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A Quiet Walk in Dentdale

March 16, 2015

At last, a dry clear and sunny day.

Dent (c) John Bainbridge 2015

Dent (c) John Bainbridge 2015

So we returned to Dentdale. Our intention was to do a low-level walk that features in Wainwright’s “Walks in Limestone Country”, though we altered the last half to take in more of the Dales Way.

Church Bridge at Dent (c) John Bainbridge 2015

Church Bridge at Dent (c) John Bainbridge 2015

Now, I love walking guidebooks. My bookshelves heave with them. The older the better. But while I might use the given routes as an inspiration, I invariably add, subtract and otherwise fiddle.

Anyway, this is not a long walk, and some of it on lanes. No more than a half-dozen miles, but it is a very pretty route of grand views over rising fells, crashing waters as rivers tears through Limestone gullies, waterfalls and ancient farmhouses. And a fair bit of history.

In Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

In Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

Setting out from Dent village as the church bells rang, we crossed Church Bridge and followed the lane to Scotchergill Bridge –  and then down to the River Dee.

Look out for the lime kilns as you walk, and the milestones.

A very wild stretch of river over the white limestone, with great flat slabs of rock and longer shutes with water channeling swiftly along them.

The first footbridge over the river is called Tommy’s Bridge, but we didn’t cross it at this point (and no one seems to know who Tommy was). Then on to a second footbridge, a narrower plank bridge with handrails, called Lenny’s Leap (and nobody seems to know who Lenny was either).

River Dee in Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

River Dee in Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

We didn’t cross the river here but walked up at steep field to a farmhouse called Basil Busk – a wonderful name for a house – and then back along the lane, passing Gib’s Hall – now a ruin, but once the home of the author William Howitt, author of “Rural Life in England” and his wife Mary, a formidable and renowned scholar of the Danish and Norse languages in Victorian times.

Gib's Hall in Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

Gib’s Hall in Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

As the lane dipped Broadfield House came into view, below the line of the fells. Quite an impressive place, what might have been called a ‘Gentleman’s Residence’ in times past.

There are some old stretches of estate walling here and we could hear the loud noise of a waterfall. Taking a path through the low wall on the right hand side of the lane we came to the falls (or force as it’s called in this neck of the woods – Viking country here!) known as Ibbeth Peril; the waters tumbling furiously into a rounded cauldron of limestone rock.

Just above the falls a footbridge crossed the Dee and led out on to a lane heading back towards Dent. As we followed it there were grand views of the fells above Dentdale, the last of the snow still clinging to the heights of Great Coum.

Wainwright, in his guide, follows this lane much of the way to the Deepdale Beck, passing Whernside Manor, before heading back to the Dee, but we turned off the lane sooner, following the route of the Dales Way (84 miles from Ilkley to Windermere) back down to the footbridge at Lenny’s Leap, where we crossed the river.

Ibbeth Peril in Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

Ibbeth Peril in Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

We retraced our footsteps to Tommy’s Bridge, where we crossed back again, following the way up a steep slope and over to Mill Bridge – the farmhouse here was a knitting school in Victorian times – and then down the true left bank of the Deepdale Beck to its confluence with the Dee.

By now the church tower of Dent was within view and a pleasant riverside walk soon brought us back there.

This is a grand walk, the footpaths here and about allowing you to make quite a number of variations to Wainwright’s original route and our slight alternative. A walk that might be enjoyed at various seasons of the year, through a part of England that hasn’t changed much in a century or so.

The Heart of Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

The Heart of Dentdale (c) John Bainbridge 2015

And if you do happen to know who Tommy and Lenny were please let me know?


6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2015 7:36 pm

    Lovely countryside.

  2. March 17, 2015 3:56 pm

    It is indeed. And a lot to explore there, regards John.

  3. March 18, 2015 8:18 pm

    Funny how these names come about. It looks a lovely walk.

  4. March 19, 2015 7:33 am

    Yes, a very pleasant area and lots of paths in all directions, plus open ground on the higher fells.

  5. March 19, 2015 8:16 pm

    I always think Dentdale is the prettiest of all the Dales. Haven’t been for a few years though 😦

  6. March 20, 2015 7:35 am

    I think it’s very attractive in so many ways. And such a variety of walks too.

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