A fine walk from Lofthouse in upper Nidderdale visiting Nidd Falls, Thrope Lane and the shooting house on Thrope Edge. Super views throughout.
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After a week of gloomy wet weather Friday 13th turned out to be lucky for me as I woke up on the morning of my birthday to find the sun was shining. It is perhaps not surprising my favourite thing to do on my birthday is to go for a walk. My wife Lisa nearly always takes the day off work so we can enjoy a walk together. This time we also had with us our young cavapoo, Barry.
Given that we were in lockdown 2.0 I didn't want to travel far. I also needed to pick a walk that wasn't too long for Barry. In the end I picked this route revisiting a couple of my favourite spots in Nidderdale, my local dale.
"Initially we stayed on a steep bit of grass just above the bracken but as it then zig-zagged back up to the left there was nothing for it but to tackle the bracken. It was tough going, made harder for me as Barry point blank refused to walk through it so I had to pick him up and carry him."
Although there is a small car park by the village hall in Lofthouse I parked on the roadside at the foot of the village opposite the school. The walk started with a short detour to visit Nidd Falls. Not marked on either the Explorer or Landranger maps it is a splendid little waterfall. To reach the falls we took the access road to Scar House Reservoir. After passing some buildings on the right we turned to a footbridge. Without crossing we took a gap stile on the left to pass into a field. At the far end we dropped down to the waterfall. In the mid-morning autumn sunshine Nidd Falls looked particularly beautiful.
Retracing our steps back to the gap stile we then turned left crossing the River Nidd by the footbridge. A path to the right then took us back into the village, emerging by the war memorial. Turning left we followed the road as it climbed up out of the village and on to the moor above. As the road took a bend to the right we continued straight on along a bridleway. Called Thrope Lane, we followed this pleasant path up the valley. Early highlights included a view of the church at Middlesmoor on the skyline to our left, and some fine toadstools alongside the path.
After a short while the path emerged into a more open area to slant gently up around a barn before dropping down again to reach Thrope Farm. There is a shortcut option here to take a bridleway climbing directly up to the shooting house on Thrope Edge. That option would have meant for a very short walk so I wanted to extend it a little bit by trying to trace the path going via High Thrope.
Therefore, continuing past Thrope Farm, we continued along Thrope Lane. The path we wanted to take was at grid reference SE102752. There didn't seem to be a stile in the fence so we on to cross a stream and at SE101753 we then took a grassy path leading away from Thrope Lane to climb gently up to another stream. From there we made a beeline to the rather meagre ruins of High Thrope.
Passing through a couple of gates alongside the ruins the next stage was rather tricky. The route of the path was choked with dying bracken. Initially we stayed on a steep bit of grass just above the bracken but as it then zig-zagged back up to the left there was nothing for it but to tackle the bracken. It was tough going, made harder for me as Barry point blank refused to walk through it so I had to pick him up and carry him.
Eventually we fought our way through to a wooden stile at SE105757. Crossing over the bracken became easier to manage and not long after it double backed up to the right. This turned into a fine slanting path with magnificent views looking back down over the valley. The path climbed gradually to pass below some of the modest outcrops of Thrope Edge to arrive at the prominent shooting house situated right on the edge of the moor.
Although bright it was also windy so we sheltered in the leeward side of the shooting house to have some lunch. We then took the wide track running south enjoying some more widespread views which included the likes of Meugher, Woodale Moss, Great Whernside and Little Whernside. Not long after the track took a turn to the left we took a gate on the right to continue on a heathery path leading to the road between Lofthouse and Masham. Turning right it was then a simple walk downhill along the quiet road. As we approached Lofthouse the skies above began to darken leading to some dramatic patches of light on the opposite side of the valley. Hardly had we got back to the car then there was a sudden downpour.
This was a fine little walk. It was a shame about the battle with the bracken beyond High Thrope. As mentioned above an easier alternative would have been to take the bridleway up to the shooting house from Thrope Farm. A longer alternative would have been to continue on the Nidderdale Way as passing Limley Farm and on to Thwaite Farm from where there are a couple of options leading up to Thrope Edge.