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Track above Arkle beck heading for Storthwaite Hall
Track above Arkle Beck heading for Storthwaite Hall

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Route No. 189 - Wednesday 16 August 2006
Langthwaite, Fremmington Edge,
Reeth, Arkengarthdale - 13km
Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales Northern & Western areas

Route Map on 'Landranger' base from OS Open Space service


A hen with a dead mouse it had found
A hen with a dead mouse it had found

We parked in the little car park between the road and Arkle beck at map ref. NZ 005023. One of the hens scratting their way round the car park had found a dead mouse and ran well away from the rest of the flock before proceeding to eat it.

My neighbour is back from his holiday in Austria so today we are able to do a our first normal walk together since my health problems disrupted things early in May. We drove to Langthwaite, a tiny village in Arkengarthdale about 4km from Reeth.

Langthwaite in Arkengarthdale
Langthwaite in Arkengarthdale

Looking back to the bridge as we left Langthwaite along the Arkle Beck
Looking back to the bridge as we left Langthwaite along the Arkle Beck

We followed the track for about 1.3km to Storthwaite Hall, map ref. NZ 018021. Here we turned left onto a walled track down the side of the buildings. The track climbed steeply up the hillside to emerge from the fields into an area of old lead workings.

We left the car park at about 10.15am to walk along the road for about 150m where we turned right to cross the bridge over Arkle beck and then turn right again to follow the track along the side of Arkle Beck.

Track next to Arkle Beck about 1km from Langthwaite
Track next to Arkle Beck about 1km from Langthwaite

Start of the walled track at Storthwaite Hall
Start of the walled track at Storthwaite Hall

We climbed up the steep shaley hillside to the cairn that marks the end of the long ridge of Fremmington Edge.

Looking across Slei Gill to the village of Booze
Looking across Slei Gill to the village of Booze

Looking up to the cairn on the end of the ridge at map ref. NZ 024024
Looking up to the cairn on the end of the ridge at map ref. NZ 024024

At the cairn we stopped for a rest and to admire the view. We then continued along the edge for almost 3km to map ref. NZ 044007 where we turned off the edge to follow a track heading towards Fremmington village.

Admiring the view from the cairn
Admiring the view from the cairn


Admiring the view from the cairn - looking up Arkengarthdale

Looking down Arkengarthdale towards Reeth
Looking down Arkengarthdale towards Reeth

The heather now in full bloom
The heather now in full bloom

After about 400m we took a footpath off to the right just above a white farm house and followed it down to the fields beside Arkle beck at map ref. SE 039999.

We began the descent from Fremmington Edge on the track heading towards Fremmington village. p

The heather now in full bloom
The heather now in full bloom

Looking down to Reeth from Fremmington Edge
Looking down to Reeth from Fremmington Edge
The track coming down from Fremmington Edge
The track coming down from Fremmington Edge
Looking down to Reeth from the track coming down from Fremmington Edge
Looking down to Reeth from the track coming down from Fremmington Edge

We followed the path through the fields to the road and crossed the road bridge over Arkle Beck to walk into Reeth.

Road bridge over Arkle beck at the edge of Reeth
Road bridge over Arkle beck at the edge of Reeth

Footbridge over Arkle Beck below Arkle Town
Footbridge over Arkle Beck below Arkle Town
Looking across Arkle beck to Castle Farm House
Looking across Arkle beck to Castle Farm House
We stopped in Reeth for some lunch - well it was an all day breakfast actually and very nice too. After lunch we followed the road out of the square in Reeth, up Arkengarthdale. We had planned to take the footpath up the valley from map ref. SE 035999, but we were too busy chatting and looking at the scenery and it was only as we approached the bend in the road at map ref. NZ 031001 that we realised we were well past our turning. We decided to continue on the road to map ref. NZ 027005 where we turned right off the road onto a track which led us down to join the path we had intended to take. We followed this path for about 2km to a footbridge over Arkle Beck just below Arkle Town. We crossed the footbridge and retraced our steps back to Langthwaite and the car park. The whole route had been about 13km and had taken us four and a half hours including our lunch stop in Reeth.
Arkle Beck from the bridge in Langthwaite
Arkle Beck from the bridge in Langthwaite

Background Notes:
This is a walk in Arkengarthdale from the village of Langthwaite by Arkle Beck. Arkengarthdale is a side valley running northwards off Swaledale from Reeth. The walk is 13km, 8 miles, with a climb of about 230m, around 750 feet onto Fremington Edge. Driving up Arkengarthdale from Reeth there's a little car park on the right as you approach Langthwaite and that's where we start our walk. We cross the bridge over Arkle Beck into Langthwaite village. It's the bridge that was used in the opening sequence for the TV series "All Ceatures Great & Small". There's also an interesting pub in the village for refreshments after the walk. We follow a very pretty path beside Arkle Beck down stream to Storthwaite Hall. Here we start the climb up on to Fremington Edge. On the way up there is a good view looking west across the valley of Slei Gill to the village called Booze. This was once a prosperous lead mining village in the 1700's and into the 1800's but now it's a quiet farming village. We continue up the steep hillside that still shows spoil heap evidence of its lead mining past. At the top of the long climb there is a large cairn with a magnificent view both up and down Arkengarthdale. It's the sort of place where I just want to sit and take in all the scenery and daydream for a while. When you can tear yourself away the walk continues along Fremington Edge for about 3km. There is quite a sheer drop off the edge to the right into Arkengarthdale with very pleasant views along the valley. Away to the left is open moorland. It's very stark in comparison to the valley and the moor top still shows the scars of the lead mining industry where the remains of spoil heaps are full of materials that prevent plant growth and are still bare of vegetation150 years after the mining ended. This stark, bare landscape extends across the moor to Hurst about 1.5km to the east where there are two brick, industrial chimneys standing from the lead mining era. The path along Fremington Edge meets a track coming up from the village of Fremington towards Hurst and it's here that our walk turns down from the edge and drops down a steep rocky path to the bottom of the valley to walk alongside Arkle Beck. This path brings us to the road and the road bridge over Arkle Beck on the edge of Reeth where there are lots of cafes and pubs around the large village green. The walk continues through Reeth and follows the road up Arkengarthdale for a few hundred metres before taking a path across the fields to follow the valley upstream to a footbridge over Arkle Beck just below Arkle Town and return to Langthwaite and the end of our walk. Before taking your boots off there are a couple of buildings in Langthwaite with stories attached to them that you may like to see. About a mile upstream from the centre of the village is an octagonal building in a field. This was a gunpowder store built in 1807, for the many lead mines in the area, but not used for long because of the verciferous objections of local people that forced the mine owners to build another powder store high on the moor well out of harms way. Finally the church in Langthwaite, St Mary's, was one of a series of churches built with government money starting in 1817. The government was worried by the rise of free thinking amongst common people partly as a result of ideas still filtering across to Britain after the French Revolution. They hoped to stem the tide of this subversive creeping egalitarianism and atheism by building more churches!
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