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View up Bishopdale from  South of the Stake Road
View up Bishopdale to Buckden Pike from South of the Stake Road

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Route No. 423 - Thursday 10 June 2011
Thornton Rust, Gayle Ing, Skellicks Beck,
Folly Lane, Castle Dykes circuit - 12km
Wensleydale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central areas

One of Ray Brown's routes on the moors above Wensleydale


Taking the left stile to Gayle Ing
Taking the left stile to Gayle Ing

Here, by taking the arm "FP Gayle Ing 11/2 Ml", our circuit began with a climb, sometimes quite steep and occasionally punctuated by short drops, that would take about 50 minutes overall. The path, narrow but fairly clear, ran on the left of a stone wall, initially through pasture, but at a squeeze stile it entered moorland. To the west the flat summit of Addlebrough lay a couple of km away.

On the O.S. map a letter P denotes a tiny parking area at map ref. SD972888, accessed by a short narrow track opposite the Memorial Institute hall in Thornton Rust. After parking and crossing the ford over West Beck, we used a farm gate on the left to enter the first of three meadows joined by gated squeeze stiles and arrive at a further pair of such stiles, side-by-side, in a wall. The left of these led in a few metres to a signpost at SD973885 to which we would return at the end of our walk.

Start of the climb to Gayle Ing
Start of the climb to Gayle Ing

Addlebrough on our right as we climbed up towards Gayle Ing
Addlebrough on our right as we climbed up towards Gayle Ing

Footbridge over Gill Beck
Footbridge over Gill Beck

The climb continued until, on Flout Moor, a pair of stiles, some 10 metres apart, took the path from the right of the wall to its left.

After dropping down to the footbridge over Gill Beck we veered slightly left towards a wall, now on our left. The path wound its way uphill between outcrops to a squeeze stile.

Another steep section of the climb to Gayle Ing
Another steep section of the climb to Gayle Ing

Transferring to the other side of the wall on Flout Moor
Transferring to the other side of the wall on Flout Moor

Approach to Gayle Ing
Approach to Gayle Ing

Stake Road
Stake Road, a grass track at this point

View up Bishopdale from S. of the Stake Road
View up Bishopdale from S. of the Stake Road

After climbing up to a small gate we contoured left around the heather to reach a small cairn where we turned left onto a rough stone track, the Stake Road, which later became a grass track. A further half kilometre on we turned right through a farm gate onto a grass track, not shown on the map, to cross open access land and beyond another farm gate, we joined the bridleway running from Brown-a-Haw to Skellicks Beck. On the way we had enjoyed a splendid view up Bishopdale.

As the moor levelled, the building of Gayle Ing lay ahead in a clump of trees. A signpost "AYSGARTH, THORALBY" inviting us to enter a bed of reeds was ignored and instead we turned left only on reaching Gayle Ing. Following a wall on our right for about 250 metres we passed through a squeeze stile at the signpost "THORALBY" to drop steeply down to the Gayle Ing Beck footbridge.

Descent to Gayle Ing Beck
Descent to Gayle Ing Beck

Leaving Stake Road to cross open access land
Leaving Stake Road to cross open access land

Burton Moor from Side Road
Burton Moor from Side Road

Dropping down towards Thoralby
Dropping down towards Thoralby

Old Hall farm on the edge of Thoralby
Old Hall farm on the edge of Thoralby

Climbing Haw Lane
Climbing Haw Lane

Turning left we climbed to Keld Gill where we took the right fork into a meadow where the bridleway was not obvious. We followed our GPS gadget roughly NNE and over the brow of the land we found a yellow waymark in the far corner (SD 9951 8724).

Soon we turned left onto Side Road, a stony track we would take for the next 2 km almost to Thoralby, crossing Swinacote Gill en route. Opposite Old Hall farm, dating back to 1641, we took a track on the left signposted "BW BUSK LANE 4, AYSGARTH 11/4" which took us immediately past the house "TOWNHEAD" to join Haw Lane.

Approach to Townhead leaving Thoralby
Approach to Townhead leaving Thoralby

Climbing towards Keld Gill
Climbing towards Keld Gill

Looking North along Folly Lane above Heaning Gill
Looking North along Folly Lane above Heaning Gill

Approaching Heaning Gill and Folly Lane
Approaching Heaning Gill and Folly Lane

Almost a kilometre further the track was crossed by the direct footpath from Keld Gill on which we would later return to Thornton Rust. Meanwhile we continued on Flout Moor Lane uphill on a 20 minute detour. At SD 9824 8746 a farm gate on the left afforded access to the Neolithic henge Castle Dykes at SD 982873.

We descended from the waymark to a farm gate to enter Folly Lane, immediately crossing Heaning Gill by a crude footbridge. After passing the ruined Folly House on our left we reached the stony track Flout Moor Lane where we turned left, signed "FP Gayle Ings 21/4 Ml".

Folly House
Folly House

Castle Dykes henge
Castle Dykes henge
Castle Dykes henge
Castle Dykes henge

Sheep being driven over Gill Beck
Sheep being driven over Gill Beck

From the stile we passed into meadow land and then into further pastures with a couple of squeeze stiles. A quite broad grassy path developed and contoured towards a farm gate. 200 metres before the gate an almost parallel minor path on the right went off towards a gated stile and a signpost, from where the path dropped down to the signpost at which our circuit had begun - Ray Brown

Retracing down Flout Moor Lane to the footpath (SD 985876) we turned left to Gill Beck where one man and his dog were driving a flock across the beck. Following exactly the extrapolated line of the wall by which we had approached the beck, we climbed the other side to find a waymarked signpost which directed us through pasture to a dilapidated and potentially dangerous stile (SD 982879).

One man and his dog
One man and his dog

Gill Beck about 2km from the end of our walk
Gill Beck about 2km from the end of our walk