Dovestone & Hall Moor

Walk Summary

An enjoyable walk following the River Washburn downstream from Thruscross Reservoir before climbing up to the prominent Dovestone above the A59 and then returning via Brandrith Crags on Hall Moor.

Distance: 7.0 miles
Total ascent: 960ft
Walk Rating: ****
Parking: Car park, Thruscross Reservoir
Route: Download Route [GPX]

Photo Gallery

Walk Report

This was my second walk after the end of the national lockdown that had been imposed in March to try and halt the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. After a short but exhilarating walk the previous evening above Guise Cliff I stayed fairly local again.

This time my plan was to walk from Thruscross Reservoir to Dovestone and return via Brandrith Crags, some little known but impressive gritstone outcrops on Hall Moor. I arrived at Thruscross to find that Yorkshire Water hadn’t yet reopened the car park so, along with a number of other people, I parked my car on the grass verge on the road above the car park.

"Unsurprisingly there is a waterfall in Waterfall Gill. It is just below the spot where the path fords the stream and can be well seen from the path."

Whereas the majority of people were doing the circuit of the reservoir itself I took the steps at the far end of the car park leading down through the trees below the dam. At the bottom I took the track heading south. After a short distance I left the main track to take a path leading to a footbridge crossing the River Washburn. I then enjoyed a pleasant amble downstream with the river in close proximity.

Eventually I emerged on to the A59 near the top end of Fewston Reservoir. Turning right I remained on the verge to soon leave the busy road and walk up Hall Lane. Where the road takes a sharp turn to the right I continued straight on through a gate and up a good track climbing gently up on to Limekiln Hill. Through another gate the track continued on running along the southern edge of Hall Moor.

I stayed on the track until it led on to a bend in Kex Gill Road. Continuing straight on I soon left the road via a path to the left. A bit sketchy to start off with I headed to the left of a small plantation and on to the gritstone outcrop called Dovestone. This is a major landmark on the A59 as it weaves its way up over Blubberhouses pass.

After taking some photos on top of the crag I continued on a good grassy path passing above another crag before reaching the top of Hall Beck. Turning right I then walked along the road verge a short distance before turning right again on to Kex Gill Road. Passing the entrance to a quarry I walked to a bend in the road to then take the track on the left. I soon left this at a step stile to double back on a sketchy path crossing Kex Gill Moor.

The path doesn’t quite follow the route as shown on the OS map and I emerged back on to the road near an old quarry reservoir. Turning left along the road a short distance I then passed through a gate to the right and on to Hall Moor. The next section of the walk is a pathless trod across the moor. The heather wasn’t too thick so it was easy enough underfoot.

There are two large gritstone outcrops which seem to both be called Brandrith Crags and which are about 250m apart. Both are similar with steep sides facing north and slanting down to the south as if they have both been pushed out of the ground at this angle. After a little scramble around the first crag I then sat by the second to eat my lunch. Just to the east of the second crag I picked up a sketchy path leading to a gate and then down into some woods. Turning left on a slanting path I emerged back on to Hall Lane just above Nethernooks Bridge.

Turning left I passed over Nethernooks Bridge (where there is an Ordnance Survey benchmark) to then take a track on the right. This led me back to the start of the walk via the steps climbing up to the car park above the dam.

This was a variation on a few walks I’ve done in the area and provides a good contrast between the pleasant riverside walking at the start and the rougher moorland of Hall Moor. The undoubted highlights though are Dovestone and Brandrith Crags.

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