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Pack horse bridge in Linton over the Linton Beck
Pack horse bridge in Linton over the Linton Beck

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Route No. 428 - Wednesday 3 August 2011
Burnsall, Thorpe, Linton, Linton falls,
River Wharfe, Hebden circuit - 12km
Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas at 1:25000


The main street in Burnsall
The main street (B6160) in Burnsall

A friendly pony in the first field we crossed
A friendly pony in the first field we crossed

The first of a great many such stiles
The first of a great many such stiles

We followed this path across the fields and over a stone step stile at every stone wall climbing up for almost a kilometer to a farm road called Badger Lane at map ref. SE025617.

This morning Jim & I met two friends, Ray & Sylvia, at Burnsall at map ref. SE031610. The weather forecast was for a very hot humid day with a risk of thundery downpours in the afternoon. We set off at around 10.15am along the main street, the B6160, and after about 200m we turned left off the road along a public footpath down the side of a cottage. This path brought us to a stile into a fields where there was a friendly pony waiting to greet us.

Our path to the left off the B6160
Our path to the left off the B6160

Crossing Badger Lane at map ref. SE025617
Crossing Badger Lane at map ref. SE025617

Looking back to Air Scar Crags above Burnsall
Looking back to Air Scar Crags above Burnsall

Looking across Wharfedale to the valley of Hebden Beck and the crags above Hole Bottom
Looking across Wharfedale to the valley of Hebden Beck and the crags above Hole Bottom

Climbing up from Badger Lane heading for Thorpe
Climbing up from Badger Lane heading for Thorpe

Crossing Starton Beck
Crossing Starton Beck

From there we followed the path up to a track that led us onto a lane into the 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe.

 

A few hundred metres beyond Badger Lane the path started to drop down to a plank bridge over Starton Beck at map ref. SE019616.

Crossing Starton Beck
Crossing Starton Beck

Climbing up to the lane at Thorpe
Climbing up to the lane at Thorpe

The 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe
The 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe

The 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe
The 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe

We followed the road south through the village of Thorpe and at the edge of the village we took a track off the road to the right to climb around the base of Elbolton Hill.

Thorpe is known as the hidden village because in its little valley between the reef knolls it is invisible from Wharfedale and it was never discovered by the border reivers who plundered as far south as this area until the late 1500's.

The 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe
The 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe

The 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe
The 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe

Our path out of the 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe
Our path out of the 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe

Our path out of the 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe
Our path out of the 'Hidden Village' of Thorpe

At the same time the reef knolls were formed as coral atolls with their ridges forming small coral islands in this tropical sea.

Elbolton Hill and several others in this area are known as 'Reef Knolls'. The limestone strata of this area was laid down on the bed of a shallow tropical sea hundreds of millions of years ago.

Climbing up around the base of Elbolton Hill
Climbing up around the base of Elbolton Hill

Looking back to Kail Hill, one of the 'Reef Knolls' in this part of Wharfedale
Looking back to Kail Hill, one of the 'Reef Knolls' in this part of Wharfedale

Looking towards Stebden Hill
Looking towards Stebden Hill

The lane on our way to Linton
The lane on our way to Linton

Here we turned left off the road at a sign post indicating a footpath to Linton & Threapland.

We continued along the path through more stone step stiles to the road at map ref. SD996611. At the road we turned right to walk along the road for about 600m to Stanghill Beck.

Crossing yet another stile below Butter Haw Hill
Crossing yet another stile below Butter Haw Hill

Our turning off the lane towards Linton
Our turning off the lane towards Linton

Making our way towards Linton
Making our way towards Linton

Horses on the edge of Linton village
Horses on the edge of Linton village

We followed a path across the fields for almost 900m to the edge of Linton. The path led us onto a road which we followed into the village.

We followed this path along a farm track for about 250m to map ref. SD997617. Here we turned right off the farm track.

Horses on the sky-line
Horses on the skyline at Cockerham

Heading into Linton village
Heading into Linton village

The village green and Linton Beck in Linton village
The village green and Linton Beck in Linton village

There is an old pack horse bridge across the beck and a pub on one side of the green with several seats around the green to enjoy the scene.

We stopped here for our lunch break. In the centre of the village is a very pretty village green with Linton Beck running through it.

Linton weir and falls on the River Wharfe
Linton weir and falls on the River Wharfe

Worm gear, pinions and rack at Linton weir
Worm gear, pinions and rack at Linton weir

Here we took a signposted path off to the left around the stone house on the corner to the footbridge over the River Wharfe at Linton Falls. There are two long weirs here and several waterfalls as the river makes its way through a rocky outcrop.

We followed the main road (B6265) out of the village to a cross roads at map ref. SD996630. We took the minor road opposite and followed it for about 300m down to a bend in the road at map ref. SE000632.

Linton weir and falls on the River Wharfe
Linton weir and falls on the River Wharfe

Looking downstream from Linton falls
Looking downstream from Linton falls

Linton weir and falls on the River Wharfe
Linton weir and falls on the River Wharfe below Grassington

The River Wharfe below Grassington
The River Wharfe below Grassington

We crossed the river on the footbridge and at once we turned right to follow the path along the river bank heading downstream.

A profusion of yellow flowers we saw on the bank of the Wharfe that we found was Monkey Flower (mimulus guttatus)
A profusion of yellow flowers we saw on
the bank of the Wharfe that Sylvia discovered
was Monkey Flower (mimulus guttatus)
Path by the River Wharfe between Grassington and Hebden
Path by the River Wharfe between Grassington and Hebden

A Suffolk tupp by the path
A Suffolk tupp by the path

Pedestrian suspension bridge at Hebden
Pedestrian suspension bridge at Hebden

We crossed the river on the wobbly suspension bridge except for Ray who decided on an equally adventurous crossing on the stepping stone about 20m downstream of the bridge.

After about 3km we came to a pedestrian suspension bridge over the River Wharfe at map ref. SE025623 near the road into Hebden.

Pedestrian suspension bridge at Hebden
Pedestrian suspension bridge at Hebden

Pedestrian suspension bridge at Hebden
Pedestrian suspension bridge at Hebden

Stepping stones across the Wharfe at Hebden
Stepping stones across the Wharfe at Hebden

Loup Scar on the R. Wharfe near Burnsall
Loup Scar on the R. Wharfe near Burnsall

Reflections in the Wharfe near Brunsall
Reflections in the Wharfe near Brunsall

Jim and I made our usual stop at a coffee shop for a large coffee and a toasted teacake for a pleasant end to the day before driving home. The whole route had been about 12km and it had taken four and three quatrer hours to walk including our stops - many of them just waiting for me to catch up.

We all continued along the riverside path to the rapids at Loup Scar and then along the path for another 600m back to our starting point in Burnsall. Ray & Sylvia planned to do their supermarket shopping on the way home - where do they get their energy?

Loup Scar on the R. Wharfe near Burnsall
Loup Scar on the R. Wharfe near Burnsall

Path by the Wharfe near Brunsall
Path by the Wharfe near Brunsall

Path under the lime trees near Brunsall
Path under the lime trees near Brunsall

Burnsall Bridge at the end of our walk
Burnsall Bridge at the end of our walk

Background Notes:
This is a circular walk of about 8 miles,12km, from Burnsall. It's a pretty village on the River Wharfe with wide grassy areas on both sides of the river where people like to sit, enjoy the view and picnic. The village grew up around the ancient packhorse bridge across the Wharfe there. From Burnsall our route follows a path across the fields to the village of Thorpe. On this part of the route the path crosses a whole series of fields enclosed by dry stone walls and at each wall there is a stone step stile, a great many such stiles! After a couple of miles our route reaches Thorpe which is known as 'The Hidden village'.The border reivers, raiding parties of Scots, used to operate as far south at this part of Wharfedale until the 1500's, stealing cattle and anything else that was easily portable. These raids tended to follow the rivers and all the towns and villages in Wharfedale suffered attacks except Thorpe. The village is up a side valley obscured from view by the conical hills and it was fortunate enough to escape the attention of the raiders. On leaving Thorpe the path climbs up around the base of one of the conical hills called Elbolton Hill. This is a so-called reef knoll. The whole area is limestone that was laid down when the area was covered by a shallow tropical sea. There was a reef in this area composed of a series of coral atolls. Elbolton Hill is one of these coral atolls so is Kail Hill and there are several others in a series called the Cracoe reef-knoll belt. Our walk continues across the fields to the village of Linton which straddles Linton Beck, a small tributary of the River Wharfe. It's a very pretty village with a large village green and the beck running through the green. There's a lovely graceful stone pack-horse bridge over the beck on the edge of the green. The packhorse bridge is known as ‘Redmayne Bridge’ after Dame Elizabeth Redmayne who apparently paid for some repairs in the late 1600's. It's said that she had a parapet added to restrict the width so that carts could not cross because local farmers had refused to contribute to the cost of the repairs. The village of Linton was originally a flax growing area and the villagers would spin and weave the flax into linen. From Linton we make our way down to Linton Falls on the River Wharfe. This is another very pretty spot, close to Grassington so it's very popular. At this point our route joins the Dales Way, a long distance walking route from Ilkley to Windermere following Wharfedale a large part of the way. We follow the Dales Way route downstrean along the river bank to Hebden where there is a pedestrian suspension bridge across the river and some stepping stones just downstrean of the bridge. It seems that in the late 1880's the flood following a severe storm damaged the bridge at Burnsall making it impassable and a local man was drowned trying to cross the stepping stones at Hebden. It was decided to make a footbridge at Hebden and the organising committee purchased a long length of redundant steel cable from a local lead mining company. They gave the job of constructing the bridge to the local blacksmith called William Bell who completed the bridge in 1884. We cross the river on this bridge and continue downstream past the rapids on the River Wharfe at a short stretch of limestone gorge at a cliff called Loup Scar. Again this a popular spot to sit by the river and enjoy the scenery. Just a little way beyond Loup Scar we return to our starting point in Burnsall.

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