Woldside

Woldside

Woldside is a flat topped fell above Langstrothdale in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales which at 596m high qualifies as a Dewey.

Height (m): 596
Height (ft): 1955
Prominence (m): 35
Classification: Dewey
Hill No: 3610
Grid Ref: SD875830
OS Map OL2, OL30
No. of Visits 2

Woldside is not a particularly well known hill. This is hardly surprising, there are no rights of way on the fell and the summit is defended to the north by the morass of Fleet Moss and to the south by a large area of hags and groughs in the vicinity of Oughtershaw Tarn. Indeed the largely grassy summit is like an island in a sea of peat.

Woldside and Oughtershaw Tarn
Woldside and Oughtershaw Tarn

The summit plateau is wide and flat but despite this the views are surprisingly good. This is not just because of Woldside’s central location in the Yorkshire Dales but because many of the surrounding fells are higher. The Three Peaks country to the west is particularly well seen with Ingleborough looking especially majestic. Northwards the view includes the fells either side of Mallerstang and if you are lucky enought to get good visibility then the views extend out to the Irish Sea to the west and the North York Moors to the east.

The wonderful view of Ingleborough from the top of Woldside
The wonderful view of Ingleborough from the top of Woldside

The highest point is not easy to identify. The 596m spot height is marked by a small pile of stones but there seems to be slightly higher ground to the north-west. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the summit is the curved rim of Jeffery Pot Scar to the north. In late spring the summit area is also dotted with yellow and purple mountain pansies.

The small pile of stones on the 596m spot height with slightly higher ground to the left
The small pile of stones on the 596m spot height with slightly higher ground to the left

While Woldside presents fairly steep flanks dropping straight down to Langstrothdale and the tiny village of Oughtershaw it throws out two long ridges, enclosing New Close Gill to the north-east. The most northerly of the two drops all the way down to the village of Marsett in Raydale. In reverse this ridge provides a fairly easy route on to Woldside, at least as far as Flaight Moss and then Fleet Moss where care needs to be taken.

Looking across New Close Gill to Woldside
Looking across New Close Gill to Woldside

The route that requires the least climbing is from Oughtershaw Road following Fleet Moss Edge, a couple of cairns and a few modest outcrops providing a safe enough route without having to go in to Fleet Moss itself. Another option is from further down Oughtershaw Road climbing alongside the wall to the south of Hazel Bank Gill to reach the summit via Cowen Brow.

A yellow mountain pansy on Woldside
A yellow mountain pansy on Woldside

Blessed with superb visibility I have to say Woldside made a much bigger impression on me on my second visit, especially the views. Although it requires crossing some peaty ground a visit to the lovely Oughtershaw Tarn is well worth a detour to the south. Meanwhile if I ever find my way back up there again I’d like to investigate a bit more of Jeffery Pot Scar and visit the 595m spot height where I imagine the view of Raydale would be quite impressive.

Jeffery Pot Scar
Jeffery Pot Scar

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