Look Outs and Coffins | Wednesday 8 September 2021

Walk Leader: Jill King
Participants: 6
Mileage: 13 miles
Ascent: 1,700 ft
Walk Report: Jill King


Following the welcome on another glorious day in Wensleydale, I showed the group a piece of galena (lead sulphide), the lead ore that was once mined on the slopes of Penhill before it was transported over to the Braithwaite chimney at Cote in Waldendale for smelting.

After the ascent of Capplebank and a brief flat spell to Penhill Farm (no racehorses out on the Gallops today), we started the gradual climb up among the spoil heaps and the well engineered sunken track to the ridge on Penhill. There is a path, not shown on the OS map, that follows the wall, passed the Height of Hazely and down to meet the track from Coverdale. Here a very steep and stony descent led us down to the Smelting  mill chimney and the valley below. We continued through fields above West Burton to join Morpeth gate to reach the Preceptory. There are foundations here of a community of possibly lepers of the order of the Knights Templar here linked with Layrus (Larius the leper) and some well preserved small body shaped coffins.

As we dropped further down into the valley, the temperature was rising considerably and justified time out for an ice-cream/ cup of tea stop at Berry’s farm shop. A lane and bridleway were negotiated to bring us out in the centre of West Witton. A few minutes later we were back to the cars and the end of an excellent walk with excellent company. Thank you everyone.

Photos by Eva Bowes