Gargrave walk June 14th

A group of 6 of us set off from Gargrave on a rather grey morning.    

The route initially took us a short way along the Leeds Liverpool canal then across field paths past Brockabank (a very fine 17th century farmhouse) to Friars Head. Friars Head farmhouse is a superb 17th Century yeoman's farmhouse. This house is said to stand on the site of a grange (monastic farm) that once belonged to the monks of Furness Abbey.

Turning right at Friars Head we followed footpaths across fields to Hills Lane which we crossed to continue towards Winterburn Reservoir.

We has an elevenses stop by Hetton Common Beck.  The weather was definitely improving and the rain which had been forecast didn’t appear and as the day wore on we even had some blue sky.  Then began the steady climb to Hetton Common Head and Weets Top.   Leaving Weets Top we passed the remains of a medieval monastic wayside cross which stands near the junction of five townships so may have been important as a boundary stone as well as a route marker to and from the Fountains Abbey estates on Malham Moor.  

Having gained all that height we now lost it by following Hawthorns Lane down to Gordale Bridge. Here, after some gentle persuasion from Les, we agreed we should support local enterprise and all stopped for hot drinks from the van parked in the lay-by. Suitably refreshed we now followed the popular route past Cowden Flats Barn and Sheriff Hill to reach the limestone pavement at Malham Cove.

Crossing (carefully) the limestone pavement we descended the steps to the bottom of the cove.  We all enjoyed a looking at the peregrine falcons through the telescopes set up by the RSPB then decided it was time to make our way back to Malham village and then follow the Pennine Way to Gargrave.

This is a very pretty stretch of Pennine Way, walking through fields full of buttercups and following the river Aire for a couple of miles before heading off across Eshton Moor and Harrows Hill.

We arrived back at the cars at 4pm having walked 17 miles.  It was a lovely walk. Good company, lovely scenery and no rain.


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