A 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales
A Dales High Way Walk: a 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales

A Dales High Way

News Archive 2018

New Friends' Newsletter

Newsletter 5 Spring 2018

The Spring 2018 edition of the Friends of A Dales High Way newsletter is now available.

The newsletter focuses on the 10th anniversary of the long-distance trail and the events that have been organised to celebrate.

In particular, a series of led walks along the entire length of A Dales High Way - Walk the Trail 2018 - is announced with an invitation to join the Friends on this sectional epic adventure.

The walks will take place from mid-May, every fortnight or so, making use of the excellent public transport links along the route, particularly the Settle-Carlisle railway.

Also included is a full roundup of the improvements to the trail that have been undertaken by rangers for the 4 responsible authorities along the route, and others. Work by the landowner to clear a notoriously boggy section above Addingham, in particular, has made a huge improvement.

This edition's Top 10 features Bridget and David's best tips for long-distance walkers - the things they wished they'd known before they set off....

There's also a selection of news highlights from over the last 12 months, and a review of Colin Speakman's biography of the father of geology Adam Sedgwick.

All this and it's FREE to download and enjoy.

Download the Friends Newsletter No. 5 as a pdf here. See details of Walk the Trail 2018 here.

14 April 2018

More trail improvements around Addingham

Trail improvements above Addingham

Rangers from Bradford Council have carried out additional improvement works along A Dales High Way above Addingham.

A new fingerpost and waymark on the path below Addingham Moorside clears up any confusion at a fork in the track, and a new kissing gate beyond replaces a stile.

The improvements are part of a series of works carried out by access officers for the four authorities along the way, following a detailed survey undertaken by the Friends of A Dales High Way which was submitted in 2016.

But it's the muddy fields above Addingham that have been the source of most of the complaints we hear, in particular the short stretch along The Street just above Addingham. Believed to be the line of the old Roman road between Ilkley and Elslack (near Skipton), the broad grassy path had become overgrown, with the narrow remaining track often churned by cattle.

A particular wet year in 2012 highlighted this. Walker John Parkinson noted "Parts of the walk were very wet underfoot (although it barely rained on us); not just bog but very unpleasant deep mud particularly around Addingham..."

After enjoying a "fantastic walk" along the trail Trevor Wain noted: "Worst moment? Perhaps the deep, glutinous, boot sucking, energy sapping mud of the path from Street Farm to the A65 at Addingham where too many cows in a confined corridor had produced a quagmire."

Early last year the landowner began clearing the overgrown vegetation, and the difference is astonishing. A broad wide green lane now leads to the crossing of the A65, and though still muddy in places, it is easy to avoid these spots. This short stretch is now a delight. Our sincere thanks go to the landowner concerned.

See our previous posting here, and the Dales High Way Grotspots here.

2 April 2018

Crummack Dale walk to kick off anniversary events

Clapper Bridge, Crummack Dale

Chris Grogan will lead a moderately easy 5 mile walk through Crummack Dale, taking in a lovely secluded section of A Dales High Way, as the first in a series of events helping to celebrate the trails' 10th official birthday!

The circular walk starts and finishes in Austwick on Saturday, March 24th. Meet at 10.30 a.m. at Austwick Village Hall - all are welcome and the walk is free.

This walk follows fields, tracks and lanes between Austwick and Wharfe, before heading for the lower slopes of Crummack Dale, passing the pretty little clapper bridge at Wash Dub to return to the start. The walk is moderately easy but may be stony or wet underfoot.

Well behaved dogs on leads are welcome. Meet at Austwick Village Hall, Main Street, Austwick LA2 8BJ (beside Village Shop/Post Office). Toilets are available. Please park with consideration on village roads.

After the walk, Chris will give her popular illustrated talk A Taste of A Dales High Way in the Village Hall, starting at 2.15 p.m. The cost is just £3 and includes a cup of tea and a biscuit.

This event has been organised by the Friends of the Dales (formally known as the Yorkshire Dales Society), a membership charity which campaigns for the protection and enjoyment of the Yorkshire Dales.

The long distance route was officially launched in 2008 with the publication of the first edition of A Dales High Way Route Guide. Its popularity as a high level trail crossing the Yorkshire Dales soon grew and it is now estimated around 1,000 walkers tackle the route each year. The trail is now way-marked and included as an official Long Distance Recreational Route on OS Explorer and Landranger maps.

More events are being planned by the Friends of A Dales High Way over the coming months.

See the Anniversary Events programme here, and the Friends of the Dales website here.

16 march 2018

Speakman on Sedgwick

Colin Speakman on Adam Sedgwick

Walkers on A Dales High Way can't fail to notice the huge granite slab that sits on the cobbled market place in the centre of Dent, with its simple engraving: Adam Sedgwick 1785 - 1873. The memorial fountain commemorates the life and work of Adam Sedgwick -  one of the founders of modern geology and Dent's most famous son.

The fascinating story of Sedgwick's life and work is told in the definitive biography Adam Sedgwick, Geologist and Dalesman by Colin Speakman - creator of the Dales Way. First published in 1982, the book has been reissued in 2018 by the Yorkshire Geological Society and Gritstone Press.

Sedgwick was the son of the Dent vicar who went on to study mathematics, classics and theology at Trinity College, Cambridge. A deeply religious man, he was ordained a deacon in 1817 and the following year was appointed Woodwardian Professor of Geology, even though as he remarked himself "I knew absolutely nothing of geology". That soon changed though, with Sedgwick carrying out important research work all over Britain, in what became known as the historic age of geology.

Sedgwick decoded the complex geology of the Lake District and became friends with Wordsworth.

In Wales he studied the oldest known rocks in Britain, formed in a period over 488 million years ago which he called the Cambrian. They contained the earliest known fossils, which no doubt influenced one of his field research students - Charles Darwin. Darwin's later work "On the Origin of the Species" would, however, appal Sedgwick's deeply religious convictions.

Adam Sedgwick, Geologist & Dalesman

But for fans of the Yorkshire Dales, it is his 19th century accounts of his beloved Dentdale that hold particular fascination. His campaigning book "A Memorial to the Trustees of Cowgill Chapel" in 1868 even led to  an intervention by Queen Victoria and an act of Parliament to change the chapel's name as registered by the church authorities.

The book is beautifully written and produced, and this timely new publication marks 200 years since Sedgwick's historic appointment as Woodwardian Professor of Geology.

"Adam Sedgwick, Geologist and Dalesman" by Colin Speakman. ISBN 978-0-9955609-4-0, published jointly by Gritstone Writers Cooperative & The Yorkshire Geological Society 2018, £12.00.

You can see Colin give an illustrated talk on Adam Sedgwick at the Ride2Stride Walking Festival 2018. Friday, May 4, 14.15. Friends Meeting House, Settle. £3.00 includes light refreshments, sponsored by the Friends of the Dales.

1 March 2018

Paths restored above Skipton

A stretch of path on A Dales High Way has been restored following work to extend the Golf Course above Skipton.

New gate onto Brackenley Lane

This shares a short section of the route with the newly waymarked Lady Anne's Way - a 100-mile long distance trail from Skipton to Penrith.

The path has been resurfaced in places, with new gates installed, and re-waymarked throughout, thanks to the work of officers at North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) Rights of Way department and Skipton Golf Course.

In addition, the Tarn Moor Estate has established some new permissive paths which may help Dales High Way walkers. Nicky Bunting, Rights of Way Officer for the Craven and Nidderdale area of the NYCC, said : " The path that may be of interest to (Dales High Way walkers), runs from Skipton Golf Club, west along an attractive enclosed track, then north through the woodland burial ground to meet Brackenley Lane. This cuts out 330m of road walking."

After crossing the first part of the golf course, A Dales High Way continues north through double stiles towards Brackenley Lane, alongside the new Golf course extension.

A new permissive enclosed track runs west from the double stiles (SD 9879 5319) to link up with a new footpath alongside Grassington Road. Before this, however, a walkers' gate on the right leads into the green burial grounds of Tarn Moor Memorial Woodlands, opened in 2002. A fine permissive path then meanders north to rejoin Brackenley Lane near to the junction with Grassington Road above the Craven Heifer.

The new paths "are intended to be long-term permissive paths" and add to the new public footpaths alongside Grassington Road that were opened just a few years ago. Dales High Way walkers now have several optional routes from Skipton to choose from.

Photo shows new gate and waymarks onto Brackenley Lane, with Sharp Haw and Rough Haw in the background.

See the Dales High Way Skipton Route Options here, and Lady Anne's Way here.

12 Feb 2018

Malham Cove hits top 3 UK walks

Ade Edmundson on top of Malham Cove

Malham Cove, on a popular section of A Dales High Way, won through to the top three of ITV's 100 Favourite UK Walks.

Julia Bradbury presented the 2½ hour prime-time T.V. show on Tuesday, which featured the top 100 UK walks as voted in a programme sponsored by ITV, the Ramblers, Ordnance Survey and Julia Bradbury's own The Outdoor Guide. Based on the results of the largest survey ever conducted into the UK’s hiking habits, the top 100 have been voted for by more than 8,000 walking enthusiasts.

Julia said “Walking is one of Britain’s best loved pastimes, with around nine million of us enjoying pulling on our hiking boots and heading for the great outdoors every month… This could be your next big adventure – you’re going to be blown away.”

The third spot route, which takes in Malham village, Janet's Foss, Gordale Scar and Malham Cove, was introduced by ITV's Dales' presenter Ade Edmundson.

Topping the 100 walks list was Helvellyn in the Lake District, followed by another mountain peak - Snowdon in Wales.

A Dales High Way includes sections of other walks in the top 100 list: at number 25 was Ingleborough and at number 81 was the Leeds-Liverpool canal from Saltaire to Skipton.

See the Top 100 Favourite Walks here.

1 Feb 2018

New edition of Companion

A dales High Way Companion 2nd edition

A brand new edition of A Dales High Way Companion has just been published and is now available.

The new edition includes updates and is now in colour throughout, with 162 full colour photos in its 116 pages.

The book is the perfect companion and illustrated guide to A Dales High Way - the popular long distance trail from Saltaire in West Yorkshire, to Appleby-in-Westmorland in Cumbria, which celebrates its official 10th anniversary this year..

The book includes a detailed description of the route, but more importantly it explores the fascinating geology, history, culture and wildlife of the places visited. It is designed to help you get the maximum enjoyment from your walk, whether it's finding rock art carved by our Stone Age ancestors, spotting an early purple orchid or visiting the best preserved medieval castle in England.

This book complements the original Route Guide and is best read alongside it.

As co-author Chris Grogan describes it; “It’s the book you read in the pub to plan for your next day’s walking.”

A Dales high Way Companion, by Tony & Chris Grogan. 2nd Edition.
ISBN: 978-1-911321-00-2 . Published by Skyware Press,  1 Jan 2018, price: £11.99.

See more details here, and buy it online direct from the publisher here.

12 Jan 2018

10 years of A Dales High Way

2018 sees the 10th anniversary of the 90-mile Dales High Way trail.

Walkers on A Dales High Way - Rombalds Moor

The long distance route was officially launched in 2008 with the publication of the first edition of A Dales High Way Route Guide. Its popularity as a high level trail crossing the Yorkshire Dales soon grew and it is now estimated around 1,000 walkers tackle the route each year.

The route was originally developed by Chris and Tony Grogan, with their own first complete walk of the finalised trail in 2007. The website went live in 2008.

There have been a number of notable milestones along the way:

  • Brigantes became the first company to offer a baggage courier service and holiday booking service for walkers on the route in May 2009;
  • November 2009 saw the establishment of the Friends of A Dales High Way, which helps promote, develop and maintain the route;
  • July 2013 saw the completion of the way marking of the entire route;
  • March 2014 saw its inclusion as an official Long Distance Recreational Route on OS Explorer and Landranger maps;
  • August 2016 saw the extension of the Yorkshire Dales National Park take in the northern section of the trail, leaving three quarters of the trail within the National Park.

A number of events are being planned to help celebrate the anniversary, including led walks and talks by co-founder Chris Grogan, in association with the Friends of the Dales and the Friends of A Dales High Way.

On Saturday 24 March Chris will lead a 5 mile walk along a section of the trail through Crummackdale - meet 10.30 am at Austwick Village Hall - before giving an illustrated talk at 2.15 p.m. (£3).

She will also give the talk as part of the Ride2Stride Walking Festival in Settle on Tuesday May 1st, 7.30 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House (£3). She will lead an 8 mile Walk with a View from Ribblehead along an iconic section of the trail on Saturday, May 5th (meet Ribblehead station 12.02 p.m.).

Other events are planned for later in the year. Watch this space for details.

See the Friends of the Dales website here, and Ride2Stride here.

1 Jan 2018.

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