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Barden Bridge
Barden Bridge

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Route No. 205 - Tuesday 16 January 2007
Barden Bridge to Cavendish Pavillion
& return via the Strid - 10km
River Wharfe, Wharfedale
Yorkshire Dales . . .

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas
Route Map on 'Landranger' base from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth


River Wharfe from the woodland path on the eastern bank

This morning I met an old work colleague at Barden Bridge on the River Wharfe (map ref. SE 052574). We took the footpath on the western side of the river heading towards Bolton Abbey.

After about 1.5km the path climbs up into the woods and gives a fine view down through the trees on to the Strid. This is a cleft in the rocks over 10m deep and about 2.5m wide at its narrowest, through which the entire River Wharfe passes. Needless to say, people have regularly lost their lives here over the years. The turbulence is such that once in the water there is no escape.

Left: River Wharfe from the woodland path on the eastern bank

River Wharfe from the woodland path on the eastern bank
River Wharfe from the woodland path on the eastern bank
River Wharfe from the woodland path on the eastern bank
River Wharfe from the woodland path on the eastern bank
Looking down on the Strid from the woodland path on the eastern bank
Looking down on the Strid from the woodland path on the eastern bank of the River Wharfe
River Wharfe near the Cavendish Pavillion Cafe
River Wharfe near the Cavendish Pavillion Cafe
Bridge over the Wharfe at the Cavendish Pavillion Cafe

About 2km downstream of the Strid we came to a bridge over the river to the Cavendish Pavillion Cafe. We called in the cafe for a coffee and then set off back up stream on the eastern side of the river. It's a very pleasant path through the woodland and we had another good view of the Strid from this side of the river.

Left: Bridge over the Wharfe at the Cavendish Pavillion Cafe

Hazel catkins in full bloom in January
Hazel catkins in full bloom in January

Ducks sheltering in an eddy from the strong currents
Ducks sheltering in an eddy from the strong currents

The Strid from the west bank on our way back
The Strid from the west bank on our way back
River Wharfe looking toward Barden Tower
River Wharfe looking toward Barden Tower

Aqueduct over the River Wharfe
Aqueduct over the River Wharfe
(There's a footpath over it too)

About 500m upstream of the Strid is a stone aqueduct bridge carrying a large watermain over the river. Just above the aqueduct we saw a dipper on a rock close to our side of the river. It's black with a prominent white breast and just a fraction smaller than a blackbird.

The rock where we first saw the dipper
The rock where we first saw the dipper
We stopped and watched for a while because the river was well above its summer levels and running quite fast. After a few moments it hopped under the water as dippers do to hunt for lavae under the stones on the river bed. After about 30 seconds it bobbed up again about 20m downstream a few metres out from the bank in a fast current. It simply fluttered its wings to regain control and dived under again. It did this several times and then flew back up stream past us and began the process again. I have never seen a dipper working in this way from the surface of the river. In the past they have always worked from a rock in the river, but this little bird seemed to be perfectly happy working from the surface of the water amongst the fast currents like a tiny black and white duck. We were soon back at Barden bridge. The 7km walk had taken us almost two and a half hours including our cafe stop We both headed home for some lunch, in my case to see my little grand daughter, and my wife of course who is amused by the way our 2 year old grand daughter has me wrapped around her finger..
Barden Bridge on our return - it hadn't changed much
Barden Bridge on our return - it hadn't changed much