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Grassington Meadows and the River Wharfe

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Grassington Meadows and the River Wharfe
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 26 Jun 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Grassington Meadows and the River Wharfe
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 3.5 mile circular walk from the small market town of Grassington in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. The walk explores the grass meadows and pastures to the north of the town in the limestone area of Wharfedale before returning alongside the River Wharfe, pausing to enjoy the watery spectacle of Linton Falls.

The walk has several steady climbs and descents throughout and follows unmade field paths which can be muddy at times. You will need to negotiate some gates plus a total of 18 stiles along the way. The majority of the stiles are stone wall stiles (which should be straightforward for most people and dogs) and stone wall squeeze stiles (many of which are very narrow and so may be difficult for broader people and dogs). There is also one standard fence stile (with adjacent dog gate) plus a tall wooden ladder stile (which less agile people may find difficult and dogs will need a hand over). You will be sharing many of the pastures with sheep and cattle so take care with dogs. There are toilets and refreshments available in Grassington at the start of the walk. Approximate time 2 hours (longer if there is a group of you, which will mean queuing for the multitude of stiles).

Grassington is a small market town in the Craven District of North Yorkshire, about 8 miles north-east of Bolton Abbey. The walk starts and finishes from the National Park Centre car park on the main B6265, which costs £4.50 for the day (correct Jun 2015). Approximate post code BD23 5LB.

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Walk Sections

Start to High Lane
Start to High Lane

Start point: 54.0692 lat, -1.9974 long
End point: 54.0731 lat, -1.9956 long

Leave the car park back to the road, cross over and turn left along the pavement heading back to the centre of Grassington. As the main road begins to swing left, take the first road on the right, Main Street. At the fork keep right again, heading uphill on the pretty cobbled street passing between a range of small shops, tea rooms, restaurants and the village museum.

Grassington is a popular tourist centre within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Every year it hosts a number of events including the summer Grassington Festival, a September 1940s themed weekend and the Christmas Dickensian Festival.

Follow the lane past the church on the right and then turn left at the junction with Scar Street. As you approach the next junction, turn hard right into Low Lane. After just 50m, turn left into High Lane, signed as a footpath to Hebden.

High Lane to Wise House
High Lane to Wise House

Start point: 54.0731 lat, -1.9956 long
End point: 54.0715 lat, -1.9827 long

Follow this stone track climbing with a stone wall running on the right. The gradient begins to ease and the views open up across the walls each side. As soon as the track begins to descend, look out for a wide metal gate on the left. Soon afterwards, you will find a narrow wooden gate set between two tall stone gateposts, also on the left. NOTE: From this point you may be sharing any of the fields with cattle and/or sheep.

Turn left through the narrow gate into the first field and walk ahead (with the wall on the right) for just 50m to reach a stone stile on the right. Cross the stile and, standing with your back to it, cross this second field at about 10 o’clock. Continue across the third and fourth field in the same direction, crossing stone stiles and squeeze stiles to reach the fifth field.

Here you need to leave the most obvious path (which continues in the direction that you have been walking so far) to join a more subtle footpath. Stand with your back to the stile and look ahead; you should be able to see a small stone building with the exposed timber remains of a roof. Your path will pass directly to the right of this. To reach this, walk through the fifth field at about 1 o’clock, passing the bottom end of the ruined partial wall in the field centre. At the far side, cross the gated squeeze stile into the sixth pasture. Cross this at 11 o’clock, through the stile and go ahead to reach the right-hand wall of the ruined stone barn, part of an old farmstead called Wise House.

Wise House to Fingerpost Crossroads
Wise House to Fingerpost Crossroads

Start point: 54.0715 lat, -1.9827 long
End point: 54.0693 lat, -1.974 long

Beyond the ruined barn, keep ahead to reach the gated squeeze stile in the field corner. Go through this and keep ahead, following the fence line on the right, passing the main ruined farmhouse across to your left. Keep ahead, passing over a ruined wall and going through two more squeeze stiles. Walk directly ahead, with a stone wall on the right, to join the concrete access lane between a cottage on the left and outbuilding on the right.

Where the access lane swings right, keep ahead across the wall stile and continue (passing to the right of a yellow marker post and to the left of a wooden electricity pole). Turn left (uphill) along the concrete access drive heading for another property. Just before the property’s cattle grid, fork right onto the footpath signed to Hebden.

The path passes the cottage on the left, bears right (passing to the right of a fenced drinking station) and leads you on through a belt of conifers. Within the trees, bear left (towards the large farm visible ahead) and as you reach the stone wall you will find a fingerpost marking a crossroads of footpaths.

Fingerpost Crossroads to B6265
Fingerpost Crossroads to B6265

Start point: 54.0693 lat, -1.974 long
End point: 54.0645 lat, -1.9758 long

Do NOT cross the stile ahead instead turn right on the path signed to the B6265. Follow the path down the field, following the line of the wall on the left. At the bottom of the pasture cross the fence stile (with adjacent dog gate) ahead to enter the woodland within the site of Grassington Park Estate Meadows, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Follow the narrow path ahead through the woodland. Across to the right is the hay meadow that gives the area its scientific interest, worth a little diversion to see in the summer. The flower-rich meadow has 50 species of plant, including eleven species of grass. Just before the hay is cut, around the end of July, the meadow is a blaze of colour.

Continue down through the woodland belt and the path will lead you to a tall wooden ladder stile. Cross this to enter another pasture. Turn right along the field edge and, about half way along, you will see a fingerpost set under a tall ash tree. Turn left here, heading down the centre of the field with a ditch running on the left. At the bottom of the field, a stone stile leads you out to the B6265.

B6265 to River Wharfe
B6265 to River Wharfe

Start point: 54.0645 lat, -1.9758 long
End point: 54.0639 lat, -1.99 long

Cross the road diagonally right (taking care of the traffic) to reach the stone stile which leads you into the meadows on the southern side of the road. Take the footpath at about 2 o’clock (signed to Grassington and Linton Falls) and follow this direction across three fields (a mixture of pastures and hay meadows). You will emerge to a junction with a concrete farm access track, with the farmhouse ahead.

Walk ahead, heading for the left-hand edge of the farmhouse. As you reach the farmhouse corner, stay in the same direction across the field to reach the small wooden gate set within the stone wall ahead. Go through this gate and follow the path down the steep slope, through the next gate and on to reach a junction with a stone access track.

Turn right along the track and follow it over a stream and then with a wall running on the right. Just after the wall bears right, you will come to a crossroads with a smaller stone path. Turn right and follow the path for a short distance to a gate with a crossroads fingerpost. Your route follows the path through the gate, but first it is worth taking a small diversion down to the left to reach the River Wharfe and its stepping stones with views across the river to Linton Church, St Michael’s and All Angels.

River Wharfe to Linton Falls
River Wharfe to Linton Falls

Start point: 54.0639 lat, -1.99 long
End point: 54.0659 lat, -1.9997 long

When you have finished admiring the church, stepping stones and river (and hopefully not getting your feet too wet!) return back to the crossroads by the gate. Go through the gate to join the track signed as The Dales Way to Grassington.

The Dales Way is a long-distance footpath which runs from Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria to Ikley in West Yorkshire. The path is 84 miles in length and takes in stretches of two National Parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

Follow the track past Riverside Grange on the right and then a couple of stone cottages and Low Mill on the left. Stay with the track as swings left and then, when it swings right, turn left over the stone stile to continue on The Dales Way. Follow the stone path which leads you alongside the river. The stone path peters out and the well-signed Dales Way continues leading through three more stone squeeze stiles to reach a crossroads of paths. Turn left for just a few paces onto the footbridge to get a view of Linton Falls.

Linton Falls to End
Linton Falls to End

Start point: 54.0659 lat, -1.9997 long
End point: 54.0693 lat, -1.9975 long

Take time here to enjoy this spectacle, created as the River Wharfe cascades through channels within a discontinuity in the limestone bedrock on the line of the Craven Fault. After periods of rain, when the river is high, the water is forced into white turbulent torrents as it forces its way over the uneven river bed. When the river water is low, you will have chance to admire the various holes, fissures and caverns cut into the limestone rocks by the force of the river.

When you’ve finished admiring the falls, retrace your steps to leave the footbridge the way you came. Keep straight ahead on the stone and tarmac path (known as Sedber Lane) which climbs steadily between stone walls. Towards the top, you will come to the National Park Centre car park on the left, where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 responses to "Grassington Meadows and the River Wharfe"

Some of the stiles (squeeze gaps) are indeed quite narrow. I loved watching the snipe flying around the fields. They are easy to identify because of their long bills.

By Richard on 2015-06-26 19:38:05

Hi, myself and my husband really enjoyed this walk. Some of the initial instructions were a little sparse however, we were glad to have the map to track our progress.

By Lesgraham73 on 2016-04-25 11:21:12

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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1 images to "Grassington Meadows and the River Wharfe"

4658_0Richard1435339647 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
You will see several abandoned properties on your walk. This one looks quite substantial. I would like to know who lived there and why the property was abandoned.

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