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Circular walk from Thorpe around Barden Moor

Walk Summary
Distance:About 10 miles (16k)
Difficulty:Moderate - but starts with a long steep climb
Start: Thorpe (SE 014 618)
Time:five hours or so

Rylstone Cross

This is a half-day's walk in Lower Wharfedale, starting at the hidden hamlet of Thorpe, going along the edge of the Moors to the Obelisk and Rylstone Cross, then back toThorpe via Upper Barden Reservoir. All in all  about ten miles, so allow five hours. Even though it's on a high moor top the going is largely on surfaced paths so is reasonable even in bad weather. A great walk for adventurous kids as there's so much to see. And to cap it all, there's only one big climb and that's right at the start of the walk. The only downside is that this is private access land, so dogs are not allowed

. This was my last decent walk of 2007, and amazingly enough in the first week of November I completed the whole walk in a T-shirt. Who says global warming isn't happening.

The start point of the walk is the hamlet of Thorpe near Burnsall. Thorpe is so well hidden you could spend your entire life walking the Dales and never come across it, and even the road junction from the Barden to Burnsall road looks like a farm track with no proper signpost. But it's worth finding because it's a delightful little hamlet hidden away in a fold in the hills.

Park considerately in Thorpe and then head due South along the road marked "unsuitable for motor vehicles". After a few hundred yards the track splits right and left. Take the left fork and almost immediately there's an access board explaining the access rights to the land. It's a private agreement with the Devonshire Estate and is not subject to CROW.

War memorial above rylstone Gird your loins and walk up the lane; this is the only climb on the walk, but it's a bit of a stiff one. At the top of the lane there's a gate across the road and it changes to open moorland. We need to go right and follow the escarpment, but the track swings left. If it's bad weather follow the track to the summit, if it's nice go half right across open ground up the hill and head for the summit where you should hit the main track. Whichever way you get there, follow the track due west until you get to the escarpment. There's some interesting lead mining remains along here amd plenty of curlews in the Summer, so there's no reason to hurry. Once you reach the escarpment follow it South (right) and walk along the edge till you see the crags, the first major landmark. From the crags it's a simple walk along the wall atop the escarpment, to first the war memorial, and then aRylstone Cross. Which side of the wall you walk on is your choice, but the Eastern side is more sheltered and safe (but muddy), while the Western side is exposed and pretty bracing on a windy day;

 

 

Chimmney near Upper Barden reservoir From the cross, keep following the escarpment for a few hundred yards, and then take the bridleway running  due East across the moor. This is a nice surfaced path, and is easy walking, but also very exposed in bad weather. When you see Upper Barden Reservoir below you, walk down to it and cross the embankment to the weird Victorian house at the far end.

Take the track heading nearly due North back across the moors. It's a lovely broad track so difficult to miss, and if you need a landmark, there's a ruined building with a small "mill chimmney" attached to it (SE 019 597). 

And that brings us back to the escarpment again, almost directly above Thorpe. So just drop down using the lane we came up oroginally to conclude a bracing day's walk.

Pictures From the Walk

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