Wharfedale from Gate Cote Scar

Knipe Scar & Middlesmoor Pasture

Walk Summary

A lovely afternoon walk in the spring sunshine above Kettlewell climbing up on to Middlesmoor Pasture via Knipe Scar and returning via The Slit.

Distance: 4.5 miles
Total ascent: 1360ft
Walk Rating: *****
Parking: Layby below Knip Scar Lime Kiln
Route: Download Route [GPX]

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Walk Report

Even though I had just spent a wonderful week based in Naples, from where I’d visited Pompeii, Capri and Vesuvius, I was very keen to get back out into the Dales as soon as I could. So, despite not arriving back home just 12 hours earlier, I set off mid-afternoon to do this walk.

Due to the time of the day, and it being the Easter weekend, the main car park in Kettlewell was chock full, as was the cheaper alternative park just across the road. Thankfully there was just enough to space to squeeze my car in alongside a couple of others in a layby on the road above the village to the south. Rather handily this was also just a few yards from where the path leaves the road to climb up through Knipe Wood.

“Situated a couple of hundred feet to the east of the wall the trig point is not in the best of shape but does feature a superb view of the surrounding Wharfedale fells.”

Before I began the climb up through the wood I first followed, out of interest, a sign labelled ‘Kiln’. Within a couple of minutes this led to the remains of the large Knipe Scar Lime Kiln. Originally built in the 1790’s it was active until the 1880’s. The information board next to the kiln describes its history and restoration by the Trust Lords of Kettlewell, an organisation that goes back to the mid-17th century.

Returning to the main path it slanted up through the lovely Knipe Wood with the limestone scar towering above it. At the far end of the wood I left the definitive right of way for the more popularly used and more obvious looking permissive path, this is marked in red on the Ordnance Survey Explorer map.

As the path climbed higher the view really began to open out over Wharfedale, down in the valley Kettlewell could be well seen, seemingly tucked away beneath the slopes of Great Whernside and, further back, Buckden Pike. Also noticeable down in the valley is the distinctively shaped chapel of Scargill House, a Christian conference centre and a place I have fond memories of staying at on a school trip whilst at junior school.

Climbing gradually up I eventually reached the wall which runs along the crest of the long ridge of which I was now standing near its southern end. Before turning to follow the wall to the right I first made a five minute detour to the left so that I could enjoy the view south from the top of Knipe Scar which overlooks Kilnsey Crag and the foot of Littondale.

From Knipe Scar I turned around and retraced my steps before continuing another half mile or so alongside the wall to make another short detour, this time to visit the Middlesmoor Pasture trig point. Situated a couple of hundred feet to the east of the wall the trig point is not in the best of shape but does feature a superb view of the surrounding Wharfedale fells.

Returning to the wall I continued following it for just under a mile of easy pleasant walking until I reached the top of the path climbing up from Kettlewell. Turning right on this I began a glorious descent back into the valley, the highlight of which was reaching the top of Gate Cote Scar. From the top of the scar there was a dramatic view back down into Kettlewell and a glorious one looking north up the valley towards Starbotton and Buckden.

A dramatic notch in the scar, aptly known as The Slit, provided the key to the next stage of the descent. This proved to be an easy clamber down on limestone before a short steep descent on grass. Thankfully I was able to avoid walking back along the road to the car as a handy permissive path follows the road on the other side of the wall and this led me back to the path from where I’d started the walk.

Although short, this walk was definitely sweet. The views were superb and the weather even better, all in all a great return to the Dales!

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