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 2023

New Steps at Addingham

New steps at Addingham

Work to improve the access to cross Marchup Beck at Addingham, on the route of A Dales High Way, has just been completed, thanks to rangers at Bradford Council's Countryside Service.

The beck itself is crossed by stepping stones and leads up to allotments besides the B6160. But the beck sits at the foot of a steeply inclined cut and the footpath can be hard to navigate in wet weather. The newly installed steps will make this much easier.

This is just the latest in a number of improvements along the start of the trail undertaken by the Bradford Countryside and Rights of Way team. Keep up the good work guys!

2 Dec 2023

Malham Hotel goes 100% Vegan

Beck Hall Malham

Beck Hall, a popular hotel in Malham, will become the first plant-based hotel in England when it relaunches in December.

Owners Louise and Andy Macbeth, who acquired Beck Hall nearly a decade ago, said a personal journey that started from a place of compassion for animals led their family to a plant-based diet and that they also recognised the potential positive impact eating more plants could have on the environment and health.

Louise said: “Recently, we’ve been developing some of the most innovative, exciting, and delicious vegan dishes we’ve ever tried, anywhere. We believe our food, from breakfast through to dinner, is for everyone.”

Not everyone is impressed, however. In a letter to the Craven Herald local farmer Anthony Bradley questioned the environmental claims of the hoteliers:

"I was especially interested to see olives, bananas, seitan - aka wheat gluten (mostly imported from China), chia, avocado, tofu, chickpeas, and lentils listed in the ingredients. None of these are grown commercially in the UK. Indeed the growing of soya crops is one of the drivers of rain forest clearance. But they claim one of their concerns was a benefit for the environment. Unless these imports have come via sail ship a good chunk of fossil fuels will have powered the shipping.

"Finally to criticise livestock farming whilst operating in the midst of a landscape and community that has a centuries old tradition of doing so is, with respect, at best tone deaf."

The Macbeth couple acknowledged that some guests may be opposed to change and thanked them for their custom to date:

"We’re sure you’ll go on to find a new special place – there are so many meaty menus to choose from. But wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?" they said. 

See Beck Hall here.

6 Nov 2023

Walk the Line

FoSCL guided winter walks

There's the option to join in a number of free guided walks in Dales High Way country, starting with a lovely hike to Rutter Force from Appleby this Saturday.

The walk is the first in the new winter walks programme from FoSCL - the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line.

All the walks start and finish at a rail station along the line, with easy connections from Leeds, Bradford and Carlisle. The Rutter Force walk uses the early 07:48 train from Leeds and is graded as "Explorer" - a tough 12 mile walk, returning on the 17:01 train from Appleby.

A fortnight later there's an easier circular walk from Settle in search of leaping salmon at Stainforth Force.

The guided walk leaflet points out that "The landscape in this part of the country means that a route will usually involve a hill or two, have stiles to climb over and possibly tricky terrain. Everyone is welcome but if you are new to hiking or have had a long break from it, please start with the easier walks."

Copies of the walk programme are available at stations along the line and online.

See FoSCL Guided Walks and Tours here.

4 Oct 2023

Don't dream it, DO IT!

Country Walking Sept 2023

This month's Country Walking magazine features the top five UK 100-mile "Hero" trails, as picked by editor Guy Proctor. Heading up his list for "an adventure you'll remember forever" is A Dales High Way.

"We've probably all daydreamed about walking the South West Coast Path or the Appalachian trail - but for most of us such long walks remain perpetually out of reach purely for practical reasons. But that doesn't mean your dreams of having a great adventure need to stay in the misty land of oneday- maybe.

"A trail of around 100 miles is still a mighty quest - an eminently quotable Big Achievement, with the full potential of picaresque potential, and all the satisfactions of the planning, the horizon-hunting and sheer heroism of crossing a section of Britain big enough to look meaningful pointed to an a globe."

Guy argues that A Dales High Way is the best way to see the full range of landscapes that the recently extended Yorkshire Dales National Park has to offer.

"Across 90 miles it stretches to the furthest and fullest reaches of the National Park, ending in the Eden Valley at Appleby-in-Westmorland - a fitting climax and line of demarcation between the pretty Dales and austere North Pennines.

"En route, after setting the Dales in an industrial context which only heightens their beauty and sense of freedom, the High Way climbs clear of civilisation on Ilkley Moor and never misses its mark. Goredale, Malham Cove. Attermire, Ingleborough, Ribblehead, Dentdale, the velvety folds of the Howgill Fells, the huge limestone fields of Great Asby Scar - every day this perfectly paced highlights reel presents a blend of grand vistas and historical and geological details; well-known Dales must-sees like epic Ribblehead Viaduct and solaces like Sharp Haw and Sunbiggin Tarn; crowdpleasers like Malham Cove and hidden gems like Rutter Force.

"You'll come back in love with a more varied and beautiful park than many suspect - and the right to say you've walked every foot in one another's company."

See Country Walking magazine here.

9 Sept 2023

Summer Newsletter

Summer newsletter no 10, 2023

This year's Summer Newsletter from the Friends of A Dales High Way is now available to download and read.

The summer weather may have been changeable, with one of the wettest Julys on record, in the hottest July globally! But it has provided the chance to spot the "the rainbow" of wild flowers on show along the route, and the newsletter opens with a guide to some of the best.

The newsletter includes a tribute to our good friend and supporter David Halsall, who sadly died earlier this year.

There is news of the improvements to the path that have taken place through the last year, including the replacement of Bandley Bridge, near Appleby.

Destiny 200 is a super-ultra marathon race set for next year that, as the name suggests, covers 200 miles of the toughest and most scenic landscape on offer in Yorkshire and Cumbria.

It follows the Dales Way from Bowness-on-Windermere to Ilkley, then the Dales Way link route through to Bradford. Then back to Saltaire to pick up the Dales High Way to Appleby. The run finishes with a final turn around High Cup Nick! All that in 82 hours! Any runners out there up for the challenge? The clock is ticking....

There's also a visual quiz showing highlights of A Dales High Way - can you identify them all?

Please feel free to share it with friends and colleagues.

See the Summer Newsletter here

20 Aug 2023

Settle Flowerpots take centre stage

Walkers on A Dales High Way should make some time to explore Settle's famous Flowerpot Festival which is now underway - celebrating its tenth outing!

Running from July 15th through to September 3rd, the free Festival appeals to all ages.

This year more than 150 flowerpot displays adorn the streets of the town and it is estimated that several thousand flowerpots have been used to create the diverse and entertaining exhibits, ranging from a tiny bee to a very large Plantpotosaurus.

Originally conceived in 2013 by the Vibrant Settle Community Partnership, spearheaded by residents Steve Amphlett and Tony Hardwick, the Festival depends largely on local volunteers for its success.

Steve said: “We had no idea it would take off the way it has done. We’re delighted that here we are celebrating 10 years of the festival and everyone is still just as enthusiastic and creative. As organizers we do little other than encourage people to get involved and get creative. There is no theme for the festival other than ‘make people smile', so people can create whatever takes their fancy."

Video shows BBC Look North's report.

See the Flowerpot festival website here.

2 Aug 2023

New Path Works by Willy Hall's Spout

Footpath by Willy Hall's Spout, Ilkley

New way-mark signage has been erected and the footpath resurfaced on Ilkley Moor, just beyond White Wells and Willy Hall's Spout, on the route of A Dales High Way.

The previous marker post had disappeared, but was replaced by rangers from Bradford's Countryside Service after being contacted by the Friend's of A Dales High Way.

The once muddy path between Willy Hall's Spout and Well's Road, on the ridge above Ilkley Town, has now been resurfaced throughout.

As a registered Urban Common, there has long been a right of access across all of Ilkley Moor on foot and on horseback, but the council encourages walkers to stick to the extensive network of paths and tracks there are easy to follow.

Chair of the Friends, Julia Pearson, said: "We have built a good working relationship with the local staff of Bradford's Countryside Service over the years, and we're very grateful for the excellent work they've done here."

See Bradford Council's "Access on Ilkley Moor" here.

20 July 2023

Malham Hill Farmer Heads National Park Authority

Neil Heseltine at Hill Top Farm

Neil Heseltine, a 4th generation hill farmer, was elected to serve a fourth consecutive year as Chair at last week's annual general meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Neil and his family run Hill Top Farm, breeding pedigree Belted Galloway cattle and Swaledale sheep in 1100 acres of limestone scenery above Malham village. They also offer a Bunkbarn and Holiday Cottage for visitors to the area, including Dales High Way walkers.

Neil said:  “What’s really important over the next year is the start of work to develop the next five-year Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan.  It will be about the hearing from local communities and working with all our partners to achieve our shared ambitions".

Neil also recently became Chair of the advocacy body National Parks England, which works to promote the needs of the country's 10 National Parks.

Derek Twine, the former chief executive of the Scouts Association, from Burley-in-Wharfedale, has become Deputy Chair for the first time.

Their task is to lead the National Park Authority for the year ahead as it runs a range of programmes such as wildlife conservation and rights of way maintenance, while fulfilling its statutory duty as the local planning authority.

See Hill Top Farm here, and National Parks England here.

2 July 2023

Ingleborough Path Re-laid

Humphrey Bottom flags relaid-YDNPA

The final push to finish the Ingleborough Access Project was completed in early summer with the re-laying of existing stone flags at Humphrey Bottom, on the route of A Dales High Way.

The Access project was a 4 year project to improve the public right of way network on the Yorkshire Dale’s second-highest mountain.

Rob Ashford, Area Ranger for Malhamdale & Ribblesdale, said: "This was due to be completed in 2022, but due to a congested year, where we finished the Sulber Nick project and started Brackenbottom pitching on Pen-y-Ghent, the Humphrey Bottom flagging project was delayed.  We did look at starting in March but the ground was far too wet; blanket bogs are not a forgiving feature for plant and machinery at this time of year, as you can appreciate. 

" Humphrey Bottom is the peat bog section on the route from Chapel-le-Dale towards the summit of Ingleborough.  The route is engineered with reclaimed stone flags. The flagging project’s aim was to replace some of the broken and damaged flags with imported reclaimed flags and to reset some of the loose flags

"If you’ve ever walked up this route in the winter you’ll know that the flags get very icy due to surface water draining onto the flags, which results in walkers straying off the stone flags and eroding the delicate landscape to the side of the path.  The Ranger team are also digging a turf lined ditch to the side of the flags to assist with surface water drainage, which in turn will hopefully keep people on the flags."

See the Yorkshire Three Peaks here.

16 June 2023

Bandley Bridge Re-opens

Bandley Bridge - (c) Matt & Helen Ward

Bandley Bridge, on the final approach to Appleby at the end of A Dales High Way, has now re-opened after a 3 month closure.

An alternative route, avoiding the bridge site by taking to the road, was posted on this site, though many walkers seem to have not noticed or ignored it.

On the 13th April walker David Beckwith found the bridge gone, with just 3 new steel girders crossing Hoff Beck. He said ".. the bridge across the Hoff Beck, last mile to Appleby, is being replaced. Bandley Bridge (no access), I did not see any signs (I may have missed them)." He managed to get across anyway.

At the weekend Matt and Helen Ward finished their Dales High Way walk, and posted a picture of the new Bandley Bridge on the Dales High Way' Facebook group page. Helen said: "Matt Ward and I completed the DHW today. Gorgeous weather and a lovely walk into Appleby. Sorry to see it end. So many highlights...such varied landscapes and views. Flowers esp orchids a delight. Can't recommend it enough."

On Tuesday Michael Talbot, Countryside Access Officer for Westmorland and Furness Council, told us: "Good news. Bandley Bridge has been finished and open to use. Closure notices might still be up on site but I'll be taking them down and lifting the formal closure this afternoon."

Our thanks go to the countryside officers of the new Westmorland and Furness Council.

Photo: The new Bandley Bridge, courtesy of Matt & Helen Ward.

Join the Dales High Way Facebook Group here.

24 May 2023

David Halsall

David Halsall November 2021

Yesterday we said goodbye to David Halsall who died recently after a short illness.

David was a true Friend of A Dales High Way. In 2008 before the publication of the first guidebook he and his wife Bridget test-walked the route, checking both maps and directions for accuracy and clarity.

David was a founder member of the Friends group and active on the committee, inspecting waymarks, erecting fingerposts and taking every opportunity to get out on the path.

David was a happy man who enjoyed walking, film-making and physics. He was a keen and talented film maker and his YouTube channel contains films of his and Bridget’s many long distance walks.

Their Dales High Way film certainly tells it like it is – rain, boggy bits, tough days and tearooms. Always tearooms because David never said no to a sweet treat.

David was diagnosed in February with an aggressive brain tumour. He died peacefully at home on 24th April. He is buried at Tarn Moor natural woodland burial site outside Skipton and just metres away from the route of A Dales High Way. His funeral was attended by family, friends, colleagues and fellow walkers who gave generously to Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue in his name.

He will be sorely missed.

Photo: shows David (facing with shovel) preparing a waymark post in Trench Woods, November 2021.

See David's Dales High Way film here, and his other films of Skyware Press trails here.

11 may 2023

ride2stride is back for 2023!

ride2stride 2023

Ride2stride - the Settle-Carlisle Walking Festival - is back in 2023 after a three year break due to the pandemic.

The ever popular festival has a full programme of walks, talks and music over the week from 25th April to 1st May.

Amongst the highlights is the 48 mile long distance trail - The Six Peaks Trail - which runs from Settle to Kirkby Stephen and is put on over 4 consecutive days. As well as the well known Yorkshire Three Peaks of Penyghent, Ingleborough and Whernside, the other peaks climbed include Great Knoutberry, Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

The free Festival has proved incredibly popular, bringing people from across the country and abroad, to enjoy the wonderful landscape and culture of the Yorkshire Dales and the Eden Valley.

See ride2stride 2023 here.

16 April 2023

Westmorland Rises from the Ashes

Westmorland and Cumberland Council areas

On April 1st 1974, at the stroke of a pen, the ancient county of Westmorland disappeared, along with the adjoining county of Cumberland. They were replaced by Cumbria.

The old county town of Appleby, in a defiant move, renamed itself Appleby-in-Westmorland.

Now, almost 50 years later, Westmorland is back.

As of 1 April 2023, Cumbria County Council was abolished. As were the councils of Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle City, Copeland, Eden District, and South Lakeland District.

Cumberland Council has since taken over the area previously covered by the Allerdale, Carlisle City, and Copeland authorities.

Meanwhile, Westmorland and Furness Council is in charge of the area formerly covered by Barrow-in-Furness, Eden District, and South Lakeland District authorities.

The boundaries are not exactly the same - around a quarter of historic Cumberland around the town of Penrith is in the new Westmorland and Furness council.

Cumbria will remain as a "ceremonial" county and the name will remain in the names of various organisations such as the police force.

Lord Eric Pickles, who championed traditional counties during his time as communities secretary, said: “This is great news. People live in Cumberland and Westmorland - they don’t live in Cumbria. Cumbria was a creation of the madness of the 1970s when politicians and bureaucrats decided people live in different places."

See Westmorland and Furness Council here.

6 April 2023

Trench Meadows Hedge Fund

Trench Meadows

Work has just finished on upgrading the entrance to Trench Woods, near the start of A Dales High Way, with new hedge laying.

As well as cutting back overgrowth along the bridleway which passes through Trench Meadows to the woods, an ambitious project of new hedging and fencing have been undertaken. This completes upgrade work to the paths and signage in this important area, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which took place in 2021. The work was through the Bradford Council Countryside scheme, using contractors and volunteers.

Julia Pearson, Chair of the Friends of A Dales High Way, said: "Holly dominates the hedge and has played a significant role in shading the path as well as the adjacent grassland. Trench Meadows is designated as a SSSI as it is mainly lowland meadow, a nationally rare habitat, and the reduction in hedge height will benefit the grassland species.

"Hedge laying is a traditional technique used to produce a stock proof barrier, whilst also creating a great habitat for nesting birds and a corridor for small mammals. The hedge here is a mixture of holly and hawthorn, so will produce a crop of berries for winter bird food.

" The process involves cutting 'pleachers' almost through the width of the trunk, but crucially retaining enough growth to form a hinge which enables the tree to be folded down at an angle.  The trees are staked to give stability, and over the following years new vertical growth will emerge from the base and along the trunk. The process can be repeated every 10 years or so, depending how the hedge is trimmed in the interim. New hawthorn and hazel saplings have been planted to augment the existing hedge."

See previous post here.

16 Mar 2023

Abandoned 4x4 on Dales High Way

4x4 abandoned on bridleway near Weets Top

An abandoned 4x4 was found by a member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority on a bridleway near Weets Top, above Malham, last week - on the route of A Dales High Way.

A police officer posted on social media that they had taken a short stroll of around two miles over the moor near Gordale Scar to find the abandoned vehicle shown in the picture.

They added: "What you can't see in this picture is the vast amount of deeply rutted tyre tracks that it had left in the soft ground either side of the main path. Absolutely no need for it whatsoever.

"The bridleway forms part of the Dales Highway and is used extensively by walkers, cyclists and horses. It is not there for adventure-seeking 4x4 enthusiasts to use and abuse. There are clearly posted signs at the entrance to the lane and on both of the gates that the driver would have stopped to open. Even without the signs, no reasonable person could mistake this bridleway for a permissible green lane.

"Enquiries will now continue to trace the owner/driver, who will then be reported for a few different offences, as well as being issued a warning under S.59 of the Police Reform Act.

"I take incidents like this seriously. Yes, we have crimes to investigate and deal with. But we also need to make time to look after our national park and protect it from mindless vandalism like this.

"Similar incidents can be reported via 101, or the North Yorkshire Police website."

See previous story here

6 Mar 2023

Temporary Route Change at Bandley Bridge

Bandley Bridge, on the approach to Appleby

From March this year, the closure of Bandley Bridge, on the approach to Appleby, will mean a temporary route change for walkers finishing A Dales High Way.

As there is no nearby alternative to crossing Hoff Beck with the closure of Bandley Bridge, walkers must take to the road at Hoff, through Burrells, to finish the final stage of the walk.

Alexander Denton, Countryside Access Officer for Cumbria County Council said : "Please take this as notice that the works to replace Bandley Bridge over Hoff Beck on bridleway no.303001, will be commencing at the start of March 2023, the bridge will be closed for approximately 10 weeks once the works are underway. "

The road from Hoff to Burrells is fairly quiet. Here the road turns left onto the busier B6260, heading for Appleby. There are a couple of vergeless spots, so great care is needed. Join the main route at Colby Lane beneath the castle walls for the entrance into Appleby.

These works were initially proposed for February last year, but then delayed.

UPDATE: 23 May 2023 - new Bandley Bridge now open for use.

See a detailed map here, and Appleby TIC here

15 Feb 2023

Grant Scheme for Hill Farmers Extended

Farmers at an Orton Fells Farm Cluster event at Racy Ghyll

A 3-year grant scheme to help hill farmers in the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been extended for an extra year.

The project ‘Farming in Protected Landscapes’ run by DEFRA - the government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is now set to end in March 2025, following the success of its initial 2 years.

One of the outstanding projects to receive a grant is being run by the Orton Fells Farm Cluster Group in the Westmorland Dales, which covers part of the western Howgill Fells and the area around Tebay and Orton. The group has used a grant to develop a local nature recovery plan and run a host of engagement activities such as school visits to farms.

Jane Lane, the Chair of the Group, said: "Getting a better understanding of our agricultural management practices has enabled us to focus on combining the best of modern and traditional farming practices to ensure we produce healthy food alongside creating a rich biodiverse network across our farmed landscape."

The scheme is administered by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which so far has granted a total of £1.4 million through 104 agreements.

See the Orton Fells Farm Cluster Group project here.

1 Feb 2023

Wild Camping in Dartmoor outlawed

Morgs4Mountains

The last oasis for wild camping in England has been closed, following a ruling by the High Court.

Until last week, it was possible to pitch a tent in the Dartmoor national park in Devon without obtaining the permission of a landowner, under the terms of  the 1985 Dartmoor Commons Act.

But Alexander Darwall - a hedge fund manager and owner of a vast Dartmouth estate challenged this right in the High Court - and the court ruled in his favour.

Right to Roam campaigners have slammed the ruling as a “tragedy” and promised to “go to war” to challenge it.

Meanwhile, Dartmoor National Park has reached a "permissive agreement" with a number of Dartmoor landowners to allow wild camping to continue in specified areas. The Park Authority will pay the landowners a nominal fee annually.

Generally, it is illegal to wild camp in England and Wales without the express permission of the landowner, though any penalties would only arise where someone refused to move when so requested by the landowner. Many landowners are happy to host wild campers, but only if they are respectful of the area they are camping.

Most wild campers who follow their code go unnoticed, pitching a small backpacking tent at dusk, lighting no fires, and clearing away at dawn, taking everything with them. The rule is: Leave no Trace.

Wild camping on trails like a Dales High Way is growing in popularity, often mixed with nights at official campsites which provide good facilities. A glance at the blog-posts on this website will provide a number of examples.

Photo from M4M blog . See the new Dartmoor Permissive Camping Map here.

19 Jan 2023

2022 - UK Warmest Year on Record

Met Office temperature figures since 1884

2022 will be the warmest year on record for the UK, according to Met Office figures.

All four seasons have fallen in the top ten in a series which began in 1884 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 2003. 

As well as setting a new 139-year annual mean temperature record, 2022 will also be remembered for the record-breaking temperature of 40.3C at Coningsby in July.

The final provisional figure for 2022 will be available at the conclusion of the year and will then be subject to further quality control and a verification process. 

2022 will also be the warmest year on record in the 364-year Central England temperature series from 1659, the world’s longest instrumental record of temperature. 

Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: “2022 is going to be the warmest year on record for the UK. While many will remember the summer’s extreme heat, what has been noteworthy this year has been the relatively consistent heat through the year, with every month except December being warmer than average. 

“The warm year is in line with the genuine impacts we expect as a result of human-induced climate change. Although it doesn’t mean every year will be the warmest on record, climate change continues to increase the chances of increasingly warm years over the coming decades.” 

See the Met Office here.

1 Jan 2023

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