Simon’s Seat and Great Pock Stones

Walk Summary

An enjoyable moorland walk to Simon’s Seat from the Wasburn valley via Great Pock Stones returning via Hazelwood Moor and Rocking Hall.

Distance: 10.0 miles
Total ascent: 1400ft
Walk Rating: ****
Parking: Hoodstorth Lane
Route: Download Route [GPX]

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Walk Report

For a while now I’d thought about trying a walk on to Simon’s Seat from the Washburn valley as an alternative to the usual approaches from Bolton Abbey to the west or Appletreewick to the north. Having discovered the small parking area to the west of the bridge on Hoodstorth Lane I knew I’d found a good starting point and from that point I came up with the rest of this route.

From the bridge I walked west up the hill to a bend in the road where the green lane heads away across the moor ultimately bound for Skyreholme in Wharfedale. Turning up this track the first section of the walk was a simple case of following it all the way up to the Little Pock Stones. It was an easy walk made even more pleasant by the company of pipits, skylarks and wheatears.

“A short detour from this path led to an easy walk up on to the top of Lord’s Seat, an impressive pile of gritstone with a great view of Simon’s Seat backed by Cracoe Fell.”

Having made a small detour to visit the Little Pock Stones I returned to the track, passed through a gate and then followed the wall up on to Great Pock Stones. There was no path as such but it wasn’t too bad underfoot. While nowhere near as exciting as the gritstone crags to come the Great Pock Stones are still worth a visit and, situated as they are on a small moorland rise, are a fine viewpoint in their own right.

Leaving the Great Pock Stones I continued west along the wall before heading off on another small detour, this time to visit two features, The Great Shack and Dry Tarn. The former is marked as a shake hole but as with Dry Tarn may in fact have been a former tarn. Whatever its origin it is fairly impressive in its diameter.

From Dry Tarn it was a short walk to a wall corner where a gate provided access to the flagged path passing Lord’s Seat on its way to Simon’s Seat. A short detour from this path led to an easy walk up on to the top of Lord’s Seat, an impressive pile of gritstone with a great view of Simon’s Seat backed by Cracoe Fell.

Returning to the path it was then a short walk to Simon’s Seat where, for the first time in the walk, I saw other people. Finding a nice perch for myself on the rocks on the eastern side of the summit I sat down to have some lunch and enjoy the superb views down to Skyreholme and Trollers Gill and across Grimwith Reservoir towards Great Whernside and Meugher.

From the summit my plan was to follow the main path back down towards Posforth Gill as far as Truckle Crags before doubling back on a path that is marked on the map passing the Hen Stones. Unfortunately any path that once existed has long since been devoured by the heather and so this became a bit of bash across the moor until I eventually reached the track descending alongside the wall to the south of Lord’s Seat. If I were to do this walk again it would have be much easier to retrace my steps from Simon’s Seat to Lord’s Seat and then to this track.

The next couple of miles was a simple moorland stroll down to Little Agill Head and then up on to Hazelwood Moor. At Cort How I passed what looked like a small weather station. Shortly afterwards I turned east on to Rocking Moor, the track eventually leading me to Rocking Hall. Consisting of two buildings either side of the Rocking Stone this was my second visit to Rocking Hall. Even on a sunny day the place still seemed quite sinister to me – a feeling enhanced by the mounted stag’s head that I could see through the glass panels of the door.

Leaving this eerie place behind me I took a thin path heading north-west from the wall that encloses Rocking Hall across The Great Stray. Initially following a line of grouse butts this path, which was only just visible in places eventually brought me back to the track I’d originally walked up that morning. To return to the start it was a simple case of turning right on the track to reach Hoodstorth Lane and then down the hill back to the parking area.

This was a really enjoyable outing, my only regret was that I hadn’t done it a couple of weeks earlier when the heather had been in full bloom. It was probably the best visibility I’ve enjoyed on my five visits to Simon’s Seat. It was also nice to join the dots as it were between this summit and the moors above upper Washburn valley.

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