Bolton Bridge

Bolton Bridge and Haw Pike

Walk Summary

A lovely riverbank walk along the River Wharfe between Bolton Bridge and Addingham before returning via Chelker Reservoir and the trig point on Haw Pike.

Distance: 6.7 miles
Total ascent: 980ft
Walk Rating: ***
Parking: Layby, Bolton Bridge
Route: Download Route [GPX]

Photo Gallery

Walk Report

Every time I drive home along the A59, usually after a day’s walking in the Dales, I always have a quick glance to my left as the road crosses the River Wharfe. Here can be found the older road bridge, a fine structure and one I keep telling myself that I’ll stop and take a picture of one day.

My chance finally came after a tough week at work had left me too tired to contemplate a long drive or walk. Instead I came up with this route which allowed me to not only visit Bolton Bridge but also enjoy a stretch of the Dales Way that I hadn’t walked before.

“Shortly after passing the ruin of High Laithe I entered Bracken Ghyll Golf Club. It seemed quite busy so I passed through as quickly as possible whilst keeping an eye out for any incoming balls.”

There are a few starting options for this walk, including Addingham. I started from the sizeable layby a couple of hundred metres south of the Bolton Bridge roundabout on the road to Addingham.

From the layby I continued heading south, initially on a thin roadside path. When this gave out I crossed the road to cautiously walk uphill keeping an eye out for oncoming traffic. Thankfully this section didn’t last too long and I was soon able to escape on to a permissive path that runs along the bottom of the field above the road.

After a short time the permissive path brought me back on to the road just before Farfield Livery. Another fifty metres on I crossed the road to take a path passing around the back of Farfield Cottages. This soon opened out to descend beautifully down to the waiting Wharfe.

The following section along the Dales Way was a lovely riverside ramble. Unusually there were large stretches where there was no trees on the riverbank allowing for good views up and down stream. Briefly deflected away from the riverbank by a steep banked wood the riverside path eventually led into the outskirts of Addingham. Passing through a caravan park I paused for a while to watch a heron fishing on the weir.

Emerging on to Bark Lane I turned left following the road on to North Street and then turned right on to Church Street. Another right hand turn on to the Main Street I passed a fine war memorial on the opposite side of the road. Passing the Crown Inn I continued on until I reached the narrow line called Sugar Hill. Turning right on this I passed some houses to arrive on Back Beck Lane.

Turning briefly left on Back Beck Lane I then took a fork to the right on a narrow access lane called Long Riddings. A short distance along Long Riddings I soon took the footpath to the left which runs adjacent to the lane. Shortly after passing the ruin of High Laithe I entered Bracken Ghyll Golf Club. It seemed quite busy so I passed through as quickly as possible whilst keeping an eye out for any incoming balls.

Passing around the back of Highfield Farm I continued on faint path above Chelker Reservoir. Descending to the houses at Berwick East I took the drive leading to Berwick Cottage. At the end of this a gate gave access to the grassy slopes beyond.

Here I made a steep detour up to my right to visit the trig point on Haw Pike. I’d previously visited this trig point in 2005 and 2009. On both occasions I’d been treated to strong winds, lashings of rain and low cloud. Thankfully it was was third time lucky and even though the skies were quite grey I was still able to enjoy a much better view than on my previous visits.

Dropping back down to the path I continued on to a stile from where I descended to another stile below. Turning half right I joined a faint bridleway that descended along a wallside to reach a bridge. This passes over an old railway line though little can be see of this now. Crossing over the bridge I continued on a thin path to reach the A59. Thankfully I arrived at a quiet moment and was able to cross straight over without any problems. For those who don’t fancy crossing over this fast busy road then an alternative is to remain on the bridleway to cross below the road via an underpass.

On the other side of the road I crossed Hambleton Beck at a footbridge. Climbing up some steps I then emerged unexpectedly on an abandoned road. Based on the road sign further along to the right this must have been the old road before the A59 was built. Turning right I passed the Devonshire Arms to then gain the minor road crossing Bolton Bridge. After locating the Ordnance Survey benchmark engraved on to the south facing side of the bridge I crossed over to take a few photos. Crossing back over I then rejoined the Dales Way to pass below the ugly modern road bridge and back to the car.

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