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Looking up Conistone Dib
Looking up Conistone Dib

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Route No 41 - 5 March 2002
Grassington and Conistone Dib circuit - 8 miles
Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL10 Yorkshire Dales Southern area. 1:25000


The village street in Grassington This morning my neighbour, Jim, and I drove to Grassington in Wharfedale and parked near the tourist information office. It was a bright sunny morning with a strong cold wind. We set off up the village street on the route of the Dales Way. At the top of the village we followed the Dales Way route along the street to the left. The route used to go through a large dairy farm at the end of the street but it has now been diverted up a walled track to the right. We made this turn too but here we left the Wharfedale from the hill above GrassingtonDales way to stay on a footpath climbing up the limestone pastures passed a ruined farm, called Bare House on the map, until we reached and old green road running parallel to the valley at a height of about 400m. We kept on this green road for about half a mile until we met another old track that climbs the hill from the village of Conistone and continues for many miles into Nidderdale. On the map it's called Bycliffe Road. We turned left onto this track heading down hill towards Conistone. After about three quarters of a mile we came to an area of limestone pavement and just below this we turned left off the main track to find a path over a The beginning of Conistone Dibstile that then drops down a narrow limestone cleft that is in fact the entrance to Conistone Dib - a deep limestone valley that runs for a mile down to Conistone village. Parts of the valley are quite wide with steep sides covered in coarse grass whilst other parts are very narrow with sheer limestone walls only a few feet apart and clear signs of violent erosion by torrents of water in the distant past. It's a wonderful place. Part way down in a wide grassy part of the dib we stopped in the shelter of a high wall for a drink and a sandwich. There were a great many people passing by as we sat there, more than we have seen on our mid-week walks this year. Negotiating the site of an ancient whirlpool in Conistone DibWhen we reached the village we turned left again back towards Grassington and after about a hundred yards we took the path on our left climbing back up the hillside for about a mile to cross the head of the gorge formed by Dib Beck (where it's quite shallow and easy). We stayed on the same path between the areas of limestone pavement to re-join the Dales Way and continue towards Grassington. Just before the edge of Grassington village where the path used to go through a farm yard, we followed the diversion onto the track above the farm and retraced our first few hundred yards back to the car park by the information office. The whole route is about 8 miles and took us around 4 hours including our stops and a final coffee stop in Grassington village. It's a facinating route with spectacular limestone scenery all the way round.

One of the wider grassier parts of Conistone Dib
One of the wider grassier parts of Conistone Dib

Limestone pavement above Dib Beck
Limestone pavement above Dib Beck

Kilnsey Crag from the hillside above Conistone
Kilnsey Crag from the hillside above Conistone