The second of 'walks from the doorstep' in our collection, here is a 5 mile circular walking/running route from the doorstep of Newton Grange Cottages to the village of Gargrave in North Yorkshire.
The route was followed in October, on a day of rapidly changing weather and a good dose of mud (check out the changing appearance of my trainers from start to finish!).
It was a joy to take in the perfectly rural scenes along the Leeds Liverpool Canal between Bank Newton and Gargrave, to get to know Gargrave and its amenities, and to take in the long range views on the climb out of the village along the Pennine Way footpath.
The route can also be started/finished in Gargrave where there are public car parks on Water Street and North Street. We always recommend taking a copy of the local Ordnance Survey map "OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western area" for this area with you. Copies are provided in each holiday cottage for guests to use.
First step - trainers on, and off I went down the lane heading out of the farm back towards Bank Newton.
The lane out of the farm soon reaches the canal bridge (Helpfully numbered No. 165).
Walk across the bridge, taking care of any oncoming traffic. Pause to take in the view over the canal and towpath below.
Once across the bridge, take the path on the left which joins the canal towpath under the canal bridge.
This little green sign points you in the correct direction.
Views of canal boats open up as you walk underneath the bridge and continue along the towpath.
Along the way you will soon see Bank Newton Locks.
The towpath here is delightful and there is much to look out for - count the number of locks you see along the way.
Below are a few photographs of the locks and bridges as they appear.
I am always amazed at the careful juxtaposition of the canal bridge and locks at this point along the canal.
A couple of benches are situated alongside a wider section of the towpath, about half way along the series of locks in Bank Newton.
Looking back to the canal bridges the views open up to the surrounding rolling, green countryside of Bank Newton.
Keep walking along the towpath in the direction of Gargrave. You leave the towpath at a gate, which joins the road. Follow the road, with the canal on your right hand side, until the next canal bridge.
Walk across Priestholme Canal Bridge, then leave the road here as you re-join the canal towpath again - this time on the opposite side of the canal.
Take the gate on the right hand side and walk downhill to join the canal towpath which runs underneath the bridge. The canal is now on your left hand side.
There are several steps as you descend to the towpath.
There are some lovely views over the River Aire which crosses underneath the canal.
The railway bridge also crosses over the canal. This is a working railway line. To the right trains travel to Gargrave, Skipton and along the Aire Valley to Leeds. To the left trains continue on to Settle and either further north to Carlisle across the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, or towards the coastal town of Morecambe or city of Lancaster. Trains can be joined locally at Gargrave, or in Skipton.
There are another set of canal locks in Gargrave.
The canal bridge and locks sit happily alongside each other.
There are open fields to the side of the canal, with fields grazed by cattle.
On the day I ran this route there were repair works taking place alongside the canal, so it wasn't possible to continue along the towpath in to the middle of Gargrave village, which it usually is. So instead I took the route to the right hand side of the towpath, which joins the main A65 road.
Looking back at this point you can see the first of Gargrave's pubs - the Anchor Cookhouse and Pub.
As you meet the A65 road, turn right towards Gargrave and follow the pavement on the right hand side of the road in to the village.
The green next to the river on the right hand side is an attractive place. There are seats around the base of one of the trees here.
The war memorial and flagpole sits next to Water Street car park.
Looking across from here you can see Bollywood Cottage, a fantastic local Indian restaurant.
Continuing along the main street, you can look across to the Dalesman Cafe - a great spot for a hot drink or bite to eat, or perhaps an ice cream or packet of sweets.
Gargrave High Street has a Co-op, Florist, Pharmacy, Dress Shop, Antique Shops the Frying Yorkshireman Fish and Chip Shop and a Post Office.
Further along is the Old Swan Inn, serving delicious home cooked food and real ales - highly recommended.
The Old Swan Inn in its white and black/grey colours is a prominent building adjacent to the A65 main road through the village.
Having passed the Old Swan Inn, on the right hand side of the road, turn right in to East Street and follow this down to join the green at South Street.
Walk straight on to see the River Aire and perhaps sit awhile and take in the views on the bench overlooking the river.
It had been a particularly wet autumn and the river was in full flow, covering the stepping stones that are hidden beneath the water here. At other times of the year, the stepping stones are great fun to cross, and our children love to play and paddle in the river . Fishing nets are available for sale at Poppyfields Florist on Gargrave High Street.
You can just make out the line of the stepping stones underneath the water.
Retracing your steps, back to the green along South Street and you will see the large Beech tree.
The tree really stood out to me with a carpet of rusty coloured leaves on the floor, together with beech nuts.
As the sun shone it was perfect weather for making shadows.
I gathered fallen leaves and beech nuts in my pocket to check out descriptions about Beech trees in my Tree Book at home.
The book told me that the 'Common Beech' is 'a deciduous tree, which may be up to 40 m tall'. Fruits in September and October are described as 'paired, triangular, brown nutlets, each 1-2cm long inside a bristly, brown 4-lobed husk'.
So, this fits the description perfectly!
Having paused to look at the Beech Tree, continue along South Street (with the river on your left hand side).
You will soon see the main street appearing with the Dalesman cafe on the opposite side of the road. There are public toilets on the left hand side of the footpath here, and a red telephone box. There is also a bus stop (on the Skipton to Kirkby Lonsdale route).
The village also has an information board about Roman Gargrave and Kirk Sink.
Having passed the toilets and telephone box, take the road on the left signposted to Broughton and the Station, which crosses over the bridge.
After you have crossed the bridge you will see a green sign on the left 'public footpath to river and green'. If you had chosen to cross the stepping stones in Gargrave to the green, you could walk with the river on your right hand side to join the road at this point, as an alternative.
Continue along the road until you reach the Mason's Arms pub on your right. The pub serves good food and drink and some of our guests recently commented how delicious their meals at the Masons Arms had been and how they loved the ale there.
Continue straight on, passing the church on your left. Cross over to the opposite side of the road here.
Look out for the wooden signpost, which is on the right hand side of the road just before leaving the village. Turn right to follow the Pennine way footpath to Trenet Bridge.
Climb over the stile in the wall.
The path follows the side of the wall initially, then opens out in to the fields.
At this points, my trainers started to experience their first taste of mud!
Continue straight ahead, the route is well walked and you can follow the line of the path through pasture. There are gates along the way.
After you have walked through the fields and gained some height, there is a gate in the field boundary which you walk through to join a lane.
Before crossing through the gate, look back down towards Gargrave village and church. You can see the hill 'Sharp Haw' in the background.
Yes, it was very muddy!
Having crossed through the gate, turn left and follow the track over the railway bridge.
The Pennine Way follows this lane. Continue straight on.
Please note, that if walking this route in lambing time in the spring then dogs should be kept on leads.
The track continues and you will see a bench on the left, and ahead of you a wooden stile to the right hand side of a field gate and left of the hedge. Cross over the stile.
Looking back to Gargrave it was chance to take in views - or rather to rapidly increase my pace as the dark clouds were looming fast!
This section goes uphill over fields grazed by cattle and sheep.
There is a signpost at the top of the hill. Despite being mid-morning, it was feeling ominously dark!
Continue on the Pennine Way footpath, following field boundaries and crossing stiles ahead of you.
In autumn, there was plenty of mud and water along the route. I don't necessarily recommend doing the route in trainers at this time of year - walking boots or wellingtons would be more weatherproof, although it was rather fun!
There is a wooden stile ahead of you, to be crossed, before you join a very large open field.
The path was quite sodden and waterlogged here, so do pick your way carefully as you descend towards the bottom of the hill ahead of you.
Mud, glorious mud!
Crossing through a kissing gate in to green fields ahead of you, the route follows pasture to another gate.
On the way I noticed a little Hawthorn tree I hadn't observed before. Covered in bright red berries, the tree really stood out - standing by itself in the field, not alongside the tree belts behind it. Of course my tree book said that Hawthorn trees fruit in September/October with 'shiny red, rounded berries approximately 1cm across' - so that must be why the tree was so eye-catching today!
Continue along the Pennine Way footpath, crossing wooden stiles.
You will then reach a little bridge, which you cross over.
After crossing the bridge, look up for the wooden post in the field which is painted yellow at the top. Follow the footpath to this point.
Then descend to the field boundary and little gate on to the lane ahead of you.
Turn right on to the lane, and follow this lane straight on for approximately half a mile back to the cottages.
There are trees either side of the lane before extensive views over the green landscapes of Craven appear.
Red berries on Hawthorn bushes along the route really stood out.
The track then descends back towards the cottages to complete the route.
This is a multi-terrain route with lots to observe along the way. I loved getting muddy and immersing myself in the autumn landscapes. It's always enjoyable to return with the warm glow of exercise and to retreat indoors for refreshment, having paused first to make full use of the washing/drying facilities in our Wash House.
I hope that you enjoy this 5 mile circular route to help you explore Bank Newton and Gargrave. Please do remember to take a copy of the Ordnance Survey Map OL2 with you, and dress in appropriate footwear and clothing for the season.
See what you discover along the way, and if walking with youngsters, perhaps take a pencil and paper with you and make up some counting games. What can you see and count? How many canal bridges, canal locks, benches, species of tree....? I'd be intrigued to hear your answers.