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Pack Horse Bridge over Padside Beck near Thornthwaite

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Route No. 502 - Thursday 21 March 2013
Darley Bridge, Darley Beck, Padside Beck,
Dike Lane, Monk Ing Road, Quaker Burial Ground,
Dacre, circuit - 11km Nidderdale . . .

This is the 'Dacre Walls Walk' published by Dacre Parish Council
Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale at 1:25000


Our parking spot at Darley Bridge
Our parking spot at Darley Bridge

Stone step stile into the field
Stone step stile into the field

Stone causeway next to the wall
Stone causeway next to the wall

There was just room for us to squeeze on the end next to the bridge. From there we walked south along the road past the mill centre for about 200m to a left hand bend in the road. At the start of the bend we turned right off the road to follow a path along the field edge. After about 200m we came to a footbridge over Darley Beck on our right. We crossed the bridge and on the other side of the beck there was a stone wall with a stile out to a path across the fields. The wall had stone slots built into its base to allow the flood water to pass underneath when the beck was in spate.

Our plan this morning was to park in a little informal muddy lay-by off the B6451 opposite the Darley Mill Centre at map ref. SE193598 next to the bridge over Darley Beck, about 1km south of Dacre. We planned to walk 'The Dacre Walls Walk', a route published by the Dacre Parish Council and also the Nidderdale AONB. This route through the fields of Nidderdale illustrates the skills of the dry stone wall builders of the area and the leaflet include details of the features to look out for. When we arrived at the lay-by most of it was taken up by a contractor working on the local gas mains.

Our turning off the B6451 near Darley Mill
Our turning off the B6451 near Darley Mill

Path following the wall down the field
Path following the wall down the field

Footbridge over Darley Beck
Footbridge over Darley Beck

Slots under the wall to allow fllod water from the beck to drain away
Slots under the wall to allow flood water from the beck to drain away

Stone steps up to a squeeze stile
Stone steps up to a squeeze stile

Stile on to the road near Oxen Close Farm
Stile on to the road near Oxen Close Farm

Path up to the wood from Oxen Close Farm
Path up to the wood from Oxen Close Farm

A cross-section of a typical dry stone wall
A cross-section of a typical dry stone wall

At the road we turned left to walk along the road for about 150m to turn right off the road opposite the entrance to Oxen Close farm. We followed the path alongside the stone wall climbing up the hillside to a wood at the top. There's a large sign on the wall proclaiming 'Campsite Boundary'. This turns out to be the boundary of the Thornthwaite Scout Campsite & Activity Centre.

We followed the path along the edge of the fields to a minor road at map ref. SE185595. The fields were all enclosed by dry stone walls and at each boundary there was a stone step site built into the wall. The steps consist of very large stone that pass through the wall to provide a step on both sides, quite a substantial construction.

Poles slotted into this stone and it's pair to make a gate
Poles slotted into this stone and it's pair to make a gate

Turning off the road opposite Oxen Close Farm
Turning off the road opposite Oxen Close Farm

Path up to the wood from Oxen Close Farm
Path up to the wood from Oxen Close Farm

Entering the wood at the top of the hill
Entering the wood at the top of the hill

Looking back across Nidderdale
Looking back across Nidderdale

Woodland path heading for Carr Lodge Farm
Woodland path heading for Carr Lodge Farm

Woodland path heading for Carr Lodge Farm
Woodland path heading for Carr Lodge Farm

Scout campsite sign at the road
Scout campsite sign at the road

The road down to Padside Beck
The road down to Padside Beck

At the road we turned left and walked along the road down hill round a long right hand bend to cross the beck at the bottom. Below the road this is Darley Beck but upstream of the road it's called Padside Beck.

We continued through the woodland and dropped down across a particularly wet field and paddled the last bit to join a stone farm access road. This led us out to a minor road with a sign to the scout campsite.

Woodland path heading for Carr Lodge Farm
Woodland path heading for Carr Lodge Farm

Track out to the road near Carr Lodge farm
Track out to the road near Carr Lodge farm

A cripple hole for sheep to pass, closed by a board when not in use
A cripple hole for sheep to pass,
closed by a board when not in use

Padside Beck from the road
Padside Beck from the road

Pack horse bridge over Padside Beck
Pack horse bridge over Padside Beck

Pack horse bridge over Padside Beck
Pack horse bridge over Padside Beck

Woodland path above Padside Beck
Woodland path above Padside Beck

Woodland path above Padside Beck
Woodland path above Padside Beck

We crossed the bridge and followed the path through the woodland heading upstream above the beck. After about 500m we came to a minor road at map ref. SE169597, where we turned right to walk along the road.

We crossed the beck and about 25m beyond the beck is a stile on the right hand side of the road to a path leading to a wonderful old pack horse bridge over the beck. It's one horse wide with low parapets that would not interfere with the horses pack and panniers.

Turning off the road to the pack horse bridge
Turning off the road to the pack horse bridge

Stone step stile on the path heading upstream
Stone step stile on the path heading upstream

Muddy woodland path above Padside Beck
Muddy woodland path above Padside Beck

Stile on to the road above Padside Beck
Stile on to the road above Padside Beck

View back down the road towards Harper Bridge over Padside Beck
View back down the road towards Harper Bridge over Padside Beck

 

Round topped dressed stone gate posts marking the estate boundary
Round top dressed stone gate posts on the estate boundary

At the junction there is a gateway with dressed stone gate posts with rounded tops and carefully tooled panels on the sides. The Dacre Walls Walk leaflet explains that these mark the boundary of the old Ingleby Estate in the 1800's.

The road climbed up to a junction at map ref. SE174601. Along the road there were a mixture of rough stone gate posts and some that had a rounded top.

Water trough built into the wall for stock on both sides
Water trough built into the wall for stock on both sides

Round top dressed stone gate posts on the estate boundary
Round top dressed stone gate posts on the estate boundary

Round top dressed stone gate posts on the estate boundary
Round top dressed stone gate posts on the estate boundary

Our turning off the road to cross some boulder strewn open land
Our turning off the road to cross some boulder strewn open land

Sheep hoping we had come to feed them
Sheep hoping we had come to feed them

Setting off over the open land
Setting off over the open land

Sign marking the 'Dacre Walls Walk'
Sign marking the 'Dacre Walls Walk'

We made our way across this area followed by a flock of hungry sheep to a stile on to a road at map ref. SE174607. We crossed the road and walked along the farm access road towards Pasture Side farm.

At the road junction we turn left off the road to cross a boulder strewn area of open land. There was a thin covering of snow and there was no discernable path.

Leaving the open land to cross the road
Leaving the open land to cross the road

Start of the access road to Pastyre Side farm
Start of the access road to Pasture Side farm

Access road to Pasture Side farm
Access road to Pasture Side farm

Start of path to the left around the northwestern side of Pasture Side farm
Start of path to the left around the northwestern side of Pasture Side farm

New tree planting next to Pasture Side farm
New tree planting next to Pasture Side farm

Leaving Monk Ing farm along Monk Ing Road
Leaving Monk Ing farm along Monk Ing Road

We followed the track past Monk Ing farm and continued along the track, now a farm access road called Monk Ing Road. We another farm access road called Lane Foot Road where our route joined the Nidderdale Way route. We continued along Monk Ing Road following the Nidderdale Way to a bend at map ref. SE184616.

On my map the path appears to skirt the southeastern edge of the farm buildings, but in fact the path on the ground goes round the northwestern side of the buildings. There is a white arrow on a green background fixed to a telegraph pole at the farm entrance to indicate the route. Just beyond the farm we passed through an area of new tree planting to a gravel track by a pond.

Pond by the path approaching Monk Ing farm
Pond by the path approaching Monk Ing farm

Turning right off the road
Turning right off the road

Following Monk Ing Road
Following Monk Ing Road

Very wet field covered with marsh grass
Very wet field covered with marsh grass

Crossing another marshy field
Crossing another marshy field

Squeeze stile turning down towards Dacre
Squeeze stile turning down towards Dacre

Reaching the road above Dacre
Reaching the road above Dacre

As we approached Dacre our path turned left through a squeeze stile down the slope. Once through the site we looked back at the wall and just as the Dacre Walls Walk leaflet described the wall was of a different character to the general run of field walls hereabout. There were much larger stoned in the base of the wall and it's construction had a more random appearance. This wall is said to date from the 1500's. We followed the path out to the road at map ref. SE190609.

Here we turned off the road the right to continue along the Nidderdale Way down a very wet field covered with marshland cotton grass. About 200m from the road we turned right away from the Nidderdale Way and made our way through a pair of stone gateposts in a collapsed stone wall. We continued along a path at the edge of the fields heading in a southeasterly direction. A long stretch of wall on our left had been repaired with new pedestrian gates installed and work to complete all this was still in progress.

Stone gate posts in a collapsed wall
Stone gate posts in a collapsed wall

One of several pedestrian gates being installed
One of several pedestrian gates being installed

1500's random stone wall built on large boulders
1500's random stone wall built on large boulders

Climbing up the road away from Dacre
Climbing up the road away from Dacre

Turning towards the Quaker Burial Ground
Turning towards the Quaker Burial Ground

Path to the Quaker Burial Ground
Path to the Quaker Burial Ground


'Zwartbles' Sheep by the Quaker Burial Ground

Through the gate is an information board about the Quaker Burial Ground. We walked down the slope past the information board to a doorway, dated 1685, that led us into the enclosed burial ground. There was a seat here and we sat for a while in this tranquil spot looking across Nidderdale.

Here we turned right and walked up the hill along the road for about 500m to a right hand bend in the road. On the crown of the bend we turned left onto an access road. After about 250m we came to some houses on our left . The path led us up a grassy bank to by-pass the houses to a gate in the wall on our left just beyond the houses.

 

Access road towards the Quaker Burial Ground
Access road towards the Quaker Burial Ground

Path to the Quaker Burial Ground
Path to the Quaker Burial Ground

Entrance to the Quaker Burial Ground
Entrance to the Quaker Burial Ground

The Quaker Burial Ground above Dacre
The Quaker Burial Ground above Dacre

Returning from the Quaker Burial Ground
Returning from the Quaker Burial Ground

Following the path down to Dacre
Following the path down to Dacre

We followed the path down the hillside to the back garden of a house in Dacre village. The public right of way goes through this garden and out to the road in Dacre at map ref. SE192607.

Then we retraced our steps to the houses and took a path through a stile from the access road at the houses into the fields.

Following the path down to Dacre
Following the path down to Dacre

Path from a garden to the road in Dacre
Path from a garden to the road in Dacre

Turning on to the access road to Pyefield House
Turning on to the access road to Pyefield House

The access road to Pyefield House
The access road to Pyefield House

Path by-passing Pyefield House
Path by-passing Pyefield House

Path from Pyefield House down to Darley Beck
Path from Pyefield House down to Darley Beck

We turned off the access track on to a path across the fields and drops down to Darley Beck at map ref. SE199601.

We crossed the road and followed the farm access track towards Pyefield House. About 200m before the access track reaches the house our route turns right.

The access road to Pyefield House
The access road to Pyefield House

Path by-passing Pyefield House
Path by-passing Pyefield House

Path from Pyefield House down to Darley Beck
Path from Pyefield House down to Darley Beck

Darley Beck where our path meets it
Darley Beck where our path meets it

Path across the fields to Low Hirst Farm
Path across the fields to Low Hirst Farm

Joining an access track at Low Hirst Farm
Joining an access track at Low Hirst Farm

It had taken us around four and a half hours to walk including many photo stops and a very pleasant sit at the Quaker Burial Ground. We took off our muddy boots and went across to the cafe at the Darley Mill Centre for a coffee and toasted tea cake to round off the walk.

We followed the path across the fields past Low Hirst Farm to a stile through the wall by Darley Bridge back to the lay-by next to our car. The whole walk had been 11km.

Darley Beck near Low Hirst Farm
Darley Beck near Low Hirst Farm

Stile to the lay-by at the end of the walk
Stile to the lay-by at the end of the walk

Passing a weir on Darley Beck near the end of our walk
Passing a weir on Darley Beck near the end of our walk

Background Notes:
These days we are used to things being pretty much 'in your face', but the countryside isn't like that. Usually things in the countryside are understated and you have to look out carefully to notice things including wild flowers, wildlife in general and the man made artefacts that all go together to make up our countryside. This 11km circular walk is all about those lovely drystone walls that are such a feature of the Yorkshire Dales landscapes. Recently I came across a leaflet published by the Dacre Parish Council and the Nidderdale AONB, which details a route to walk around the village of Dacre near Patley Bridge. It's called 'The Dacre Walls Walk'. It's a circular walk of 11km, about six and a half miles. The leaflet describes the features of the walls to look out for along the way. The walk starts near the Darley Mill visitor centre and follows Darley Beck upstream across the fields. The walls here are typical of the field boundary walls built around 200 years ago and you will soon get to know the stone slab step stiles at each field edge. The route veers away from the beck and climbs over the hill top where there is the Thornthwaite Scout Camp Site and Outdoor Centre. From there we drop back down to Darley Beck except that here it has changed its name to Padside Beck. We cross the beck on an ancient stone pack-horse bridge. It's just wide enough for a horse and the parapet walls are quite low so as not to interfere with the packs and panniers that the horses carried. Two or three hundred years ago strings of 20 or 30 pack-horses were the main means of transport for goods across the country and its interesting to try to imagine a string of pack-horses crossing this little bridge in those times. The route follows Padside Beck upstream through some very pleasant woodland to a minor road where we turn right to walk along the road for a while. As we climb up from the beck the road side wall is different to the general field boundaries we passed earlier. Here the stones have been roughly squared off and give a more coursed appearence to the wall and the gate posts have been roughly dressed with semi-circular tops. After about 700m we reach a road junction and on the right at the junction are a pair of gate posts which that have been carefully dressed with semi-circular tops and toolled sides. These roadside walls and gateways were the boundray of lands managed by the Ingleby Estate in the 1800's. From the road Junction we cross some boulder strewn open land and then follow a farm access road to join the route of the Nidderdale Way for a few hundred metres, before dropping down across the fields towards Dacre. Just before reaching the village the path turns left to drop down from a higher field through a squeeze stile in the wall to a lower field, and it's worth stopping here to look back at the wall from the low side. The wall is founded on a series of large boulders and the wall construction on top of the boulders is much more random that other walls along our route. The leaflet explains that this section of wall is a remnant of a field boundary dating from the 1500's. From the edge of Dacre we climb up the hillside to an old Quaker Burial Ground in a walled enclosure over looking Nidderdale. The entrance is through a door in a tall stone wall with the date 1682 over the door. It's a tranquill spot with a seat to spend a few quiet moments before continuing the walk through Dacre. The walk leaflet describes other features of the dry stone walls to lookout for including a cripple hole, and stang stoups but you'll have to do the walk to find out what they are. The route continues across the fields to rejoin Darley Beck and then follows Darey Beck upstream, back to our starting point and the end of this week's walk.

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