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 2019

Double whammy for off road driver

Landrover stuck on Gorbeck Road (photo: North Yorkshire Police)

An off-road enthusiast who illicitly drove his Landrover Discovery on a restricted byway in the Yorkshire Dales, suffered a double whammy last week.

Firstly his vehicle got stuck when he slipped into a sink hole. Then his pleas for help via social media were quickly answered - by the local National Park ranger and a local policeman.

The 20 year old had taken his vehicle onto Gorbeck Road - a green lane that runs from Langscar Gate near Malham to Langcliffe and Settle. It forms part of the Pennine Bridleway Settle Loop and is subject to a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) banning its use to motorcycles and four by four vehicles.

The first section from Langscar Gate is also part of A Dales High Way.

Off-road access to Gorbeck Road has a chequered history. When the original TRO was imposed in 2008, it was initially succesfully challenged by the Motoring  Organisations’  Land  Access  & Recreation Association (LARA) and overturned. The track was soon turned into a rutted, muddy mess, but the TRO was reinstated in 2010, since when the track has recovered.

Pc Harry Carpenter, of Settle Police, together with Malham based Yorkshire Dales National Park ranger, Rob Ashford, located the man and his vehicle at about 10am the following morning, and with the help of a farmer and his tractor, pulled the Landrover out of the hole.

PC Harry Carpenter said:  “The circumstances were quite unusual in this case.  A lot of green lanes can be used legally, but we do have the odd rogue vehicle user who chooses to ignore restrictions on sensitive routes.  In this case the route runs through a Site of Special Scientific Interest and it was adjacent to the route where the vehicle got stuck .  We encourage people to come forward and report cases such as this, and we will endeavour to prosecute.”

It’s expected that the Bradford man will be summonsed to appear at Skipton Magistrates’ Court to face charges of breaching a Traffic Regulation Order.

See our previous posting here.

15 Aug 2019

1960's vintage bus for 50th anniversary walk

1960s vintage bus ferries Dales Way walkers back to Ilkley, Aug 3 2019

Walkers celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Dales Way in style yesterday. A recreation of the first public Dales Way walk - which took place in 1969 - was topped off with a return journey from Bolton Abbey to Ilkely in two vintage 1960's buses.

The single decker bus was identical to the one that ferried over 120 walkers back to Ilkley on Sunday March 23rd 1969. Leading both walks was veteran West Riding Rambler Colin Speakman.

Over 70 walkers gathered at Ilkley Old Bridge yesterday for the historic event. Stewarding was provided by volunteers from the Friends of A Dales High Way, along with Friends of DalesBus, and Friends of the Dales.

In the afternoon walkers made their way to Ilkley's Manor House, where an exhibition of 50 years of the Dales Way was formally opened by John Grogan MP. The free exhibition runs throughout August.

The Dales Way is one of Britains most popular long-distance walks and its generally easy riverside walking makes it a favourite first long-distance challenge for many walkers. It's younger sister trail - A Dales High Way - is an altogether tougher follow-up challenge.

See 50 years of the Dales Way here

4 Aug 2019

Two Dales Ways Walk

Two Dales Ways Walk - Dentdale

Chris and Tony Grogan will be leading a walk from Dent Station along the two Dales Ways this Thursday, July 18th.

The first part follows the Dales Way from Lea Yeat heading west along the southern side of Dentdale, renowned at this time of year for its colourful hay meadows.  The Dales Way celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

At Bridge End, where the Dales Way meets A Dales High Way to join up for a short riverside section into Dent,  the walk will turn to head southeast, following A Dales High Way as it climbs above Deepdale and along the Great Wold before dropping into Little Dale towards Ribblehead. A Dales High Way celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.

Chris and Tony, who created A Dales High Way, serve on the committees of both the Friends of A Dales High Way and the Dales Way Association. They are leading the free public walk on behalf of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (Foscl).  The moderately strenuous walk of 10 miles includes one lengthy steep climb.

Chris said "We're really looking forward to this. They are both beautiful walks and Dentdale is my favourite of all the Yorkshire Dales."

No need to book in advance, just join the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle train that departs Leeds at 09:17 and join them on the station platform at Dent at 10.48. The return train leaves Ribblehead at 17.42, allowing for a refreshments break at the Station Inn.

See the Foscl Guided Walks Programme here.

16 July 2019

Dales Way Souvenir for first 50 Years

50 Years of the Dales Way

A special souvenir booklet celebrating the first 50 Years of the Dales Way  - one of our most popular and cherished long distance trails - is now on sale.

The booklet traces the extraordinary story of how the enthusiasm, determination and dedication of a small group of Ramblers 50 years ago turned their vision into reality.

It is beautifully illustrated with over 60 full-colour photos, including some rare and exclusive historical images. The special limited souvenir edition will be of interest to walkers everywhere.

The Dales Way was the inspiration for its younger, more challenging sister route - A Dales High Way.

The Dales Way Association is organising a number of events to celebrate this historic landmark including:-

  • A recreation of the very first Dales Way walk, which will take place on Saturday, August 3rd. Colin Speakman, will lead walkers from Ilkley to Bolton Abbey. Meet at the Old Ilkley Bridge at 10 a.m.
  • An exhibition about the Dales Way at Ilkley's Manor House, which opens on August 3rd after the walk. Admission is free.
  • An Ultra Marathon run along the full length of the Dales Way is being staged by Punk Panthers and will feature up to 250 competitors, both runners and fast walkers. The race will start on the morning of Saturday, 17th August 2019, and will be run over 36 hours, starting in the Lake District and finishing in Ilkley.

50 Years of the Dales Way by Colin Speakman and Tony Grogan, ISBN 978-1-911321-04-0, 28 pages, full colour, £4.99. Published by Skyware Press on behalf of the Dales Way Association (DWA), the booklet can be bought online for just £4.99 post-free, with proceeds going to the DWA.

Buy online from publishers Skyware Press here. See the DWA 50th anniversary celebrations here.

1 July 2019

Summer Newsletter Available now

Newsletter no. 6

The summer newsletter number 6, from the Friends of A Dales High Way, is now available to download.

The newsletter focuses on different approaches to walking the 90-mile long distance trail.

Chair of the Friends, Julia Pearson, reflects on walking A Dales High Way last summer in a traditional way, starting with a couple of day walks, then finishing with a 6-day hike, using a mix of camping and B&Bs.

Catherine Bradley-Richardson tackled the trail the hard way, setting a new women's' record of just 35 hours!

Chris Grogan outlines how we managed to walk the trail the slow way - as a series of day walks, using public transport, as part of the celebrations for the trail's 10th anniversary last year.

With careful planning it is possible for anyone to walk the entire trail this way, making use of the train along the world-famous Leeds-Settle-Carlisle line, along with an occasional bus link and a local taxi service.

Finally Bridget Izod takes a straw poll on the top 10 Dales High Way snacks people like to take with them on the trail. Is your favourite in there?

Download the 2019 Summer Newsletter no. 6 as a pdf here. See the Friends of A Dales High Way here.

14 June 2019

Whernside footpath repairs completed

Whernside Bruntscar path before repairs

Work to repair a 200 metre section of path on Whernside, above Bruntscar, has now been completed.

The section of path takes a battering from thousands of boots each year, as a part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge route. It is also a popular alternative route into Dentdale for Dales High Way walkers.

£46,000 was needed for the repairs, and an appeal was launched by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) in November 2017, as part of the British Mountaineering Council’s Mend Our Mountains appeal.

Rewards on offer to donors included copies of the new edition of A Dales High Way Companion, provided by publishers Skyware Press.

Kate Hildich, YDNPA Area Manager for the Southern Dales, said "I am pleased to be able to let you know that not only have we been successful in raising £46,409, but that the works have now also been completed on site. The works will of course take a bit of time to ‘bed in’ and for the surrounding vegetation to recover, but all feedback has been incredibly positive about the improvements that have been made."

Photo shows the path before repairs.

See our previous posting here. Follow the Three Peaks Ranger on Facebook here.

1 June 2019

Wildlife walk celebrates public transport champion

John Disney and Oxenber Woods

A celebration of the life and interests of Dr John Disney was held on Saturday, with four walks around Settle followed by a reception at the Royal Oak.

John was a passionate advocate of integrated public transport, a keen walker and a co-ordinator of the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line public walks programme. He died suddenly on Saturday 20th October 2018, aged just 58.

The walks took in sections of A Dales High Way, including an 8 mile walk to Austwick via Oxenber Wood, rich in wild flowers at this time of year. John had a passion for walking, gardening, the countryside and rural affairs.

John, born in 1960, was educated at Ilkeston Grammar School, Nottingham University obtaining a degree in Mathematics followed by a doctorate at Trent Polytechnic. He went on to be a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, specialising in Business and Quality Management.

John was active in many circles. He was a member of the Royal Statistical Society, a board member of the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company and supporter of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line. He had a special relationship with the Derbyshire and Yorkshire Dales and campaigned actively to maintain integrated rail and bus services into hard to reach public spaces. Frequently he was consulted as an expert witness on topics including HS2, rural rail and bus services, road user charging and workplace parking. He also contributed to radio and TV regarding such matters and was shortly to give evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee Inquiry into the state of rural bus services.

See more on the John Disney Day here, and see John discussing bus funding here.

12 May 2019

Friends lead visit to Crags, Caves & Kilns

After a week of sunshine, grey skies greeted The Friends of A Dales High Way as they led a walk above Settle to Attermire Scar, Victoria Cave and the Hoffmann Kiln on Friday. But the sudden change in the weather failed to dampen spirits, and the entire troupe finished off the day with a celebratory drink or two in the Lion Inn.

Victoria Cave

The walk, part of this year's Ride2Stride Walking Festival, set off 30 minutes late due to a train failure at Leeds. A steep climb to the southeast by Preston's Barn, onto Stockdale Lane and up beside Sugar Loaf Hill was rewarded with a short coffee break to enjoy the stunning views of Attermire Scar and Warrendale Knotts. A further sharp climb then to Victoria Cave itself, where excavations have revealed evidence of the earliest modern human occupation in the area some 11,000 years ago, together with bone fragments of lion, hippopotamus and elephant from before the last ice age!

After a lunch break at Jubilee Caves, the walkers headed down to Stainforth, stopping along the way to admire the spectacular long drop waterfall of Cattrigg Foss.

The incredible site of the Craven Lime Works, with a walk through the eerie cavernous Hoffmann Kiln, provided a further stopping point, before an easy afternoon ramble on a section of A Dales High Way alongside the River Ribble back to Settle.

Walk leader Chris Grogan said "Thanks to everyone who came along. It's good to see old friends and new faces enjoying A Dales High Way together."

See the Hoffmann Kiln here, and Ride2Stride 2019 here

4 May 2019

Ilkley Moor open again

Ilkley Moor is now open for Dales High Way walkers again after firefighters began winding up their operations.

Firefighters wind down their operations after the Ilkey Moor fire

With rain expected later today, the immediate danger has passed, though walkers should still take care.

The actual route of A Dales High Way is unaffected, though the fire came right up to the track as it descends down from Ilkley Moor to White Wells (see photo).

A man has been charged with arson over one fire on the moor. Crews were called to the West Yorkshire spa town on Saturday, where they fought fires in two areas of the moor covering 25,000 sq m.

On Monday evening West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service tweeted out a stern message, after fire crews reported that people were still lighting barbecues up there.

A group of four women walkers who had arrived from the USA to walk the trail were lucky to get down into Ilkley on Saturday before the fire caught hold. On Sunday they had to make use of their OS maps and guide books, along with helpful local advice, to get back onto the trail beyond Addingham reservoir, but they arrived safely in Skipton.

See the Friends of Ilkley Moor here.

24 April 2019

Fire devastates Ilkley Moor

Fire on Ilkey Moor - James Kelly

A fierce fire has devastated a section of Ilkley Moor overnight and firefighters are still dealing with the aftermath.

Walkers have been asked to stay off the moor for the next couple of days until the fire is firmly under control.

The fire, believed to have started accidently on the hottest day of the year so far, took hold on the northern slopes of the moor around White Wells, above the town of Ilkley.

A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "Twelve pumps are still in attendance at incident, currently we are using seven jets and beaters, specialist wildfire units are also in attendance and a helicopter will be assisting with overhead water attack."

Walkers setting out on A Dales High Way should avoid the first section over the moor between Saltaire and Addingham until the all-clear is given. Those heading for Ilkley should catch a train directly from Shipley or Leeds and follow the riverside Dales Way path from Ilkley to Addingham.

Alternatively, the Leeds-Liverpool canal can be followed all the way from Saltaire to Skipton (16 miles), with the option of leaving it at Silsden (after 9 miles) to take a short bus ride over to Addingham (Bus 62, hourly on Sunday, half-hourly weekdays).

A Dales High Way can then be rejoined at Addingham.

Generally, if you come across a fire whilst walking on moorland, you should turn around, retrace your steps and get down quickly from the moor.

UPDATE: 24 April - the route of A Dales High Way is now open again (see above).

See the BBC report here and the Bradford Telegraph & Argus here.

21 Apr 2018

Friends lead walk for Ride2Stride

Above Winskill

The Friends of A Dales High Way are leading a walk on Friday, 3rd May as part of the 2019 Ride2Stride Walking Festival. All are welcome.

The 9-mile circular walk starts at Settle Railway Station at 10.22 a.m., meeting the train from Leeds, and will be led by Chris Grogan.

Crags, Caves and Kilns is described as "an excellent walk from Settle visiting Attermire Scar and returning via the Hoffman kiln. "

The walk takes in sections of A Dales High Way and is described as "moderate", but walkers can expect some steep climbs, especially in the first part of the walk.

Chris said "This is a stunning walk with some fantastic views and lots to look at along the way. It's a long steep climb from Settle to Victoria Cave but we think it's worth it and there will be plenty of short stops for walkers to take a breather on the way."

The walks are free, just turn up for the start on the station platform.

There are 30 led walks in this years programme, with music at various venues along the line every evening.

See the Ride2Stride website here.

14 April 2019

Peregrine Viewpoint re-opens at Malham

Peregrines at Malham Cove

A viewpoint will open at Malham Cove on Friday for people to watch the world’s fastest animal, the peregrine falcon, up close.

The opening will mark the start of the 17th year of the Malham Peregrine Project, a partnership between the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and the RSPB.

The free public viewpoint is at the base of the Cove, where Information Assistants and a team of volunteers will be on hand to show people the birds through telescopes.

It will be open from 10:30 to 16:30 five days a week, from Thursday to Monday (closed Tues and Weds), from Fri 5th April until Mon 5th August.

RSPB Area Manager Anthony Hills said: ““We’re excited for another season at Malham Cove. As the fastest animal on the planet, the peregrines are incredible to watch. Each year there is something new to discover about these special birds and it is like a soap opera watching them raise their family on the Cove face. And it’s not just the peregrines either, we get regular views of other wonderful wildlife such as green woodpeckers, redstarts, wheatears and kestrels.”

(Photo: Malham Peregrine Project).

See up-to-date news at the Nature in the Dales Facebook page here.

2 April 2019

The First Dales Way Walk

Grandsire Viewpoint near the end of The Dales Way

Next week marks 50 years since the very first public walk along a section of our big sister trail - The Dales Way.

On Monday, March 10th, 1969, the Yorkshire Evening Post carried a major news feature outlining “A new Dales Way …. from Ilkley to Lakeland“.

The article began: “Leeds, Harrogate and Bradford may soon by linked to the Lake District by footpath. It is all part of a projected new Dales Way mapped out by the West Riding branch of the Ramblers Association.

“If you are interested, if you have a longing for fresh air after this long dark winter of discontent, now is the time to polish your best walking boots and get out your rucksack.

“You can become involved in this wonderful scheme by presenting yourself at Ilkley Post Office on Sunday March 23, at 10.15 a.m. On that day members of the Ramblers Association are to walk along the first 10 miles of the new Dales Way from Ilkley to Burnsall, and members of the public are invited to take part.”

That cold March Sunday, over 130 people gathered to take part in the first ever public walk along a section of the Dales Way. Colin Speakman led them for the 12-mile trek to Burnsall, where they caught pre-arranged buses back to Ilkley. It was a huge success.

That inaugural walk has been celebrated every decade since. In 2019 the 50th anniversary of that first walk will take place on Saturday, 3rd August.

The popular riverside trail was the inspiration for it's tougher younger sister - A Dales High Way!

See the Dales Way Association website here.

16 March 2019

Spirit of the Medieval Hunter

Spirit of the Medieval Hunter

The route that most Dales High Way walkers follow out of Skipton climbs steeply up Park Hill and quickly offers great views back over Skipton Castle and forwards to the distinctive peak of Sharp Haw.

There is another way though, an alternative route below the castle walls and up through Skipton Woods where walkers are greeted by a huge willow sculpture.

Skipton Woods are an ancient woodland and the sculpture, ‘Spirit of the Medieval Hunter’ with her bow and arrow, reflects their past as the hunting and fishing grounds for Skipton Castle.

She was created last year by Anna and the Willow, a talented artist from Ripon. Deeper in the woods is a willow pony.

Anna said "Ive been blown away by all the amazing feedback and really pleased the sculptures sit so well in the ancient woodland."

The woods are cared for by the Woodland Trust, and their permissive trails make a great alternative escape from Skipton. Follow the Sougha Gill  track to make your way up and rejoin A Dales High Way by the A65 for Tarn Moor.

See Anna and the Willow's work here, the Woodland Trust here, and see the Skipton Alternative Routes here.

1 March 2019

Dales High Way with Three Peaks

Pen-y-ghent approach from Stainforth

An increasing number of walkers tackling A Dales High Way are taking in all of the Yorkshire Three Peaks along the route - Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside.

The official Dales High Way route includes only one of the Three Peaks - Ingleborough - but offers Whernside as an option. However, Pen-y-ghent does not feature.

It is possible, though, to include Pen-y-ghent in Section Three, which runs from Settle to Chapel-le-Dale. The suggested Pen-y-ghent - Three Peaks Alternative adds 4 miles, with an additional 300 metres of ascent, taking around 2 hours extra. However, it also gives the opportunity to break the Section at Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

Typical of this group of walkers is Ian, who flew up from the Channel Islands last summer to walk the trail and has just posted a blog about his adventures. "It is a tweaked version of the DHW, missing out the first few miles and instead starting at Ilkley, but aiming to include all of the Yorkshire 3 peaks. That's the plan anyway" he said.

The Pen-y-ghent - Three Peaks Alternative cuts from the main Dales High Way route at Stainforth Bridge, heading up through Stainforth to join the Ribble Way, climbing to Moor Head Lane and continuing north along the ridge to join the Pennine Way. It then follows the Pennine Way up to the summit of Pen-y-ghent and down to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, before heading for Ingleborough to rejoin A Dales High Way above Crummackdale.

Did Ian have a good time?

"What a walk it has been. I am a relative novice when it comes to long distance walks but this must be up there as one of the best trails in England. Many have highlights but also some ‘by the numbers’ sections, but here every day had something special, a unique feature, an achievement, an icon" he said.

"The 3 peaks formed the main event, but the appetizer was the Malham area and the dessert the Howgill Fells. That’s a sumptuous 3 courses!"

See Ian's blog here, and see the Pen-y-ghent option here.

14 Feb 2019

First cold snap of 2019

Ingleborough webcam jan 2019

The first real cold snap of this winter has finally taken hold over the Yorkshire Dales, with snow blanketing Ingleborough (see picture).

After a fairly dry summer last year the winter so far has been quite mild. The current cold spell is expected to continue through into next week.

Though winter conditions can make for some exciting walking along A Dales High Way, great care is needed on higher ground and in icy conditions underfoot.

On Sunday, January 27th a walker showing signs of mild hypothermia was helped down from Ingleborough by the volunteers from the Clapham based Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO).

On the following day another walker was injured on Malham Cove. The CRO incident report states:

"A walker (m,72) slipped and fell on the limestone pavement and sustained a suspected fractured right ankle. The team responded and splinted the injured limb, and then put the casualty onto a stretcher for a carry to the team vehicle. He was then transported to a waiting road ambulance at Malham visitor centre, from where he was transferred to hospital.

"Whilst dealing with this incident a team member slipped and fell, injuring his right wrist. No treatment was required at the scene, but a subsequent check at hospital revealed a fracture to the lower right forearm."

See the Ingleborough Webcam here, and the Cave Rescue Organisation here.

1 Feb 2019

£2.2 million for Westmorland Dales

Dales High Way walkers near Sunbiggin Tarn, Ravenstonedale Moor

A £2.27 million National Lottery grant has been awarded to the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership scheme, with the aim to reveal, conserve and celebrate the rich geology, wildlife, cultural heritage and spectacular limestone landscapes of the Westmorland Dales.

The area lies to the north of the Howgill Fells in Cumbria, extending over 200 sq km from Maulds Meaburn in the north to Tebay in the south-west and Ravenstonedale in the south-east. The final stretch of A Dales High Way passes right through the heart of this area, which became part of an extended Yorkshire Dales National Park in 2016.

A total of 21 projects will be delivered by a partnership of organisations over a four year period.

There will be opportunities for volunteers to survey the unique heritage and long distance routes of the Westmorland Dales through desk and field survey with the Yorkshire Dales National Park and other partners. Heritage routes include drove roads, green lanes, and public rights of way; long distance routes include the Coast to Coast, Lady Annes’s Way and Pennine Bridleway. Volunteers will assess routes for essential improvements, record features and research each route’s unique history.

This remote and beautiful pastoral landscape has a unique mix of habitats and remarkably intact pattern of historical settlements and features. It has 79 Scheduled Monuments, 19 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and two National Nature Reserves. However, it has been largely ’hidden’ for the last 70 years, tucked away between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

David Evans, development officer at Friends of the Lake District who are acting as lead body on behalf of the Partnership said: “We can’t wait to get started on the delivery of the scheme. We’ve worked with volunteers, community organisations, interest groups, farmers, landowners and businesses throughout the planning phase to help shape the projects."

See the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership here.

14 Jan 2019

Cold plunge at White Wells greets New Year

Plunge pool at White Wells, new years day 2019 - T&A

New Year's Day got underway with the traditional cold water bath at White Wells, overlooking Ilkley.

Volunteers signed up at the White Wells cafe before walking next door and taking the steps down into the murky water. The first to tackle the Ilkley challenge was Sandra Gale, who was followed by families and people of all ages.

Charli Oliver, 19, from Perth, in Western Australia, was joined by her boyfriend Matthew Lloyd and 15-year-old sister, Amy (see photo (c) Bradford Telegraph & Argus)

"It wasn't as bad as I was expecting," said Charli, who claimed the water was about six degrees centigrade. "My sister said she couldn't breathe when she got in because it was so cold."

White Wells is a spa bath situated on Ilkley Moor, on the route of A Dales High Way. It was built in around 1700 as an open air spa bath, later baths were enclosed and a single plunge pool survives today.

The current tenants have been there for nearly 20 years, but there are fears that the historic building could fall into disrepair, following council plans to double the rent. Previously the site stood empty for some time.

Town councillor Anne Hawkesworth said: "At that time the cottage was empty because a tenant could not be found. The security costs were exorbitant and a solution had to be found. It was decided that the answer was probably to find a tenant who would act as a caretaker on a nominal peppercorn rent- in reality who else would live up there - I certainly wouldn't."

She said the arrangement also included a requirement to open the cafe at specific times.

See more of White Wells here, and see the T&A report here.

2 Jan 2019


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