A fine walk from Pateley Bridge taking in the ruined church of St Mary's, the quarry remains at Scot Gate Ash, the Bishopside Brae trig point, Wath and a walk back alongside the River Nidd.
|Parking:||Nidd Walk Car Park, Pateley Bridge|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
The previous weekend I’d spent three nights away in Bellingham, Northumberland, where I’d enjoyed some wonderful but tough walks and had come back with badly blistered feet. After a week’s recovery I wanted to pick a shortish walk not too far from home to see how my feet would manage.
I arrived at Pateley Bridge early and parked at the Nidd Walk car park. It is my favoured spot for parking at Pateley Bridge and with a cost of just 70p for up to four hours it is a bargain, especially compared to the exorbitant car parks in places like the Lake District.
"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."
From the car park I walked up to Main Street and turned right to walk uphill. There were some nice tulips planted at the bottom of the street and also by the Fox’s Head Well where some cherry blossom added even more colour. Instead of continuing straight on up the road to St Mary’s Church I followed the main road to the right for a 100m or so before taking a footpath on the left. This narrow footpath between houses climbed steadily up to bring me to the entrance to the cemetery. Turning left along the bottom of the cemetery I paused a while to enjoy one of my favourite views of Pateley Bridge.
Next I walked up through the cemetery to visit the ruins of St Mary’s Church. Now roofless the origins of the church date back over 700 years and was the parish church until 1827. Passing through the so-called Devil’s Door of the church a flagged path then led me to a gate and out on to Old Church Lane. Turning right I climbed steeply uphill before taking a thin path slanting to the left. Here I stopped again to enjoy some more fantastic views of Pateley Bridge.
The path soon joined the access lane to a couple of cottages and then on to the house at Moor Edge. Just beyond the house were the remains of Scot Gate Ash Quarry. Apparently once the largest quarry in West Yorkshire the flagstones taken from the quarry were once highly prized. Close to Moor Edge are the remains of the winding house which once worked the railway connecting the quarry to Pateley Bridge. The old railway incline is an alternative route up to the site and is one that I’d used on my two previous visits to the quarry.
Remaining on the main path I continued along the edge of the extensive quarried area, now largely covered with heather. After passing some particularly prominent spoil heaps the path passed through a pasture and on to Wath Lane.
The next stage involved a detour to visit the Bishopside Brae trig point on High Bishopside and can be easily omitted from the walk. Although I’ve visited the trig point twice before I’ve not been entirely happy with the photos I’ve taken and since the weather was so fine I thought it would be worth heading up there to take some more. To gain the trig point I turned right up Wath Lane to reach a gate on the left at grid reference SE158668.
Having taken enough photos to satisfy myself I returned back down the track to Wath Lane. 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. The next stage of the walk was to basically follow Wath Lane all the way down to Wath. It is a quiet road with few cars but with some big views, particularly of Gouthwaite Reservoir further up the valley.
Upon reaching the tiny village of Wath I turned left to reach a bridge over the River Nidd. Without crossing the bridge I turned left to join the Nidderdale Way. The final section of the walk basically followed the route of the Nidderdale Way back to Pateley Bridge. For a while the path followed the line of the old railway which was used in the construction of Scar House Reservoir at the head of the valley. Although the skies were now beginning to cloud over there were some nice stretches close to the river and lots and lots of lambs to take photos of.
Although I’ve done variations on this route several times before this was the best weather I’d had for the walk. The slightly different approach to Scot Gate via Old Church Lane also proved to be a good one with some fine views. Indeed, it is probably a more enjoyable approach than the steep enclosed slog up the old incline. Best of all my blisters didn’t chafe and my feet were still feeling okay by the end of the walk!