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Track back towards Carlton following the wall on our left
Track back towards Carlton following the wall on our left

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Route No. 399 - Thursday 24 March 2011
Carlton-in-Coverdale, Penhill circuit - 10km
Wensleydale
Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

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

Another interesting route contributed by Ray Brown - thanks again Ray!


Opposite this whitewashed cottage we passed through a squeeze stile  on the right
Opposite this whitewashed cottage we passed through a squeeze stile on the right

To the right of the barn the path led down to a footbridge over Goodman's  Gill
To the right of the barn the path led down to a footbridge over Goodman's Gill

Across the first pasture was a second squeeze stile into a second pasture beyond which was barn. To the right of the barn the path led down to a footbridge over Goodman's Gill. From here the route continued in the same direction, through two farm gates and a couple of squeeze stiles as we passed through three more pastures into a sixth where very young lambs were enjoying the sunshine.

By Ray Brown - We completed this week of fine warm weather with a trip to the top of Penhill which has been luring us since we moved to Yorkshire. After parking by the village hall in Coverdale (SE069847) we walked about 100 metres east along the road to where a signpost on the right indicates a footpath to the River Cover and Scrafton. Taking this path we reached within 60 metres a squeeze stile in the wall on the right, opposite a whitewashed cottage.

The barn at the far side of the second pasture
The barn at the far side of the second pasture

In the sixth pasture there were young lambs
In the sixth pasture there were young lambs

We turned abruptly right to head into Carlton along a discernable path  towards a mound
We turned abruptly right to head into Carlton along a discernable path towards a mound

We turned west past Town Head Farm on to a well-surfaced single-lane  road
We turned west past Town Head Farm on to a well-surfaced single-lane road deemed unfit for motor vehicles

Shortly after we reached a gate we made a sharp right turn on to another  track
Shortly after we reached a gate we made a sharp right turn on to another track

At the west of the village by the bend in the road we turned west past Town Head Farm on to a well-surfaced single-lane road deemed unfit for motor vehicles. Within 200 metres we took a farm track on the right heading uphill. For the first part of the next kilometre we climbed steadily before the track levelled and then dipped a little. Shortly after a gate had been reached we made a sharp right turn to leave our track on a public right of way for another across open access land (at red marker on the map).

Here in the wall on our left was a gate and then a squeeze stile where we turned abruptly right to head along a discernable path towards a mound. To the left of the mound was a gate opening on to the road which led to the west end of Carlton village. So far we had just made a rather pleasant detour as an alternative to walking along the village street. One disadvantage of our route was that the short and corpulent might have difficulty in coping with the squeeze stiles and would be advised instead to use the street.

Within 200 metres we took a farm track on the right heading uphill
Within 200 metres we took a farm track on the right heading uphill

Hollin Gill culvert
Hollin Gill culvert

This track soon ran straight along a wall on our right
This track soon ran straight along a wall on our right

The ruined Stony Rigg
The ruined Stony Rigg

Very soon we turned left on to yet another track that led uphill, for more than 1.5 km, becoming increasingly steep as it took us towards the Penhill plateau. On our right was a ruined building, shown on the map as Stony Rigg, and on the skyline was a noticeable cairn.

This track soon ran straight along a wall on our right until, after rather less than a kilometre, it passed over a stream, named Hollin Gill at this point but known further upstream as Rams Gill.

On the skyline was a noticeable cairn
On the skyline was a noticeable cairn

We turned left on to yet another track that led uphill
We turned left on to yet another track that led uphill

Our first view of Wensleydale ahead as we passed a large rock
Our first view of Wensleydale ahead as we passed a large rock

Panorama of Wensleydale including Castle Bolton
Panorama of Wensleydale including Castle Bolton

Until this point in the walk the terrain underfoot had been remarkably walker-friendly but now the path ran across some mildly boggy patches. The trig point at SE051868 was a convenient lunch stop as we enjoyed the panorama of Wensleydale including Castle Bolton.

Eventually we received our first view of Wensleydale ahead as we passed a large rock placed by the track on the right. At a rusted steel gate the track came to an end above the precipitous Black Scar. So we turned right before the gate to walk along Penhill ridge, keeping to the right of a wall and fence.

We turned right before the gate to walk along Penhill ridge
We turned right before the gate to walk along Penhill ridge

The trig point at map ref. SE051868
The trig point at map ref. SE051868

We joined a right of way at map ref. SE054865
We joined a right of way at map ref. SE054865

The path descends steeply to map ref.SE057868
The path descends steeply to map ref.SE057868

The path then descends steeply to SE057868 before veering east to pass through a series of seven fields separated by stone walls broken by farm gates.

We continued east on a fairly evident path on the right of the wall until we joined a right of way at SE054865. This passes through a small gate in the wall on our left and leads to a large "pile of stones" at SE056867.

A large 'pile of stones' at map ref. SE056867
A large 'pile of stones' at map ref. SE056867

Series of seven fields separated by stone walls broken by farm gates
Series of seven fields separated by stone walls broken by farm gates

A path on the right was signposted Carlton 1.5 miles
A path on the right was signposted Carlton 1.5 miles

After 120 metres we crossed over a track and continued for a further 940 metres to cross Melmerby Beck, followed 90 metres later by a second track which was also crossed.

When the path reached the West Witton - Melmerby road at SE067869 we turned right and walked about 60 metres to a cattle grid beyond which a path on the right was signposted "Carlton 11/2 miles".

Crossing Melmerby Beck
Crossing Melmerby Beck

Track back towards Carlton following the wall on our left
Track back towards Carlton following the wall on our left

Entering farmland above Carlton
Entering farmland above Carlton

The right of way passes to the left of this stone barn
The right of way passes to the left of this stone barn

Once through the gateway into another pasture containing some farm buildings and a wooden post carrying an electrical supply, the going was firm again. The public right of way led down the field past two stone barns and for the final 150m following a beck in a gulley on our right to reach the main road via a farm gate in the right corner of the field. The car park was 120 metres to our right
- Ray Brown

After passing through a couple of gates and ignoring any paths going off to the right we stayed with a wall on our left until we entered farmland. Here the arrangement of stone walls differed somewhat from that shown on the OS map. At the lower end of a long pasture the right of way involved making for a stile in the far right corner of the field. This led to a very muddy patch in a gateway just over the stile.

The muddy right of way we avoided
Muddy right of way over a stile to a waterlogged gateway

The gate from the corner of the field to the road
The gate from the corner of the field to the road

The right of way continued to the road above a beck in a small gulley
The right of way continued to the road above a beck in a small gulley

Background Notes:
This walk is a little circuit of 10km, that's about 6 miles from the village of Carlton in Coverdale over the top of Pen Hill which rises to a little over 550m, or 1800ft above sea level. The River Cover is a tributary of the River Ure and Coverdale goes from Middleham in Wensleydale to the pass called Park Rash at the watershed of Wharfedale above Kettlewell, so we're deep in the Yorkshire Dales here and walking over some wild open country. There's a car park at the village hall with an honesty box, just £1 all day. From the car park we skirt the southern edge of the village through the sheep pastures and then follow a bridleway along a track climbing up through the fields to the west of Carlton. Just over a kilometer from the village there is a gate across the track and beyond the gate we are in open access land. The gate is a good land mark because about 50m past the gate we turn right off the bridleway onto a good track which follows a wall across the hillside. This track is not marked on the map, we're just exercising our 'Right to Roam' along this well used route. After about a kilometer we turn left to follow another track that leads all the way up Pen Hill. It's a very gentle way to make what is quite a big climb from the village, almost 300m or 1000ft, but the views from the top are well worth the effort. The northern edge of Pen Hill is a sheer series of scars or cliffs and we look out from this edge over Wensleydale with Bolton Castle opposite us on the far side of the valley standing next to the little village of Castle Bolton. To the northwest we're looking over Aysgarth and up the valley to Askrigg and to the west looking along the ridge and across Bishopdale you can see Addlebrough, but it's shape isn't so recognisable from this angle. At the edge we turn right to follow the wall along the edge for about 500m to a trig point. Then we continue past the trig point following the wall until we join a bridleway at the eastern end of the summit plateau. There are lovely views of Wensleydale as we descend from a huge cairn marked on the OS map as 'Pile of Stones'. We go down the steep face of the hill that gives Pen Hill its characteristic shape. Ahead you can see the western end of the Middleham gallops where race horses are exercised and trained each day. It's about a kilometer down to the road where our route turns right for just a few metres before we turn off the road to cross Melmerby Moor along the route of an ancient byway back to Carlton. In the village there's just one pub, 'The Foresters Arms' that is owned by the village community, well it's a group of around 80 village shareholders that was formed to buy the pub and prevent its closure, and that's the end of our walk for today.

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