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Looking back to Fore Gill Gate
Looking back to Fore Gill Gate

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Route No. 441 - Tuesday 25 October 2011
Reeth, Arkle Town, Fore Gill,
Helaugh circuit - 13km
Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales. . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central areas


Parking on the village green in the centre of Reeth
Parking on the village green in the centre of Reeth

Fremmington Edge from the road out of Reeth
Fremington Edge from the road out of Reeth

Scott Trial warning sign at our turn off the road
Scott Trial warning sign at our turn off the road

We set off along the road up Arkengarthdale which we followed for about 700m to a left hand bend just after a cattle grid. We turned off the road here, map ref. SE035999, and climbed the stile into a field. At the stile was a notice warning that the "Scott Trial" was in progress. The notice was left over from last Saturday when the annual, one day, Alfred Scott memorial, international motor bike trial was held as usual in Arkengarthdale.

There has been a good deal of rain about lately but after a heavy overnight downpour it's forecast to be a fine blustery and somewhat cloudy day today. My mate, Jim, and I drove to reeth in Swaledale and parked on the village green parking area in front of the Black Bull & Kings Arms pubs at map ref. SE038992.

Cattle grid 150m before our turn off the road
Cattle grid 150m before our turn off the road

Looking up Arkengarthdale with Fremmington Edge on the right
Looking up Arkengarthdale with Fremington Edge on the right

One of many stiles on the path up Arkengarthdale
One of many stiles on the path up Arkengarthdale

A limousin bull & his harem by the path
A limousin bull & his harem by the path

Path heading up Arkengarthdale
Path heading up Arkengarthdale

Looking across Arkengarthdale to the village of Booze
Looking across Arkengarthdale to the village of Booze

Ahead of us up on the hillside was the village of Booze. Away to our right across the beck was Fremmington Edge running all the way back to the junction of Arkengarthdale and Swaledale.

We followed this path across the fields gradually climbing up Arkengarthdale with Arkle Beck below us for over 3km to a footbridge over Arkle Beck at map ref. NZ010020.

Path heading up Arkengarthdale
Path heading up Arkengarthdale

A marker & mole trap placed in a mole's tunnel
A marker & mole trap placed in a mole's tunnel

Path by Arkle Beck heading for Arkle Town
Path by Arkle Beck heading for Arkle Town

Footbridge over Arkle Beck below Arkle Town
Footbridge over Arkle Beck below Arkle Town

I just like heavy horses
I just like heavy horses

Gravestone at Arkle Town
One of many gravestones at Arkle Town

There was a small green with a bench where we sat for our lunch. After our break we walked out to the road along the dale at map ref. NZ007019. We crossed the road and took the path opposite signposted to Fore Gill Gate.

At the footbridge we followed the path away from the beck and into Arkle Town (a tiny hamlet). The field at the edge of the hamlet seemed to be an abandoned graveyard with numerous headstones in the rough pasture and along the wall.

Looking up Arkengarthdale to Langthwaite
Looking up Arkengarthdale to Langthwaite

Graves in some rough pasture at Arkle Town
Graves in some rough pasture at Arkle Town

A rocky mound in Fore Gill
A rocky mound in Fore Gill

Looking back down Fore Gill across Arkengarthdale to Fremmington Edge
Looking back down Fore Gill across Arkengarthdale to Fremington Edge

Following the path up Fore Gill
Following the path up Fore Gill

Passing the old mine entrance
Passing the old mine entrance

Beyond the old mine we followed a well walked path out to a track at map ref. NY993009, near Fore Gill Gate. The last 250m is not a public right of way but it is on open access land.

 

The path climbed up along the edge of a narrow valley called Fore Gill. Near the top of this valley is a spoil heap and mine entrance from the lead mining era in this area, although the mine entrance is almost filled in now.

The path climbing up Fore Gill
The path climbing up Fore Gill

The old lead mining spoil heap from below
The old lead mining spoil heap from below

The old lead mining spoil heap from above
The old lead mining spoil heap from above

Our track across the moor from Fore Gill Gate
Our track across the moor from Fore Gill Gate

Our track across the moor from Fore Gill Gate
Our track across the moor from Fore Gill Gate

We followed a public bridleway from Fore Gill Gate heading southeast towards Healaugh for about 1200m to map ref. NZ004000. Here there is a stone wall on the left of the path enclosing a few rough fields. At the southerly corner of the wall we took a track to the left of the public bridleway.

Once out of Fore Gill we were on wild open high moorland with magnificent vistas in every direction. The moors are open access land and there are good paths and tracks not all marked on the OS maps, so navigation can be a bit awkward.

A patch of sunlight on the moor behind us
A patch of sunlight on the moor behind us

Our track across the moor from Fore Gill Gate
Our track across the moor from Fore Gill Gate

Start of the gravel road down towards Healaugh
Start of the gravel road down towards Healaugh

Steep descent towards Healaugh
Steep descent towards Healaugh

Looking down on to Healaugh
Looking down on to Healaugh

We continued to follow the road down the steep hillside. On our right we passed a thatched barn which had a plaque proclaiming it as a winner of an architectural award for restoration. At last we reached the bottom of the long descent at the main road in Healaugh. Here we turned left to walk along the main road for about 200m to take a footpath off the right hand side of the road at map ref. SE019990.

We followed this track for about 1200m to map ref. SE015996. At this point we had reached a wide gravel road on the edge of the moor above Healaugh. We turned right almost doubling back to follow this gravel road down towards Healaugh. After about 450m we came to a few stone cottages where the road made a hair-pin turn left.

Looking down to Healaugh from the edge of the moor
Looking down to Healaugh from the edge of the moor

Award winning thatched barn
Award winning thatched barn by the road

The lane from the moor into Healaugh
The lane from the moor into Healaugh

Looking back to Healaugh from the start of the field path to Reeth
Looking back to Healaugh from the start of the field path to Reeth

Looking down Swaledale from the edge of Reeth
Looking down Swaledale from the edge of Reeth

The whole route had been 13km and it had taken me 5hours 45 minutes to walk including our stops. We were just in time to place our order for coffee and toasted teacakes before to closed sign was put in the cafe window at the bottom of the village green.

We followed this path across the fields for almost 2km back into Reeth. The patches of late afternoon sunshine lifted the autumn colours in the countryside as we looked across Swaledale on our way back into Reeth and the end of our walk.

Looking across the River Swale on the edge of Reeth
Looking across the River Swale on the edge of Reeth

The fields above the River Swale between Healaugh and Reeth
The fields above the River Swale between Healaugh and Reeth

Looking across Swaledale in the late afternoon sunshine
Looking across Swaledale in the late afternoon sunshine

The lane back into reeth at the end of our walk
The lane back into reeth at the end of our walk