Pickerstone Ridge

Pickerstone Ridge

Pickerstone Ridge is the highest point of the large swathe of heather moorland between Castle Bolton in Wensleydale and Low Row in Swaledale.

Height (m): 565
Height (ft): 1854
Prominence (m): 78
Classification: Dewey
Hill No: 3587
Grid Ref: SD994946
OS Map OL30
No. of Visits 2

Pickerstone Ridge is possibly one of the least known and least visited 500m+ summits in the Yorkshire Dales. The word ‘summit’ is something of a misnomer as is the word ‘ridge’. In fact it is quite a large flat summit area on the Wensleydale side of the watershed. The highest point is unmarked and is not easy to identify.

Pickerstone Ridge from the fence to the north-west
Pickerstone Ridge from the fence to the north-west

The Database of British Hills gives the summit at 10m north of a small stake in the ground. I wonder if they meant to say 10m south as that would coincide with the 565m spot height on the OS map. On the ground this takes the form of a small mound of bilberry in a sea of heather speckled with cloudberry.

The small mound of bilberry I think is the highest point
The small mound of bilberry I think is the highest point

The easiest approach to Pickerstone Ridge is via the solid track crossing Apedale Head. At the top of the track simply turn west, following the fence until breaking off to the top. The view favours Wensleydale, though the only part of the valley that can be seen is where Waldendale and Bishopdale come together near West Burton. Pen Hill and Addlebrough are also well seen.

Following the fence from Apedale Head on to Pickerstone Ridge
Following the fence from Apedale Head on to Pickerstone Ridge

To the west of Pickerstone Ridge is a vast sweep of moorland that contains a number of small tarns. Of these only two are named on the map, Aberdene Tarn and Whitaside Tarn. Again a fence proves useful as a navigational tool but there is nothing remotely resembling a path.

Aberdene Tarn
Aberdene Tarn

Although little known Pickerstone Ridge is, according to an interview on the Lower Wensleydale website, Lord Bolton’s favourite place in Wensleydale. Lord Bolton owns over 14,000 acres of moorland (including I’d guess Pickerstone Ridge), woodland and parkland as well as Bolton Castle. While some may consider Pickerstone Ridge to be a rather eccentric choice I have to say Lord Bolton seems to be a man after my own heart.

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