A varied walk including a visit to the small valley of Dallowgill before walking up to the trig point on Kettlestang Hill and returning over Dallowgill Moor.
|Parking:||Roadside, Coal Hill|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
It has been over 15 years since I’d last done this walk (or at least a close variation on it). Honestly, I can’t believe where the time has gone. On that previous occasion I’d done the walk in late April after reading that the woods of Dallowgill were a good place to see bluebells. As it happened I didn’t see any as the bluebells were late in flowering. As they were late again this year I thought it would be worth giving it another go.
I parked on a layby on the roadside just north of the junction with Drift Lane. Just metres from the parking spot was a standing stone with an Ordnance Survey benchmark carved on it. From the road I took a rutted track dropping down to the hamlet of Dallow. On the way down there were views of Dallowgill Moor to the left and ahead towards the monument on Greygarth Hill.
"Turning right I walked along Wath Lane to reach a roadside bench. With a big view of the valley it has got to be one of the best sited benches in the whole of Nidderdale."
In Dallow I turned left and then right again on the difficult to locate right of way leading down into Dallowgill. On entering the woods I saw the first but certainly not the last bluebells of the walk. Crossing over the River Laver at a footbridge I took a path slanting up to the right to emerge on to a road near what is marked on the map as an Outdoor Centre. Turning left I walked along the road to take a look at St Peter’s Church.
Soon after, as the road swung round to the right, I continued straight on a track and then on following the route of a bridleway to cross a field and enter the edge of the woods again. Here I found the bluebells I’d hoped to see, an absolutely superb display lining both sides of the path for the next third of a mile or so. The route eventually left the bluebells behind to enter open pastures again.
I’d hoped to include Greygarth Hill on the walk and so at the house after Bents House I took the path leading up to the road just above Tom Corner. The field next to Tom Corner was covered in buttercups. Although there are plenty of rights of way shown on Greygarth Hill they don’t seem to exist on the ground. Unfortunately there is no public right of way to the Greygarth Monument and it is not on access land so I got as close as I could to take some pictures then walked back down to the road.
Continuing north-east along the road I came to a junction where I turned right. I walked along the road until reaching grid reference SE177726 where I took a path leading down to Potter Lane Farm. The final bit of the path was very muddy and hard to fathom which side of the wall it was supposed to be on. Eventually though I reached the bridge below the farm to cross over North Gill Beck. An initially good track on the other side was soon left to locate a half-hidden step stile over a wall into some pastures with ruined buildings.
After crossing these pastures I emerged on to the open access land of Dallowgill Moor. The path that is marked on the map doesn’t exist on the ground and so the subsequent moorland crossing is a case of taking the easiest ground possible. By generally aiming slightly left of the Kettlestang Shooting House I eventually came to its access track. Turning right it was then a simple walk up to this remote building on one corner of which was a faint survey mark.
I then made a detour (only necessary for trig point fans) to visit the trig point on Kettlestang Hill. A faint path from behind the shooting house got me most of the way there before a final bash through the heather. The views are largely of distant moors and hills including Great Whernside to the north-west. After taking a few pictures I returned to the shooting house where I ate some lunch.
The next section of the walk was also the easiest, a simple walk down the access track. Along the way I passed what is marked on the map as a Pile of Stones on High Ruckle Hill. I followed the track all the way to the distinctive standing stone called Long Rod. Again there was an Ordnance Survey cut benchmark on the stone. Just beyond Long Rod the map shows a path heading towards some grouse butts. I struggled to locate the path so made a beeline for one of the butts where I picked up another path. This should have passed another stone called Old Wife but there was nothing on the ground where it is marked on the map. However further on I did come across a standing stone which isn’t on the map so maybe it is marked in the wrong place.
The final part of the walk was on a wider track leading back to the road at Harper Hill. Moorland birds dominated this section of the walk as oystercatchers, curlew and lapwings were seen in abundance. Once back at the road I turned left for the final stage back to the car.