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Semer Water from the road above Countersett
Semer Water from the road above Countersett

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Route No. 365 - Tuesday 31 August 2010
Marsett, Cam High Road, Countersett,
Low Force Farm, Semer Water circuit - 10km
Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire dales Northern & Central areas at 1:25000

This route is another interesting contribution by Ray Brown - Thanks Ray


Gravel track leading West from Marsett Bridge
Gravel track leading West from Marsett Bridge

Entering Marsett Cow Pasture
Entering Marsett Cow Pasture

Highest point on the climb up from Marsett
Highest point on the climb up from Marsett

The path was fairly evident and, although steep, allowed steady continuous walking without an awareness of lactate in the legs. The route is shown fairly close to a wall on the left but it was best to keep to the right of a short gully. A stile, a farm gate and another stile were passed before the highest point was reached at a leaning signpost (map ref. SD896874) where we dropped down slightly as we continued North, with fine views of Wensleydale, through farm gates to the old Roman High Cam Road where we turned right towards Bainbridge.

Today we aimed to follow a route around Semer Water which would involve a minimum of walking on surfaced roads - a mere quarter mile in all. We decided to begin in Marsett so that the most strenuous climb would occur when we were fresh. There is space for a few cars on the green just before Marsett Bridge, at map ref. SD903862, and the helpful wife of a farmer advised us where best to park. We set off westward along the gravelled lane signposted "Burtersett 2 miles, Hawes 3 miles". After about 200 metres we used a stile on the right to begin the 240 metres of ascent, initially over Marsett Cow Pasture.

The first of many squeeze stiles with spring-loaded gates
The first of many squeeze stiles with spring-loaded gates

Disused quarry above Marsett
Disused quarry above Marsett

View of Wensleydale as we approached the Cam High Road
View of Wensleydale as we approached the Cam High Road

The Cam High Road - old Roman Road
The Cam High Road - old Roman Road

Leaving the Cam High Road at SD907885
Leaving the Cam High Road at SD907885

Addlebrough towers over Countersett
Addlebrough towers over Countersett

Crag West of Countersett seen over right shoulder
Crag West of Countersett seen over right shoulder

Here we enjoyed views of Addlebrough ahead and, looking back over the right shoulder, of the crags used by hang- and para-glider pilots to soar above Semer Water. Then, at a squeeze style we gained our first sighting of Semer Water before stopping for our lunch on the sunlit hillside overlooking Countersett.

After about a further 1.5km we turned right off the Cam High Road at map ref. SD907885 through a squeeze stile to begin a gentle climb towards a bend in the surfaced road which we had already crossed whilst on the Cam High Road. We joined the surfaced road for about 150 metres before turning left through a gate signposted to Countersett.

Looking back towards the Cam High Road from the surfaced road
Looking back towards the Cam High Road from the surfaced road

Leaving the surfaced road for the path to Countersett
Leaving the surfaced road for the path to Countersett

Path following the wall towards Countersett
Path following the wall towards Countersett

First glimpse of Semer Water
First glimpse of Semer Water

Veer left towards a barn
Veer left towards a barn . . .

Leaving the road by River Bain
Leaving the road by River Bain

On dropping down to Semer Water we crossed the bridge over the River Bain and immediately turned left on to the bridleway signed to Low Force. Walking initially alongside the Bain and then gradually moving away from it we walked through a couple of fields and then on to rough pasture where cows were grazing in an area defined by an electric fence.

Continuing our descent to Countersett, we veered left to one barn by a stile and then right to another barn and through a farm gate before heading to the right of a private garden to reach a gate by the road where we followed the signpost towards Stalling Busk.

Semer Water from above Countersett
Semer Water from above Countersett

Veer right towards a second barn
. . . Veer right towards a second barn

Following the River Bain
Following the River Bain

Heading towards Low Force through rough pasture with cows confined by  an electric fence
Heading towards Low Force through rough pasture with cows confined by an electric fence

Electric fence over the right of way
Electric fence over the right of way

Recent path diversion near Low Blean farm
Recent path diversion near Low Blean farm

The path alongside Semer Water
The path alongside Semer Water

As we neared Low Blean farm a sign board announced a recent change in the right of way route to move it further away from the farm. On returning to the road at map ref. SD924873 we crossed to a stile and the path signed to Stalling Busk. The path along the side of Semer Water was easily followed past a tree that clung to life despite having only a vestige of remaining trunk. Passing the end of the tarn we entered a small nature reserve before reaching the ruins of the old church below Stalling Busk. Most of the gravestones were indecipherably old but a few quite recent ones told of untimely deaths.

After temporarily removing a connection we surmounted the electric fence and turned right to join a track from Blean Lane to Low Force farm where we were "greeted" by four untethered snarling dogs with bared fangs. On passing the front of the farmhouse whilst facing off the dogs we almost missed the rather obscure signs which indicated the need briefly to turn left away from the house. On leaving the environs of the farm it was necessary to keep right of a copse of trees as we made back towards Semer Water.

Leaving Low Force farm
Leaving Low Force farm

Between Low Force and Low Blean farms
Between Low Force and Low Blean farms

Heading towards Low Blean farm
Heading towards Low Blean farm

Ruined old church of Stalling Busk
Ruined old church of Stalling Busk

Paths divide - Marsett or Stalling Busk
Paths divide - Marsett or Stalling Busk

Footbridge over Cragdale Water
Footbridge over Cragdale Water

The track led us directly back to Marsett Bridge, via a footbridge alongside a ford. This had been the first true Summer's day for a several weeks and the walk had been enjoyable, although my wife considered that the avoidance of 500 metres of road walking did not justify the 2Km detour to Low Force farm with its threatening canines. - Ray Brown

Just above the church was a signpost pointing the paths to Stalling Busk and Marsett; we opted to go directly to Marsett. The right of way now continued through a series of fields with gated stiles, eventually reaching a barn. Here we veered right to cross a meadow to a stile in a wall, turning left to a second stile and a footbridge on to a rough stony farm track.

Towards the track leading to Marsett
Towards the track leading to Marsett

Ford over Raydale Beck with footbridge to left
Ford over Raydale Beck with footbridge to left

Bridge over Marsett Beck at the end of our walk
Bridge over Marsett Beck at the end of our walk