Catrigg Force

Catrigg Force & Warrendale Knotts

Walk Summary

A super walk from Stainforth in Ribblesdale visiting Catrigg Force, a trio of cave, the summit of Warrendale Knotts and the stunning remains of the Hoffmann Kiln.

Distance: 7.7 miles
Total ascent: 1640ft
Walk Rating: *****
Parking: Car park, Stainforth
Route: Download Route [GPX]

Photo Gallery

Walk Report

This was my first walk of the second lockdown of the year. Thankfully, unlike the March - May lockdown earlier in the year people were allowed to travel for exercise. There was a caveat that long journeys weren't recommended. The start of this walk was less than an hour's drive so I didn't class it as a long journey. Which is just as well as my hometown of Harrogate was stuck in fog and low cloud most of the day.

The forecast suggested that the most likely place to get some sunshine was further west. Therefore I headed along the A59 without a definite idea of where I would go. As it happened the fog didn't begin to break up until I was past Skipton. It was only when I got to Long Preston that I finally decided to head for Stainforth for a walk incorporating some of my favourite features in Ribblesdale.

"Victoria Cave was 'discovered' in 1837 though it had clearly seen activity going back hundreds of thousands of years. The cave is well known for the bones of various animals that have been found in it."

Starting from the car park in Stainforth I first had a walk round to take a look at St Peter's Church. I then walked back to the main street to walk over the bridge crossing Stainforth Beck. On the other side of the bridge I took a path heading upstream before emerging on to another street. Turning left I passed a small green before continuing uphill out of the village on a stony track called Goat Scar Lane.

The track wound its way steeply uphill. Looking back there was a good view of the village with Smearsett Scar appearing prominently behind. At the top of the track I took a path down to the left to visit Catrigg Force. The path dropped down into some woods to reach the falls. Definitely one of my top five favourite waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales, Catrigg Force is also one of the most atmospheric. As usual I carefully made my way across some slippery rocks to get some closer up shots of the lower section of the falls.

After taking plenty of pictures I returned to the top of Goat Scar Lane. Passing through a gate I then followed the track to the access road to the house at Upper Winskill. Turning left on this I followed the access road to reach the minor road running between Langcliffe and Malham Tarn. Along the way I made a short detour from the access road to visit Samson's Toe, a large erratic perched on a small plinth of limestone.

On reaching the public road I turned right to cross a cattle grid. Just beyond I took a path (a dotted line on the map) to the left. Passing below a limestone scar I then crossed over a stile and continued on a short way before bearing left to another stile. On the other side of this it was a short walk up to reach Jubilee Cave. Entering the right of the two entrances I had a little look inside the cave.

Returning to the track below the cave I turned left to follow it as it passes below Attermire Scar. After a few hundred metres I took a thinner path climbing up to Victoria Cave. Before reaching the latter I passed the entrance to the high narrow Wet Cave. I walked about ten metres into the cave before continuing on to Victoria Cave.

Victoria Cave was 'discovered' in 1837 though it had clearly seen activity going back hundreds of thousands of years. The cave is well known for the bones of various animals that have been found in it. These include hippos, narrow-nosed rhino, elephants and spotted hyenas. Needless to say these dated back to when the climate was much warmer than it is today. More 'recent' remains include an 11,000 year old harpoon point, cited as the earliest evidence of humans in the Yorkshire Dales.

After taking some photos just inside the large entrance I took another thin path back down to the main path. Along the way I spotted a stoat running down a rash of rocks. Shortly after I took a thin path to the right to pass through a gate to climb up on to the top of Warrendale Knotts. Although a light haze affected the overall panorama there were still good views from the top of Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent. There was also a good view of the length of Attermire Scar with the opening of Victoria Cave particularly prominent.

After eating my lunch in the small shelter surrounding the trig point I retraced my steps back to the path running below Attermire Scar. I could have taken a steeper and more direct route down to the Dales High Way but I wanted to get some more pictures of Attermire Scar and Warrendale Knotts. After this longer route round I joined the Dales High Way. I followed this west before taking a track to the right passing below Blua Scar. This wound its way down to the Pennine Bridleway.

Turning right I followed the Pennine Bridleway a short way before taking a gate on the left to continue to Langcliffe on the route of Wainwright's Pennine Journey. Arriving in Langcliffe I had a brief walk around the outside of St John's Church before taking an enclosed lane heading north out of the village. Coming to a bend I took a path to the left crossing a few pastures to reach the Craven Lime Works, a fascinating place that I first visited with my daughter on a short walk back in October 2017.

Thanks to Heritage Lottery funding a small figure of eight walk has been created around the important archaeological remains of the lime works. Without doubt the centrepiece is the huge Hoffmann Kiln. Built in 1873 it is a huge industrial scale lime kiln which you can walk all the way around inside. More information about the kiln and its history can be found on the Out of Oblivion website. I also visited the remains of two other kilns, the Spencer Kilns and the Triple Draw Kilns.

At the northern end of the site a stile led me on to a pasture. From there it was a short walk north to reach the road and then back to Stainforth.

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