Greenhow Hill Top

Greenhow Hill Top

Greenhow Hill Top is a partly quarried limestone hill above Greenhow, one of the highest villages in the United Kingdom.

Height (m): 428
Height (ft): 1404
Prominence (m): 44
Classification: Four
Hill No: 16367
Grid Ref: SE111638
OS Map OL2
No. of Visits 1

Although not rising to any great extent above the village the hill is prominent enough for it to be visible from Harrogate 14 miles away. Indeed Greenhow Hill Top, along with Great Pockstones and Cold Stones were part of a trio of tops that I used to be able to see from my office window.

Greenhow Hill Top in January 2009 when it still had its radio mast
Greenhow Hill Top in January 2009 when it still had its radio mast

Greenhow has its origins as a leadmining village and much of the landscape in the area has been shaped by the lead mining industry. More recently neighbouring Greenhow Moor has been almost competely hollowed out by the Coldstones Quarry. Greenhow Hill Top itself has seen a large section on its eastern flank quarried away. Immediately to the south on Galloway Pasture there are also numerous spoil heaps and a few fenced off shafts.

Greenhow Hill Top with some of the spoil heaps of Galloway Pasture in the foreground
Greenhow Hill Top with some of the spoil heaps of Galloway Pasture in the foreground

Situated on the top of the hill is a building that belonged to a wireless station. The large mast that was located next to the building is now gone. The highest point of the hill is a short distance to the south-east of the fenced off building in an area of small limestone outcrops. Those with keen eyes may spot an Ordnance Survey rivet on one of the rocks.

The summit includes an old wireless station and an OS rivet fixed to the rock in the foreground
The summit includes an old wireless station and an OS rivet fixed to the rock in the foreground

Although there is no right of way to the summit access land extends as far as a ruined wall about ten metres of the summit. The main obstacle to reaching the top is the wall further south that runs alongside an old mine track and which is heavily defended by nettles and thistles. Attempting to cross this in three quarter length shorts as I did is not a good idea!

The view south-east towards Menwith Hill and Knabs Ridge
The view south-east towards Menwith Hill and Knabs Ridge

For such an unheralded summit the views are really rather good and are particularly extensive to the south and east and include the golf balls of Menwith Hill, the Knabs Ridge windfarm and Harrogate itself. If visibility is good then the Drax and Ferrybridge Power Stations can also be seen. To the north is the vast sweep of moor on the Nidd / Wharfe watershed which culminates with Great Whernside. To the west there is a good view of Simon’s Seat.

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