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Heading back towards Airton along the Pennine Way
Heading back towards Airton along the Pennine Way

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Route No. 744 - Thursday 11 October 2018
Airton, Kirk Syke Lane, Bell Busk,
Pennine Way, River Aire circuit - 8km
Malhamdale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western Areas


Setting off from our parking spot to cross Airton Bridge over the River Aire heading into Airton village
Setting off from our parking spot to cross Airton Bridge over the River Aire heading into Airton village

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Looking upstream from Airton Bridge
Looking upstream from Airton Bridge

We parked at a little lay-by area just across the road bridge over the river at map ref. SD 904 592. From our parking spot we walked back across the road bridge and up to the crossroads at the village green. We crossed the main road and walked up the road opposite called Hellifield Road.

This week the weather has been rather unsettled but the forecast for this morning was good after a gloomy start. My friend, Jim, and I set out early and drove to the village of Airton on the River Aire just 4km south of Malham. From the village green in Airton we took the road down to the River Aire.

The village green in Airton
The village green in Airton

Crossroads by the village green in Airton with Hellifield Road opposite
Crossroads by the village green in Airton with Hellifield Road opposite

Old village pump on Hellifield Road
Old village pump on Hellifield Road

Turning off Hellifield Road on to Watery Lane
Turning off Hellifield Road on to Watery Lane

Recently fallen ash tree by Kirk Syke Lane
Recently fallen ash tree by Kirk Syke Lane

Continuing on our way along Kirk Syke Lane
Continuing on our way along Kirk Syke Lane

We passed a large ash tree that had blown down in the recent high winds and passed some stone farm buildings about 400m beyond Kirk Syke farm. There was a large herd of cattle in the field by the lane here with a fine looking Charolais bull. A little further on we passed more stone farm buildings and beyond them the lane became a grassy track between hedges.

After about 150m we turned left on to Watery Lane and walked along this lane for about 250m. Here we took the right hand fork in the road following an unsurfaced farm access lane called Kirk Syke Lane. We walked along the walled lane and after about 600m we passed Kirk Syke farm on our right.

Old English Longhorn cattle grazing next to Hellifield Road
Old English Longhorn cattle grazing next to Hellifield Road

Bearing right off Watery Lane on to Kirk Syke Lane
Bearing right off Watery Lane on to Kirk Syke Lane

Charolais bull with a herd of cattle next to Kirk Syke Lane
Charolais bull with a herd of cattle next to Kirk Syke Lane

Farm buildings on Kirk Syke Lane
Farm buildings on Kirk Syke Lane

Beyond the farm buildings Kirk Syke Lane became a grassy track
Beyond the farm buildings Kirk Syke Lane became a grassy track

Following the path towards Bell Busk
Following the path towards Bell Busk

Timber stalls inside the barn
Timber stalls inside the barn

A left turn across the fields towards Bell Busk
A left turn across the fields towards Bell Busk

Another old stone barn by the path
Another old stone barn by the path

We continued towards the village of Bell Busk and the grassy track became just a path across the fields. We passed another old stone barn and came to a bridge over Otterburn Beck.

We came to an old stone barn and had a look over the gate where we saw some timber stalls. The structure of these stalls suggested that they were of some considerable age.

An old stone barn by the path
An old stone barn by the path

Making our way along the path towards Bell Busk
Making our way along the path towards Bell Busk

Path across the fields towards Bell Busk
Path across the fields towards Bell Busk

Otterburn Beck seen from the bridge
Otterburn Beck seen from the bridge

Bridge over Otterburn Beck as we approached Bell Busk
Bridge over Otterburn Beck as we approached Bell Busk

Farm buildings on the edge of Bell Busk
Farm buildings on the edge of Bell Busk

We turned left along the road away from Bell Busk
We turned left along the road away from Bell Busk

We walked along the road for about 300m to a road junction where we turned left to re-cross the Otterburn Beck on the road bridge close to the beck's confluence with the River Aire.

From the beck the route was along a farm access track which took us past some farm buildings to the road in the village of Bell Busk where we turned left on to the road.

Track between the houses to the road in Bell Busk
Track between the houses to the road in Bell Busk

Following the road from bell Busk
Following the road from bell Busk

Turning left to cross the road bridge over Otterburn Beck
Turning left to cross the road bridge over Otterburn Beck

Over the bridge we turned right towards the River Aire
Over the bridge we turned right towards the River Aire

Just past Aire Bridge Farm we turned left towards ’The Thack‘
Just past Aire Bridge Farm we turned left towards ’The Thack‘

Just beyond the farm we turned left off the road heading to 'The Thack' which consists of some cottages that seem now to be holiday lets.

Just over the bridge we turned right along a road to the River Aire. We crossed the River Aire on the Bell Busk Bridge then continued along the road past Aire Bridge Farm on our left.

Crossing the bridge over the River Aire
Crossing the bridge over the River Aire

Drive way to the cottages at The Thack
Drive way to the holiday cottages at The Thack

Just past the cottages we turned right through the field gate ahead
Just past the cottages we turned right through the field gate ahead

Gate to the path next to the River Aire
Gate to the path next to the River Aire

Path next to the River Aire from The Thack
Path next to the River Aire from The Thack

Here we came to the corner of a dry stone field wall on our right where we turned right round the corned of the wall and began to follow a path next to the wall, up the hillside & past a large ash tree.

We turned left along the access drive to the cottages and just beyond the cottages we went through a field gate on our right to a path next to the River Aire that we followed for about 200m.

Looking back to the holiday cottages at The Thack
Looking back to the cottages at The Thack

Following the path to the right round the corner of the wall
Following the path to the right round the corner of the wall

Following the path up the hillside next to the wall
Following the path up the hillside next to the wall

Continung along the path up the hillside by the wall
Continuing along the path up the hillside by the wall

Path from the gate climbing up the hillside to a gap in the wall
Path from the gate climbing up the hillside to a gap in the wall

Path over the brow of the hill to a gate beyond
Path over the brow of the hill to a gate beyond

After about 150m the path bent to our right to a gap in the wall at the top edge of the field. Through the gap there was a narrow path heading north east across the brow of the hill for about 300m to a gate in the wall just over the brow of the hill.

We passed through a field gate into a larger sheep pasture and we continued climbing up the hillside with the field boundary wall on our right. At the top right hand corner of the field we passed through the field gate and turned to our left following a path up the steep hillside.

Gate at the top of the field where we turned left
Gate at the top of the field where we turned left

Gap in the wall on our right near the brow of the hill
Gap in the wall on our right near the brow of the hill

Gate just over the brow of the hill where we turned left
Gate just over the brow of the hill where we turned left

Flock of Suffolk sheep as we walked towards the Pennine Way route
Flock of Suffolk sheep as we walked towards the Pennine Way route

We came through this gate & walked towards the Pennine Way
We came through this gate & walked towards the Pennine Way

The Pennine Way route across the field full of livestock
The Pennine Way route across the field full of livestock

These two gates took us across the access to the field on our left
These two gates took us across the access to the field on our left

The path dropped down heading diagonally across the field to the north western corner next to the road at map ref. SD 911 575. At the corner of the field we passed through a pair of gates on either side of the access to another field on our left. We continued along the Pennine Way route down the hillside a on a path at the left hand side of the road.

We passed through the gate and turned sharp right around the field wall to a finger post sign about 100m away. At this sign we were on the Pennine Way where we turned left and followed the Pennine Way route across the field. There was a flock of Suffolk sheep grazing in the field and a herd of young beef cattle. The path took us through the herd of cattle that were reluctant to make way for us at first but we continued on our way without incident.

Finger post sign where we joined the Pennine Way route
Finger post sign where we joined the Pennine Way route

Path dropping down to the NW corner of the field
Path dropping down to the NW corner of the field

Pennine Way path dropping down next to the road
Pennine Way path dropping down next to the road

We turned left through the gate towards a footbridge over the River Aire
We turned left through the gate towards a footbridge over the River Aire

Riverside path to a footbridge
Riverside path to a footbridge

Path along the west side of the River Aire
Path along the west side of the River Aire

Continuing along the path on the west side of the river
Continuing along the path on the west side of the river

We followed the path along the river bank for about 700m to some steps and a gated squeeze stile on to the road. At the road we turned left and crossed the River Aire on the road bridge called Newfield bridge.

At the bottom of the slope we turned left following the path to a footbridge over the River Aire. Across the bridge we headed northwards along the western bank of the river.

Footbridge across the River Aire
Footbridge across the River Aire

Following the path along the west side of the River Aire
Following the path along the west side of the River Aire

Nearing the stile to the road at Newfield Bridge
Nearing the stile to the road at Newfield Bridge

Newfield Bridge that the Pennine Way crosses over the River Aire
Newfield Bridge that the Pennine Way crosses over the River Aire

Crossing the River Aire on Newfield Bridge
Crossing the River Aire on Newfield Bridge

There were various styles of stile along the path
There were various styles of stile along the path

The last bend in the river near the end of our walk
The last bend in the river near the end of our walk

There were some steps up to a gated squeeze stile in the wall leading on to the road opposite the lay-by where we had parked. The whole route had been just a fraction over 8km and it had taken us around three hours to walk.

Just across the Newfield Bridge we turned left off the road to continue along the Pennine Way riverside path along the eastern side of the river. We followed this path through the riverside fields from Newgate Bridge for about 1.2km to the road bridge over the River Aire at Airton.

Over the bridge we turned left along the east bank of the river
Over the bridge we turned left along the east bank of the river

There were various styles of stile along the path
There were various styles of stile along the path

The stile through the wall ahead is at the end of our walk
The stile through the wall ahead is at the end of our walk

Steps to a gated squeeze stile to the road by our parking spot at the end of our walk
Steps to a gated squeeze stile to the road by our parking spot at the end of our walk

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