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Humesett Crags
Humesett Crags

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Route No. 489 - Saturday 15 September 2012
Hardraw, Cotterdale,
Pennine Way circuit - 11km
Wensleydale . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL19 Howgill Fells & Upper Eden Valley

This is another of Ray Brown's interesting routes - Thanks Ray!


Pry House farm and Widdale Fell
Pry House farm and Widdale Fell

Veer right to waymarked stile
Veer right to waymarked stile

We soon reached a gated stile. Within 100 metres at a signpost we joined a right-of-way running North from Appersett. The path led uphill to the right of a copse whereupon it swung sharply right, steeply up to a ladder stile followed by a further steep climb to rejoin the Pennine Way at a signpost pointing back to New Bridge.

By Ray Brown - After parking in one of the lay-bys to the west of Hardraw we set off north on the Pennine Way. Within 150 metres we left the Pennine Way via a ladder stile on the left that led through a pasture to a farm gate into a large rough pasture. Keeping the same direction about 30 metres to the left of a stream to avoid most of the reeds, we crossed a ladder stile and then a simple stile in a fence on the right (marked by a yellow –painted post).

View over Cotterdale Beck
View over Cotterdale Beck

Cotterdale through gateless gateposts
Cotterdale through gateless gateposts

We passed a couple of squeeze stiles until an area of newly planted trees enclosed in a deer fence was entered and eventually left by simple stiles. Passing between a fine pair of dry-stone gateposts (with no gate) we walked between a power line on our right and, on our left, one of the many Yorkshire stone barns in view.

Turning left we ascended on the Pennine Way for about half a kilometre to branch left at the signpost to Cotterdale. To the South lay Pry House farm with fine views beyond of Widdale Fell. The path was narrow but distinct as it descended gently over rough pasture for some two kilometres.

Newly planted trees
Newly planted trees

Yorkshire barns above Cotterdale
Yorkshire barns above Cotterdale

Gate at SD 8366 9358
Gate at SD 8366 9358

Keeping right at a signpost and passing through a further squeeze stile and a gate we arrived at the footbridge over East Beck at the North end of Cotterdale, a settlement of about a dozen dwellings.

180 metres beyond the barn there is a faded way-mark indicating a small gate in the wall on the left (SD 8366 9358) from where the path led down to a duckboard and a stile in the far dark corner of the field.

Duckboard and stile in corner of field
Duckboard and stile in corner of field

Entering the hamlet of Cotterdale
Entering the hamlet of Cotterdale

Pleasant little waterfall
Pleasant little waterfall

The forestry track, a bridleway, zig-zagged upwards through a now mainly deforested area for almost 500 feet to a junction and a notice warning of shake holes (SD 8367 9478). Here the wind was cold and strong as we headed south whilst looking for a sheltered lunch venue.

Following the village track North we came to a pair of bridges crossing East Beck and entering the High Abbotside Moorland Regeneration Scheme. The second bridge, a footbridge, led to a short path passing devilsbit scabious growing alongside a pleasant little waterfall before rejoining the vehicle track upward through forest.

Entering High Abbotside
Entering High Abbotside

Climbing through deforested land
Climbing through deforested land

Humesett Beacon
Humesett Beacon

Humesett Crags
Humesett Crags

At almost 1650 feet we approached the Pennine Way via another pair of gateless dry-stone gateposts. From here it was all downhill back to Hardraw.

Resuming our walk we ascended steadily past the Humesett Beacon and Humesett Crags on our left. Despite the gale, we enjoyed, to our right, the landscape below, including the footbridge by the confluence of East and West Becks as they become Cotterdale Beck.

Confluence of East and West Becks to form Cotterdale Beck
Confluence of East and West Becks to form Cotterdale Beck

Approaching 1650 feet (500m) above sea level
Approaching 1650 feet (500m) above sea level

However, an experience of Cotterdale would be incomplete without a visit to Cotter Force, a splendid waterfall further down the beck just before it joins the River Ure. So we drove West from Hardraw to join the A684 for a further kilometre to Holme Heads Bridge straddling Cotterdale Beck. There a well-maintained level path took us to the falls in some 500 metres to complete another joyous day in the Dales - Ray Brown

Cotter Force
Cotter Force

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