures from 1910 to Feb 2013. 2014 pipped the top line.

See the Met Office blog here, and our previous post here

1 Jan 2015

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