An easy 5.5 mile walk from Buckden visiting a succession of lovely waterfalls in and around Cray Gill in upper Wharfedale.
|Parking:||Car park, Buckden|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
With a forecast for low cloud and valley fog it wasn’t a day for a walk on the tops, at least not if you wanted to see much! Heavily overcast conditions are however very good for taking pictures of waterfalls with long exposures.
Justifiably the most popular waterfall walk in the Yorkshire Dales is the Ingleton Waterfall Trail. Another much lesser-known alternative is a walk incorporating some of the waterfalls to be found in and around Cray Gill in upper Wharfedale.
"By this time some of the lower cloud had lifted so there were some views of the valley below. Buckden Pike and the other higher tops however remained in the cloud."
The starting point for the walk is the National Park car park in Buckden. Another alternative is the limited roadside parking by the riverbank in Hubberholme. On arrival in Buckden the cloud was indeed very low so I decided to do the walk clockwise in the hope that it might lift a bit by the time I got to Cow Close Gill and Buckden Rake.
Therefore I left the car park to drop down to cross Buckden Bridge on the road leading out of the village towards Hubberholme. Just across the bridge I took a footpath on the right (the Dales Way). After a pleasant section alongside the River Wharfe the path then crossed a couple of fields before returning to the road. Turning right it was then a simple walk into Hubberholme. Crossing over the bridge I had a quick look at the church before turning right along the quiet back road of Stubbing Lane.
After about ten minutes this brought me to Stubbing Bridge. Without crossing I took the path on the left by a National Trust sign to begin following Cray Gill upstream. It didn’t take long to reach the first waterfalls. After passing about three modest little falls I crossed a side stream, Crook Gill, over a mossy little footbridge. Almost immediately I took a thin path on the left to reach a stunning waterfall at the foot of Crook Gill.
After taking a few pictures I returned to the main path to continue onwards. Very soon after I got a view of one of the larger falls in Cray Gill. Unfortunately, the path is quite a bit higher than the fall and I was only able to get a reasonable view of it because of the time of year and the lack of leaves on the trees.
The path soon emerged on to a hillside pasture and a grassy path slanted up the slopes to the left. This led me up to Mount Pleasant Farm and then on to a track that brought me out on to the road alongside the White Lion in the little settlement of Cray. After a quick look I located an Ordnance Survey benchmark on the pub wall.
From the White Lion I turned left to head up the road which is here very close again to the stream. Passing through a gate on the right I made a brief detour to visit some waterfalls just above a stone bridge. Returning to the road I then following it up all the way to Cray High Bridge. The road was very quiet but this section does require a bit of care when the traffic is busier.
The waterfall just upstream from Cray High Bridge was dry. Just past the bridge I took a bridleway on my right. After following this to a gate I then crossed a fence by a broken stile to make another detour. This time to visit the magnificent waterfall on Cow Close Gill. A four-tiered drop this is one of my favourite waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales.
After taking numerous photos I returned to the bridleway for a pleasant walk along Buckden Rake. By this time some of the lower cloud had lifted so there were some views of the valley below. Buckden Pike and the other higher tops however remained in the cloud. At a bend there was a fine view of Langstrothdale before the path began its descent back to Buckden.
I hadn’t quite had my fill of waterfalls so when I got back to the car park I took the path just above the car park to Buckden Gill. Turning upstream on a thin path I walked past a couple of smaller waterfalls before reaching one of the three high falls in Buckden Gill. Here I belatedly stopped for my lunch before returning back to the car.