A short but enjoyable walk through Skrikes Wood before exploring the crags and miniature waterfalls of Fosse Gill, a hidden valley on the moors above Pateley Bridge.
|Highlights:||Crocodile Rock, Cat Loup Dub|
|Parking:||Parking area on Nought Bank Road|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
On this, the final day of the Easter holidays, the weather was far too good to be spending the day inside so I suggested to my daughter that we go for a little walk. Somewhat surprisingly Rhiannon agreed. Trying to think of a fairly short walk we could do, not too far from Harrogate, I came up with this route which I’d originally had in mind to do one evening later on in the summer.
Starting at the small parking area on a bend of the steep Nought Bank Road we didn’t head straight down to Skrikes Wood below. Instead we did a small loop to the east so that we could visit the large solitary outcrop known as Crocodile Crag or, even better for Elton John fans, Crocodile Rock. From the top of the crag there was a panoramic view of Nidderdale and an almost bird’s eye view of the valley between Glasshouses and Pateley Bridge.
“When a stream is called Fosse, Foss or Force Gill you can expect to find some waterfalls and this was no exception.”
Swinging back round to the path we continued to drop down to Skrikes Wood. Most of this path was new to me and I thought the woods were quite lovely. Two particularly interesting features were a tree which seemed to have multiple trunks and, a bit further down the path, a large moss covered boulder.
At the bottom of the woods we crossed over Fosse Gill and after a brief climb up the road we re-entered the woods for a steep pull high up above the gill. Isolated gritstone outcrops at the top of the woods gave a hint of the crags to come.
At the southern edge of the woods we emerged to a fine view of Fosse Gill ahead of us. Instead of taking the steep path down to the footbridge we initially continued contouring high above, weaving our way passed numerous outcrops that collectively make up Fox Crags. Having had a light snack on one rock with a particularly good view of the valley we then carefully made our way down to the stream.
When a stream is called Fosse, Foss or Force Gill you can expect to find some waterfalls and this was no exception. Whilst all the numerous falls were very modest in height there were two that were particularly nice, the first we came across that had a twin cascade and the final one above the pool called Cat Loup Dub. Between the two there was, quite surprisingly, something almost resembling a path in places. Unfortunately this didn’t last all the way and in a couple of places I had to carry Rhiannon over some reedy bogs.
From Cat Loup Dub we took a clearer path climbing back up through the heather heading in the general direction of the car. From the path we had good views back to the other side of the gill and the crags where we’d had our snack earlier. One further item of interest was a boundary stone, made up of a solid block of grit that was notable for resembling a trig point in shape.
It is fair to say that my daughter is not the keenest when it comes to accompanying her Daddy on a walk. The fact that not only did she do this with a minimum of complaining but was actually quite adventurous and happily let me take her exploring made this a particularly memorable day for me.