Uplift the spirit with our precious countryside
One of my favourite views is looking down Deepdale from the col between Great Coum and Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. From dun coloured fells the emerald green pastures, the varied arrangement of trees, the scattered farmhouses and field barns combine to delight the eye and uplift the spirit. It is picture book English countryside and as such touches a deep yearning many of us possess existing in our intensely urban environments. To live in a cottage in the countryside is the English Dream. Of course living close to nature is an illusion – the countryside is as severely managed as factories are – but this does not diminish the power of the dream. How precious the English countryside is to many of us. The walk described below will immerse you in a beautiful landscape which will be first admired from the high fells.
Start: Dent village car park LA10 5QL
Distance: 9 miles 15k
Time: 4 - 5 hours
Map: OS OL2 The Yorkshire Dales Western and southern areas
From the car park cross to the road opposite its entrance and keep on it through the village until it brings you to the end of a cul-de-sac and the start of the bridleway leading up besides Flinter Gill. The lower section of the gill is heavily wooded so much so that any attractive feature the gill may possess – waterfalls and the like are obscured by foliage most of the year. The ancient lime kiln is not and will be seen to the left of the main track early in the ascent. Just before this feature a show barn can be visited to the right. This has a number of exhibits connected with Dales life in pastimes. As the bridleway breaks clear of the trees look for a view finder on top of the rise to the right of the track. Back on route the way becomes less steep and in ¼ mile meets Green Lane an old droving road. Turn right. After ¼ mile go through a gate in a fence that straddles the track and then turn left into another enclosed track passing through a metal gate. Follow this as it gently climbs towards Crag Hill the great bulk before you. After ½ the track arrives onto the open fell. Although not as obvious there is a path which will take you to the top of the ridge – something more easily stated than done. A wall to the right offers a handrail – useful in misty conditions. As you near the ridge the path becomes a) steeper and b) less easy to pick out. Luckily the grass underfoot is short so that progress is not impaired. Where the wall to the right meets the ridge wall cross a stone stile and turn right. Turn right again through a small wooden gate and with the ridge wall on your left follow a grassy path to the trig point of Crag Hill (682m -2210ft ) some 250 yards further on.
You have heard this before but this is a stupendous viewpoint with the Kent Estuary to the west where it empties into Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells to the north west, the Howgills to the north, Whernside to the east, the distinctive shape of Ingleborough to the south east with Pendle peering behind and wondrous Lancashire to the south. For the next part of the route you are treated to an exhilarating ridge walk. Return to the gate and once over it turn left. With the wall to your left keep on the path as it leads you to Great Coum (687m – 2237ft) and then turns southwards above the great bowl formed by Ease Gill. After commencing a gentle descent go through a small gate in the wall and continue in the same direction. 700yds beyond Great Coum look a great boulder embedded at the junction of the ridge wall and one coming up from the valley. Before 1974 County Stone marked the boundary between three counties – Westmorland, Yorkshire and Lancashire. Now it indicates the northerly most point of wondrous Lancashire on its border with Cumbria.
Continue a short way along the ridge and then commence a descent left with no clear path aiming for the far corner of the enclosure where it meets Green Lane the bridleway you encountered earlier. A stile will put you on the track – turn left. Green Lane contours below Great Coum and above Deepdale to the right opening up views that cannot fail to delight. 1½ miles from where you joined it Green Lane bends left. Here turn onto Nun’s House Outrake a wide track leading steeply downhill towards Deepdale. Keep on it until you reach Deepdale Lane. Turn left. After 300 yds. turn right on a footpath leading across a pasture to a gate. Keep ahead to arrive at tree-lined Deepdale Beck. Locate a path taking you down to the stream and turn left to reach a lane just to the left of Mill Bridge.
Now on the Dales Way (and several other long distance paths) turn left and then right onto a footpath and follow this for 1¼ miles to Church Bridge on the edge of Dent.
Walk devised and described by Bob Clare www.lancashirewalks.com