Moderate

Buckden to Yockenthwaite

8.3miles | 13.3 km | 262 m Ascent | 9.6 Naismith miles | Sandra Craggs
In February 2024, Bentham Footpath Group visited Kettlewell and walked up to Starbotton – where we crossed the river Wharfe. It occurred to us at the time that just a few miles further upstream was Buckden, another great starting point for walks in the Upper Wharfe valley. So, this time we drive just a little further and base ourselves at the convenient Yorkshire Dales National Park car park in the village and head out on the Pennine Journey path through Rakes Wood, along Buckden Rake, and on to Cray High Bridge where we enjoy the waterfalls. From there we head to the opposite side of the valley and walk down to Cray where we pick up a path that contours around the steep sides of Langstrothdale Chase above Hubberholme before falling to Yockenthwaite.
We then head back down the riverside path, now on the Dales Way, and soon arrive at Hubberholme and its beautiful church before finishing with a gentle stroll back to Buckden. As well as waterfalls, this walk offers great views, limestone pavements, ancient woodlands, and locations that you may well recognise from the TV series “All Creatures Great and Small”. Why do we start with a picture of a mouse? . . . read on.

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Stocks Reservoir circular

7.8 miles | 12.6 km | 190m Ascent | 8.7 Naismith miles | Valerie Eccles and Mary Pickstone
Bentham Footpath Group members are lucky enough to have the Yorkshire Dales and the South Lakes within easy reach. But our good fortune is not limited to that – we are also on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, which of course includes Gisburn Forest and Stocks Reservoir – which we explore today.
This walk starts from a car park next to the remains of a church that was relocated to enable the reservoir to be built, and then loops anticlockwise around the water – meaning that there is not much climbing.
We have been here before (September 2022) and at that time the water levels were deliberately very low – as part of engineering works to increase capacity in the long term. This time we get to see the levels replenished and the works complete – the contrast is striking. On the way round, we see signs of the buildings that were abandoned to enable construction, traces of the railway that enabled materials to be imported, and foundations for the village that temporarily housed the army of builders, as well as a more recent and very poignant woodland memorial site.

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Winster Valley

8.3 miles | 13.3 km | 391 m Ascent | 10.2 Naismith miles | Kate Rowe
Spring is such an optimistic time of the year, and getting out and about on a walk with friends is a great way to experience it. So the Bentham Footpath Group have developed an informal habit of taking a walk each year that celebrates the season by picking a route that features the best of the new daffodils or bluebells.
So, here is a “daffodil walk”, and as all Wordsworth fans will appreciate, it really has to be in the Lake District to be authentic – which means of course that as well as the spring flowers we get great views of the fells, tranquil tarns and on this walk, links to Arthur Ransome.
Although our focus was the daffodils, this is a great walk at any time of the year. We rate it as “moderate” based on distance and elevation change but you should be aware that it can feel challenging under wetter conditions.

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Flookburgh, Cark and the coast

8.3 miles | 13.4 km | 138 m Ascent | 9.0 Naismith miles | David & Sheila Longton
A number of Bentham Footpath Group walks feature views of Morecambe Bay – usually with the Kent or Levens estuaries as the backdrop to higher level walks such as those at Cartmel or Silverdale. This time we do the full seaside experience: Starting at Flookburgh, we walk along the coast getting sand on our boots for a while, before heading inland to Cark, on to Low Bank Side, then across the valley to Templand before returning on a route running through trees below Boarbank Hall. On the way we pass old airbases from both world wars, atmospheric salt marshes, bridleways across the bay, signs of the old shrimping industries, grand Italianate houses, and the odd lime kiln.

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Far Moor Bridge and Ribblesdale

7.8 miles | 12.6km | 297 m Ascent | 9.3 Naismith miles | Sandra Craggs
Horton in Ribblesdale is a great place to start a walk, and the “three peaks” are the big draw with Pen-y-Ghent an obvious choice, as is the Sulber Nick route over to Ingleborough.
Both are good walks, but there is much else to see in this area, as we show with a route including a tarn, the stunning Far Moor Bridge, disappearing rivers, atmospheric lime kilns, a National Nature Reserve, extensive limestone pavement, and vast quarries, all of which is accessible via the Settle to Carlisle railway. What more could you want? A blue lagoon? – well there was one until recently, and we can offer pictorial evidence.

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Sunbiggin Tarn and Great Asby Scar

7.9 miles | 12.7 km | 233 m Ascent | 9.0 Naismith miles | Valerie Eccles & Mary Pickstone
Limestone pavement is one of the defining features of the Yorkshire Dales, and when asked to think of an example, most people mention Malham: that pavement and the Cove are indeed spectacular, and Bentham Footpath Group have enjoyed a number of good walks there.
This walk however visits the much larger (15 square miles) and rather more secluded Great Asby Scar National Nature reserve. Malham famously has a tarn, so we throw one of those in and start at Sunbiggin tarn before taking a gentle climb to the scar using the Dales Highway path. We then head west along the top of the scar and visit Castle Folds, the remains of a Romano-British walled settlement. From there we pick up the path coming up from Asby Winderwath Common and circle round the scar to head down to the Gamelands stone circle, before taking the Coast to Coast path back to the tarn.

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Bents moorland

7.7 miles | 12.3 km | 279 m Ascent | 9.0 Naismith miles |Ed Badley
A quick glance at the pictures associated with this walk will show you that we undertook this route on a beautifully crisp icy day – but the date was not as originally intended: our plan had been to walk at Ribblesdale, but the risk of black ice on the journey over prompted this last minute swap.
The walk showcases the best of the local area – with views of the Three Peaks dusted in snow, horses running on the moorland, an exciting clamber down to the delightfully named Burbles Gill using steps installed by BFG many years ago, a view of the Big Stone, and then a walk across the moorland at Bents where we have great views of the Lakeland Fells. We then go to Low Bentham and head up the riverside path back to High Bentham. We love it when a plan comes together.

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Kingsdale via the Turbary Road

8.0 miles | 12.8 km | 337 m Ascent | 9.6 Naismith miles | Mary & Kate Taylor
Walks for the Bentham Footpath Group are planned in four month programmes – which means that the date of this walk was fixed in September 2023. It could easily have been the case then that we encountered miserable rain with poor visibility whilst sliding around in ankle deep mud.
But we were lucky – we could not have had a better day for the start of 2024 – bright sunshine and clear air on the tops and atmospheric inversion clouds in the valley bottoms were even more beautiful than the pictures convey. Add potholes, caves, natural fountains, ancient monuments, and informed guides, to make for a perfect start to the new year.

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Barbon Beck and Brownthwaite

8.2 miles | 13.3 km | 385 m Ascent | 10.2 Naismith miles | Rick Clapham
Barbon is great place to start and end a walk. Not only is there convenient parking – either at the layby at Hodge Bridge, or at the Village Hall – but there is a great deli and a highly rated pub, the remains of a Roman Road, the course of a disused railway, grand houses, ancient stone circles, and a motor sport venue.
This moderately challenging walk offers all that, plus artworks by Andy Goldsworthy, great views down the Lune Valley, an invigorating climb up Brownthwaite, a very attractive waterfall, and then an easy finish along the banks of Barbon Beck in the grounds of Barbon Manor.

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Gummer’s How and Cartmel Fell

8.9 miles | 14.3km | 467 m Ascent | 11.2 Naismith miles | Susan Badley
The Bentham Footpath Group typically undertakes about 50 walks each year. Given where we live, many of these will be in the rain or have poor visibility. Sometimes though we are spectacularly lucky with the weather and get to enjoy simply stunning views, and this walk was just such an occasion.
If you follow this route, you may or may not be so lucky, but whatever the weather, this will always be a great walk: We start from a free and convenient parking spot, climb up to one of the best views of Windermere, sharing the How with Luing cattle. We then head over to Sow How Tarn, clip the edge of Middle Tarn, and then go via Heights Cottage onto Ravens Barrow, and a curious monument. From there we visit a lovely ancient church and old schoolhouse, and through fungi-rich woodland to Thorphinsty Hall, through Crag Wood and up to an atmospheric derelict farmhouse en-route to Simpson Ground. We round the day off with a tranquil reservoir, and more woodland with lovely gnarled old trees. A perfect day.

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