The Cam High Road

River Bain and Cam High Road

Walk Summary

A fine walk from the village of Bainbridge visiting one of the country’s shortest rivers, waterfalls, Semerwater and a long stretch of the Cam High Road.

Distance: 7.75 miles
Total ascent: 1360ft
Walk Rating: *****
Parking: Roadside parking in Bainbridge
Route: Download Route [GPX]

Photo Gallery

Walk Report

This was the first of a number of walks during a family holiday based in Bainbridge, Wensleydale. I’d specifically chosen Bainbridge as I had a couple of walks, including this one, that I could do from the door of the cottage that we were staying in.

The weather was decidedly mixed during our stay but on most days it tended to be wet in the morning and drier in the afternoon. So it was on this occasion when there had been some quite impressive hail showers in the morning while we’d visited the Wensleydale Creamery in Gayle. Still it wasn’t until 3.30 in the afternoon that I left the cottage to set off on this walk.

“It was a windy day and with dark clouds in the distance and bright sunshine on the choppy waters the lake looked particularly dramatic.”

Crossing over the bridge that gives Bainbridge its name I took a few photos of the modest cascades just upstream before leaving the village via a muddy path climbing some pastures to the top of Bracken Hill. Arrival on the latter brought Semer Water and Raydale into view. Also dominating the view for much of the walk was Crag, the shapely tip of Wether Fell’s long eastern ridge.

Dropping down from Bracken Hill I enjoyed a nice stretch alongside the River Bain, regarded by some as England’s shortest river until I finally reached Semer Water Bridge. A short detour to the left brought me to the Carlow Stone and the shores of Semer Water. It was a windy day and with dark clouds in the distance and bright sunshine on the choppy waters the lake looked particularly dramatic.

From Semer Water there was a steep pull up past Countersett and on to Crag Side Road. Leaving the latter at a sharp bend in the road I took a track slanting up below the limestone outcrops of Crag and on to the grassy plateau above. All along this section of the walk I enjoyed superb views of Semer Water and the three valleys of Cragdale, Raydale and Bardale. Particularly striking was the outline of Addleborough to the east.

Curving round to the west of Green Scar I then dropped down to the Cam High Road at a point where it is dead straight for some distance and looking every inch the old Roman road that it is. Although it would have been a very straightforward walk back into Bainbridge along the Cam High Road I first wanted to try and visit Horton Gill Force.

Horton Gill Force is labelled on the map just north of where the Cam High Road intersects with the Countersett to Burtersett Road. In hope more than anything else I walked down the road to Burtersett as far as Horton Gill Bridge to see if I could see the waterfall from there. It was at this point that, not for the first time during the holiday, I had a stroke of luck.

I’d timed my arrival at the same time the landowner had arrived to see to his flock. Without wanting to push my luck I asked if he’d mind me jumping over the nearby wall so I could get a photo of the waterfall under the bridge. I was delighted when he not only said I could but told me there was a better one upstream and basically invited me to go and visit Horton Gill Force!

Horton Gill Force proved to be a fine waterfall and I spent some time there taking photos. Finally, I walked back up to the Cam High Road to complete the return leg of the walk. The icing on the cake of what had been a lovely walk were some fantastic views of Wensleydale as the evening light began to fade.

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