Nidderdale Way: Time; One day per stage Distance; Stage one - 14.5 miles Stage two - 10.5 miles
To celebrate the new walking guide for the Nidderdale Way, we’ve teamed up with Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership to bring you the first two sections of the 53-mile circular walk. Part two next week.
Stage one: Pateley Bridge to Middlesmoor
1 Setting off from Pateley Bridge, start at the town end of the bridge. Go down Mill Lane. At the end, an alleyway runs along the backs of houses onto a riverside path. At a footbridge, stay on the same bank and keep on through a footgate. The path stays close to the river for a couple of fields, then falls into step with the former trackbed of the Nidd Valley Light Railway.
2 As the houses of Wath come into sight, look for a yellow footpath arrow on a gatepost and a faint footpath branching off to the left. Pass through a stile in a wall and carry on across the next field to a footbridge onto the lane. Cross over and pick up the footpath again as it carries on along the river. Bear right to a stile and on through a marshy field before heading uphill through trees to Gouthwaite Dam.
3 From the gate at the end of the dam, head right to a stile. The path climbs steeply away from the reservoir and joins a green lane. Turn left. At a fork, take the lower path. Stay on this track as it slopes down to the shoreline. Stay on the same track all the way along the reservoir until you reach Bouthwaite.
4 Turn right and immediately left on a stony track that goes past cottages and into the farmyard at Bouthwaite Grange. Cross the beck and bear right up a bumpy lane beside a mossy wall. Keep to the wallside and follow the contour. At Longside Farm go up a steep hill to a gate, then drop down again to continue on a grassy path. After a gate take the right fork to Longside House.
5 The path goes along the edge of the trees, but soon branches off downhill across fields. At the bottom follow the trackbed of the railway again, cross the road, and keep going in the same direction as before. After a couple of fields, cross the corner of another and go diagonally over to a wall corner by a disused quarry. Just beyond, emerge through a stile onto the road and go left.
6 Look out for Nidd Heads, where the River Nidd bursts forth from underground, having disappeared into a swallowhole two miles upstream. Near it a footpath leaves the road for Lofthouse. Cross the fields and go over a stile by a beck into the next field. Flank the wallside to arrive in Lofthouse next to the village institute.
7 Head right uphill, past the war memorial. The road climbs steeply to a hairpin bend, where the Nidderdale Way strikes out to the left. Stay on this track for about a mile, disregarding a right fork through a gate. Pass to the rear of Thrope Farm. Drop down to the Nidd, which usually has no water in it at this point, and cross it at a place marked on the map as Dry Wath. Follow the absent river upstream to Limley Farm.
8 Thread your way between the farm buildings and round to the right to meet the still-dry Nidd. The path crosses it and starts up a bracken-clad hill. At the top, skirt round Thwaite House to the left to meet the driveway. Take a path alongside it through a narrow strip of trees. Emerge onto a metalled road.
9 Follow this road past farms and cottages for about a mile. At New Houses Farm, keep left. Cross a gill with a small waterfall. Just afterwards, keep to the upper path at a fork. You’ll quickly join another path. Go right, past a small conifer plantation, to another fork in the path. Here, go right uphill.
10 Upon finding yourself confronted with a drystone wall and no means of crossing it, track right with the wall until you reach a gate. On the other side, choose the lefthand path with white-painted marker posts. It joins a gamekeeper’s track to Scar House Dam.
11 Go over the dam and at the other end turn right on a water company road. A track cuts away from the road and up the fellside. It leads up onto In Moor Lane, an old droving route that leads you after about two miles directly into Middlesmoor.
Stage two: Middlesmoor to Bewerley
1 Start down Middlesmoor’s main street. As the road swings left, the Nidderdale Way leaves on the right opposite a barn. After three fields, go through a gate to a footbridge over How Stean Gorge.
2 Go past a holiday chalet to emerge on the road just outside Stean. Turn left to Studfold Farm. Follow the main drive between the farm buildings and climb a cobbled road up Studfold Bank. Branch left on a bridlewayand carry on to Ramsgill.
3 At the farm buildings after Blayshaw Gill go straight ahead across the pasture. Keep going over a series of fields. At West House Farm, stay to the left of the farmhouse and dip down the field. The path takes a wandering but clear course over more fields before merging with a farm access track. Press on to Ramsgill, emerging onto the village green.
4 If you’re using the alternative route to avoid the long roadwalking section, follow the instructions in the box below. Otherwise, take the road south out of Ramsgill past the Yorke Arms and the church. The reservoir will appear at your side. Follow it for two miles. As you draw near the dam and the road curves to the left, look out for a turning on your right with a cattle grid.
5 A steep climb up the lane takes you between two houses and into a conifer plantation. After the trees, follow the road until it levels out. A little further on, arrive in Heathfield. Take the bridleway on the right to Foster Beck.
6 Leave the track at the top and go straight on past a bench, through the lefthand gate into fields. As you near a farm, take a slanting line over to the righthand side of the buildings. Go through a gate between the farmhouse and a couple of stone barns. Continue downhill to reach a tarmac drive through a caravan park. Stay this side of the beck and turn right.
7 Keep left at a fork. After the last of the caravans the tarmac gives way to an unsurfaced track and continues along the hillside above Ashfold Beck. Having crossed a small gill, watch out for a Nidderdale Way sign on your left, pointing the way down to a footbridge. On the other side are the spoil heaps of the former Providence Mine.
8 Bear left past a protruding gear shaft and find a narrow track uphill through the heather. It meets a wider path at the top. Go right. Cross a shingly slope and bear left around the sides of the spoil heaps, making towards the far wall. Turn left past a last ruin. As you approach a footpath sign, swing right on a track. Continue roughly parallel with a wall visible to your right.
9 The track you’re now on will see you most of the way to Bewerley. Ignore a left fork in about 100m. Drop down past a house and cross a small valley. At a junction follow the track to the left.
10 After passing occasional farms and cottages, you’ll eventually begin a long descent through woodland past Eagle Hall. Shortly afterwards, reach the main Pateley Bridge–Greenhow road. Cross over and go straight on into Bewerley.