An interesting and fairly straightforward walk from Settle with optional detours to visit the superb Scaleber Force and the summits of Warrendale Knotts and Hunter Bark.
|Parking:||Ashfield Car Park, Settle|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
This is a route I'd put together to revisit a couple of trig points and one of my favourite waterfalls, Scaleber Force. At the same time it allowed me to explore some of the network of paths around Settle that I'd not trodden before. These features all require a detour from the main course of the route and so can be treated as optional. Even if summit or trig point bagging is not your thing then Scaleber Force at least should be included.
Starting from the Ashfield car park in Settle I crossed the main road to walk up Chapel Street. Curving round on to Victoria Street below the magnificent 17th century house called 'The Folly' I then continued round on to Commercial Street, passing a lovely little green with a Victoria Oak. This part of the town is marked on the map as Upper Settle and I found its narrow streets very characterful.
"Again managed by the Woodland Trust the chief glory of Scaleber Wood is the superb Scaleber Force, one of my favourite waterfalls in the Dales."
Eventually I reached an enclosed track on my left called Brockholes Lane. Lined with a lovely display of meadow cranesbill I followed the lane for approximately three quarters of a mile before reaching Lodge Road. Crossing straight over I followed a grassy path through a trio of pastures to enter Cleatop Wood.
Cleatop Wood is managed by the Woodland Trust. An information board provides information on the semi-ancient Stubbing Wood and the more recently planted areas. The info board also claims that in the wood are the remains of ancient holloways, platforms and even a bronze age burial cairn. Due to the newer plantings and the rampant summer undergrowth none of these things could be seen with the naked eye, at least not from the path.
On the other side of Cleatop Wood the path virtually disappeared. Rather than try and trace its course all the way to High Mearbeck Farm and then double back on myself I cut this large corner by hopping over a gate on my left and following the edge of the woods up to meet a track. This climbed up past the woods of Cleatop Park, through some sheep and cattle pastures and on to the area of access land on Hunter Bark.
Hunter Bark has two 'tops'. The first and lowest is a reedy grass hump topped by a trig point with a height of 315m. Although the skies were cloudy visibility was excellent and even from this modest height I could see Pendle Hill and Winter Hill in Lancashire, the jagged outline of the Scafells and Langdale Pikes as well as a view of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
Doubling back to reach a gate on to Mitchell Lane I then turned left to rise to the slightly higher second top. A clear path branches off the main track to run right up to and past the boulder marking the highest point at 319m. Returning back to the main track I again turned left to continue north along Mitchell Lane. After passing through a plantation I took another lane, Lambert Lane, on my right. This zig-zagged up to reach High Hill Lane which runs below the impressively steep slopes of High Hill itself.
Turning right I walked for 6-7 minutes along the road to reach a stile giving access to Scaleber Wood. Again managed by the Woodland Trust the chief glory of Scaleber Wood is the superb Scaleber Force, one of my favourite waterfalls in the Dales. There are a couple of thin paths descending to the waterfall, one right to the foot of the main waterfall itself and one just a bit further downstream below a couple of lower falls. Care does need to be taken as the path is steep and slippery in places but it is definitely worth it for the closer up views.
After taking a number of photos and eating my packed lunch I climbed back up out of the wood to turn left to retrace my steps back along the road. Before reaching Lambert Lane again I turned right on to Stockdale Lane which I shortly left at a gate. Following a grasssy track I made a short detour on to the shapely knoll of Sugar Loaf. I was also hoping to make a further detour on to High Hill but due to the surfeit of cattle grazing on the upper slopes I decided to give it a miss.
Beyond Sugar Loaf I came to a gate. Rather than follow the right of way to the right I carried on straight ahead to reach another gate thus bypassing another field of cows. Turning left I walked up to a small cave at the foot of Warrendale Knotts before taking a path running alongside a wall to my right. This soon reached a stile which gave access to a thin path for a steep climb up through a notch in the limestone crag above to reach the top of Warrendale Knotts.
The views by now were more restricted due to the showery rain heading down the dale towards me. Despite this the panorama from both the trig point and cairn to the north was still excellent. The most impressive aspect of the view is Attermire Scar immediately to the east and it is a fun exercise to try and spot all the cave entrances with Victoria Cave in particular difficult to miss.
Retracing my steps back down to the stile I turned right to follow the broad green path for a descent in to Settle. The town is in the midst of its Flower Pot Festival and as I made my way back to the car park I enjoyed the creative displays that were on show outside various houses and businesses. Indeed if I'd had the time a walk around Settle just looking out for these would have been an enjoyable couple of hours in itself.