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Travel North - 64: Grassington Walkabout

Updated on February 10, 2020

Grassington, a small town on the western side of Wharfedale is as good as any to start from

Grassington in Wharfedale, starting point for our family jaunt
Grassington in Wharfedale, starting point for our family jaunt | Source
The long view downhill from Linton over Grassington
The long view downhill from Linton over Grassington | Source
And the village of Linton itself, not far from your starting point
And the village of Linton itself, not far from your starting point | Source

We're in Wharfedale again for another enjoyable walk... First stop Linton

Maybe a family day out in late spring to early autumn. This time we start at Grassington on the west side of the dale, on the edge of the Craven district.

There is a fair choice of walks in the area. Let me show you one that holds some interest for young and old. There are also contrasts on this route that take you from the bustling Grassington to sleepy Thorpe, and they each show different aspects of the Dales.

If you've driven to Grassington our starting point is on the south side of the National Car Park site, from where you take a path downhill to the River Wharfe. The two-step limestone waterfall is the highest on this stretch of the river, although strictly speaking the elevation here isn't all that great. Yet when you stand on the bridge - fourth on this site in recorded history since bridges were first erected - after a downpour you could be forgiven for your feeling of foreboding.

Take a right turn after the bridge, between the houses, to a minor road that leads uphill. Cross another road and head into the first village on this walk. Linton is set around a green with the Fountain Inn - popular in summer. It is an attractive place the year round. Take a close look at the Palladian-styled almshouses that date back to 1721, a haven in times of need for the poor of the district.

Stay on the east side of the beck - the northern, not just Yorkshire term for a stream - to take a footpath between the houses and uphill to open fields. This path ascends south-eastward for just over a half-mile, passes a pair of copses (small tree plantations) and takes you to a stile that comes before the walled Thorpe Lane. Turn left along the lane for another half-mile and you're in quiet Thorpe, another attractive village decked out in the classic Yorkshire limestone. You'll see an old sign.for the erstwhile 'Shoulder of Mutton' public house.

There's a quiet road here that takes you east out of the village for a few hundred yards (200 m). Follow a footpath on your right.

Linton and Burnsall

Foiuntaíns Inn on the green at Linton
Foiuntaíns Inn on the green at Linton | Source
Burnsall in Wharfedale, Dales charm and rich in local history
Burnsall in Wharfedale, Dales charm and rich in local history | Source

The footpath winds through sheep pasture...

...with great views over Wharfedale to the moors further north and east. A beck and a farm track cross your path, as well as a number of stiles along the way.

The third village is Burnsall, a postcard type scene. Overlooking the Wharfe, the village sports an interesting church, a first-rate Grade 1 listed primary school that was once a grammar school... Oh, and a good pub. In all a dawdle along the riverbank is in order. Take a picnic maybe.

On the way back to Grassington the path follows the river, starting under the road bridge on the south bank. Take the winding path for a mile to a suspension footbridge where you cross to the north bank. Follow the river course to Grassington a couple of miles further. On your way is another picturesque village, Hebden (not to be confused with Hebden Bridge west of Halifax), a few hundred yards northward along a quiet road - most are quiet around here, at most times.

There has been a settlement here since the Bronze Age, signs of a dig still visible. However the most obvious landmark is the yellow phone box that marks the rowing gold won by local lad Andrew Tiggs Hodge in the 2012 London Olympics. The village hall here is of a more traditional style, as is the building that houses the post office. And yet that's where the 'traditional' stops. The Post Office also houses an off-licence (the UK version of the US' drug store) and a general store (see picture below)..
.

Back to the riverbank, going west along the north bank follow a sharp bend in the river that leads back into the 'metropolis' of Grassington..

Hebden, with a few surprises...

The quiet village of Hebden harbours a few surprises
The quiet village of Hebden harbours a few surprises | Source
... not least of which is this village post office-cum off-licence and general store - a lot under one 'umbrella
... not least of which is this village post office-cum off-licence and general store - a lot under one 'umbrella | Source

The walk is around 8 miles, give or take a hundred yards or so...

... and starts at Grid Reference SE 003637.in the large National Car Park.

Going is fairly easy-to-medium with good paths and farm tracks. A short climb out of Linton is the only real challenge.

Cafes and pubs crop up at almost every turn except at Thorpe, a 'dry' village. The hard part on this walk is to resist temptation and finish the walk early... But you still have to get back to Grassington.. Ah well, plod on.

Take a good Ordnance Survey map (Explorer No. 2) and if mist drops around you you'll need a good compass. Wear good water- and mud-proof boots, thick socks in the early or later season. Weatherproof clothing is also a must, not jeans or trainers. You do't want to be laid up afterwards, with a thermometer under your tongue.

Follow the Country Code, take any litter back with you or dispose of it in litter bins; close any gates, especially with livestock around.

Why not visit Jonathan Smith's Where2walk site for tips on walking, hill walking, orienteering and map reading. If anything happens to one of your party - or you - you'll need to give a map reference for the rescue teams.

where2walk.co.uk

Getting around - sketch map and more

Sketch map of your area - take an Ordnance Survey map with you, (Explorer 2)
Sketch map of your area - take an Ordnance Survey map with you, (Explorer 2) | Source
Lower Wharfedale, Grassington and Skipton district
Lower Wharfedale, Grassington and Skipton district
The North of England (central) with Grassington marked in bold type to give you an idea of the location relative to cities and large towns in the region
The North of England (central) with Grassington marked in bold type to give you an idea of the location relative to cities and large towns in the region

© 2020 Alan R Lancaster

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    • alancaster149 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alan R Lancaster 

      16 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello there, I suppose the main hurdle is getting out of the States and across the Pond.

      As for staying at or near Grassington, there are towns and villages in the area with reasonably priced rooms. If you come with a friend it's a bit cheaper as there's usually a surcharge on single rooms/occupancy. There's a Travelodge at nearby Skipton that charges per room, not per occupant. Catering is either round the corner at the Greggs bakery shop, or in the farmers' market cafe next door (been there, done that, although I drove from London), and transport is by bus/coach or train from Leeds or Manchester - both with airports - and frequent services in the area.

      They'll always make you welcome.

    • Theblogchick profile image

      Theblogchick 

      16 months ago from United States

      I'm always thinking to travel but my money is not good at the moment. This place seems interesting. I would love to visit one day. Thanks for sharing.

    • alancaster149 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alan R Lancaster 

      16 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      I live in London, Kyler. I come from near Middlesbrough, south of the River Tees (until recently a hub of industry, now a lot less). I drive to Yorkshire as often as I can, drive across to the Dales (took the family when they were younger) and take it all in. It's not that far, but you can still get lost. They've had a 'visit' from storm 'Cara' and are still reeling from last year's floods. I'll get back up there soon, later this year and see how things have developed, but it's a great part of the country nevertheless. They don't moan about setbacks like this lot down here in London, just get back on their hind legs and carry on as best they can.

      Where I lived used to be an 'estate' of miners' cottages (ironstone, the steel made from there went into one of the San Francisco bay bridges and the Sydney Harbour Bridge), the estate was known to us as 'Calyatta' , or California, built around the time of the Gold Rush around 1850, hence the name. The mines were closed by 1949. The estate is still there though.

    • Kyler J Falk profile image

      Kyler J Falk 

      16 months ago from California

      What is it like to be surrounded by so much history? Everywhere I go in America things are always updating, only a select few pieces of history are selected to remain in earnest here, but then I see places like this and I'm filled with envy.

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