An enjoyable 9 mile walk from Aysgarth Falls taking in a number of lesser known features in Wensleydale including Locker Tarn, the limestone crest of Wegber Scar and the falls of Docker Force.
|Parking:||Car park, Aysgarth Falls|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
As the coronavirus outbreak had begun turning into a global pandemic the situation in the country wasn’t looking great. The schools had just been closed and although it had yet to be announced I had the feeling that we were soon to be heading for the kind of lockdown that was taking place in other European countries. With no idea on how long such a lockdown would last I wanted to get out for one last long walk whilst I still could. As it happened this was to be my last visit to the Yorkshire Dales National Park for almost four months.
I arrived at the National Park car park at Aysgarth Falls quite early so there weren’t many cars. Although the car park and immediate area around the falls are quite popular my route would be leaving the tourist areas behind so I wasn’t too worried about being close to other people.
"This was my second visit to Locker Tarn and as with my first visit it was teeming with birdlife. So as not to disturb them I circled round the tarn to the left to reach an old hut. Just behind the hut was a nice unnamed waterfall. "
From the western end of the car park I took a flight of steps climbing up the embankment to cross the disused railway line. From there I crossed a pasture where there were a couple of step stiles made redundant by the fact that they weren’t attached to any wall or fence. I wryly thought to myself that they must be social distancing, a term that was only just entering the national consciousness and which would soon come to dominate our lives.
Having crossed the initial pasture the right of way then shadowed the road to Carperby for a while. Having finally joined the road I followed it a short distance before taking another path across a field to enter Carperby. Turning right I walked through the village passing the war memorial and Wheatsheaf pub before turning left on to Hargill Lane.
Climbing Hargill Lane I ignored the first turn off to the right. Soon after the path forked and I took the right hand option to climb up to Low Gate. This brought me on to the bridleway connecting Castle Bolton and Woodhall. Turning right a short distance I then left the track by heading north-west across pathless ground to reach Locker Tarn.
This was my second visit to Locker Tarn and as with my first visit it was teeming with birdlife. So as not to disturb them I circled round the tarn to the left to reach an old hut. Just behind the hut was a nice unnamed waterfall. From the waterfall I contoured below the slopes of Gooseberry Nab before climbing up the steep slopes ahead of me. Bearing left I reached the impressive limestone cliffs of Wegber Scar.
Turning right I then enjoyed a fine, if all too brief, walk along the top of the scar. At the far end I descended to reach a track, Peatmoor Lane. Turning left on this I followed it down to return to the bridleway I’d left earlier. Turning right on this I then enjoyed a straightforward stroll across pastures before it passed below Ivy Scar and the remnants of an old lead mine.
Not long afterwards the path crosses Eller Beck. Here I took a thin path to the left to look at the top of the double waterfall of Docker Force. Then, having crossed the beck I took another detour through a gate and down to the left to take a closer look at the bottom of the falls. Having taken a number of photos I then returned to the bridleway to follow it down to the little hamlet of Woodhall.
Turning left along the road I soon left it to take a path on the right. This shadowed the road for a while before bearing right across an area called The Straights. This led me to a rather smelly pond and then across some more pastures and back to the road at Ballowfield. Having crossed Ballowfield Bridge I then took a path to the right leading down to a footbridge across the River Ure.
On the other side of the river I turned left along the road before leaving it on a path that initially stayed close to the riverbank. When the path joined an access road I followed it as far as Aysgarth Mill before climbing up through further pastures to reach the village. Turning left I took a back street that emerged on to further pastures. Crossing these I emerged on to the road leading to Aysgarth Falls. The walk concluded with a visit to St Andrew’s Church and then the upper falls at Aysgarth.
The weather had stayed stubbornly overcast for the whole walk. This rather was frustrating as I could see blue skies out to the east. Nevertheless it was still nice to get out and visit a few places I’d not been too for a while. The limestone scars that line the northern edge of Wensleydale are always worth a visit despite often requiring some creative route planning as few of them are served by regular rights of way.