A river and beckside ramble from Dent up into Deepdale to visit the waterfalls of Gastack Beck before returning via Green Lane, Megger Stones and Flinter Gill.
|Parking:||Car park, Dent|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
Prior to this walk it had been over 12 years since I had a proper visit to Deepdale, the steep side valley of Dentdale between the slopes of Whernside and Great Coum. This was then a long overdue return, the main aim of which was to visit the waterfalls of Gastack Beck, a feeder stream of Deepdale Beck.
Parking spaces in Deepdale itself are somewhat limited so I started at the car park in Dent. The walk started with a nice easy ramble east along the Dales Way, first along the banks of the River Dee and then alongside Deepdale Beck itself.
"For lovers of waterfalls the next 800ft or so of walking up alongside Gastack Beck was a pure joy."
At Mill Bridge I left the Dales Way to cross the road and take a path into Mill Wood and Deepdale proper. Before exiting the wood I heard the unmistakeable sound of a waterfall on my left. A brief detour brought me to a nice little cascade.
After leaving Mill Wood I crossed a number of pastures just as the sun began to break through the morning cloud. After a mile of walking along the valley floor I dropped down to Bigholme Bridge to cross the beck and head up the opposite bank to an old barn.
Haivng gained a little bit of height I could finally get a more open view of the opposite side of the valley with Great Coum and Green Hill above the scattered farms on Deepdale Lane. Turning right I crossed an exceptionally muddy field to pass the abandoned farm house called Woods.
Cutting back down to Deepdale Beck in the next reedy pasture I followed the stream up to Broken Gill Bridge. Without crossing I continued on a short way, passing a small waterfall from an unnamed stream below Mire Garth, to reach the confluence of Deepdale Beck and Gastack Beck.
Unfortunately there is no footbridge to cross Deepdale Beck at this spot so it is necessary to ford the stream. I imagine in the summer this point may be almost dry but I was here to see waterfalls so I was glad that both becks contained a healthy amount of water and didn't mind getting wet feet.
For lovers of waterfalls the next 800ft or so of walking up alongside Gastack Beck was a pure joy. In total I visited six separate falls of various shapes and sizes. With the exception of the uppermost waterfall above the road, they all required a short detour from the path to see properly. This upper fall also has the highest drop and is situated alongside the road where there is a handy space to park a car or two.
Finally leaving the waterfalls behind I turned north for a quiet half mile or so along the quiet Deepdale Lane. Along this stretch I enjoyed excellent views back down into Deepdale and up to Whernside. At Holly Garth I left the road for a sunken path passing through a small wood before cutting across a couple of pastures to reach the enclosed stony track called Nun House Outrake.
The forecast for the day had been for cloud but by this point it had turned into an absolutely glorious day. My initial plan had been to return to Dent from Nun House Outrake on the path via Slack, Near Helks and East Banks. Instead I decided to extend the walk and gain more height by visiting Megger Stones on the slopes of Great Coum.
To visit the Megger Stones I turned left up Nun House Outrake. Climbing gradually I was able to enjoy some superb retrospective views of Dentdale backed by Rise Hill and, further up the valley, Great Knoutberry Hill. Arriving at Green Lane I turned right for a third of a mile until reaching a gate. Passing through this I then took a faint quad track up to Megger Stones.
Megger Stones is a fairly modest rash of stones. What makes it interesting are the number of cairns that have been constructed and which are prominent from numerous places in the valley below. The other big draw for me is the view. Encompassing almost the full length of Dentdale, the Howgill Fells, the distant Lakeland fells and even Cross Fell in the North Pennines it is a magnificent viewpoint.
After eating a late lunch I retraced my steps back down to Green Lane to continue north-west until I came to the path leading down Flinter Gill. I've rarely enjoyed going up or down this path as it tends to be stony and slippery. Surprisingly on this occasion it wasn't too bad and as an extra bonus I was able to make a couple of detours to a couple of attractive waterfalls in the gill.
Finally as the skies began to cloud over again I arrived back in Dent. The weather, waterfalls and views had all far surpassed my expectations making this a really grand day out.