A lovely little family walk in Coverdale visiting Pinker's Pond, the gallops on Middleham Low Moor and a glimpse of the ruins of Coverham Abbey.
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I've enjoyed a few walks in Coverdale this year and as I'd passed in and out of the valley on those occasions it reminded me that I'd never stopped to visit Pinker's Pond. It was mainly with that in mind, as well as a desire to revisit the trig point on Middleham Low Moor, that I concocted this little walk with my family.
It was a beautiful morning (surprisingly so for a bank holiday) when we parked up alongside Pinker's Pond. I was eager to take some pictures of the tarn but Lisa and Rhiannon were equally keen to get walking so after taking a few photos I had to hurry after them up the grassy path climbing up on to Middleham Low Moor.
"After passing some horse jumps we turned off the track to descend a bridleway in to Tupgill Park. Initially enclosed by trees the path passed alongside two lovely ponds near the picnic area for Forbidden Corner."
Catching up with them at the top of the path we turned left on a broad track running along the southern edge of the grassy moor. A detour of just a few metres from this track brought Pinker's Pond back into view below Ever Bank. The prospect up the dale towards Great Roova Crag and Little Whernside was fantastic.
We continued along the track to a line of trees at which point we cut off across the grass to reach the top end of the gallops. For a short time we stood and watched some of the racehorses before continuing on to the nearby Middleham Low Moor trig point. By this time the views now included Castle Bolton and Leyburn in Wensleydale.
After taking numerous pictures of the trig point we cut diagonally back across the grassy moor to return to the track. After passing some horse jumps we turned off the track to descend a bridleway in to Tupgill Park. Initially enclosed by trees the path passed alongside two lovely ponds near the picnic area for The Forbidden Corner. We'd already visited this wonderful attraction earlier in the year but if you haven't been it is well worth the visit - just be aware that you generally need to buy tickets in advance.
Dropping down to the entrance to Tupgill Park we turned left along Coverham Lane, a wide grassy verge meant that we could avoid walking on the road itself. My initial plan had been to drop down the lane towards Coverham Bridge and then take the access road past the ruins of Coverham Abbey. Having checked Google Earth and various maps it looked like it was doable. However, after passing Mill House, we found there was a locked gate across the driveway.
With no way through we took a gate alongside Mill House to access a path climbing up to the southern end of the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church. To the left of the path, in the trees, was a nice little waterfall. After taking a look in the church, some of which dates to the 13th century and is thus almost as old as the abbey ruins, we arrived back on Coverham Lane.
Turning right we could have tried following the road all the way back to Pinker's Pond but there was now no verge and the traffic heading to and from Forbidden Corner was getting busier. To escape the road we turned down the drive to Coverham Abbey to access the right of way from Coverham Abbey Farm to Pinker's Pond. As it turned out there is no access to the path from the drive (as shown on the map) and so we had to walk all the way down the drive and through a gate to reach a stile accessing the path.
Having reached the path, and inadvertantly getting a good view of some of the abbey ruins, we crossed a few fields to finally return to Pinker's Pond. Here we laid out our picnic mats to enjoy lunch by the tarn watching the ducks and coots. This had been a lovely little walk marred only by the detour round Coverham Abbey. It is such a shame there is no public right of way through the ruins, it would have made the walk almost perfect.