A walk of about ten miles walking through pastureland, over moors and past two reservoirs with stunning views for most of the way. Please do plan your route before you set off, where appropriate clothing and good boots (it can get wet in places) and of course, drinks and snacks if not a packed lunch.
We parked in Ilton south west of Masham at a convenient little layby just in sight of the parish notice board. Here the road forks, take the right hand fork and walk along here for perhaps a quarter of mile down a steep hill until you come to a wood on the left with a wooden footbridge on the right. Take the footpath off to the left and follow to High Knowle and the Bivouac. Here you join the Ripon Rowel walk, cross over the road, keeping to the Ripon Rowel, following the map carefully especially when nearing Leighton Hall. Eventually you are out onto the road, turn left here and follow the road past Leighton Reservoir, the views just get better as you go along, over the large bridge and start to climb away from the water, past Pott Hall Farm with Roundhill Reservoir coming into sight in the valley, more or less at the top of the hill there is a ‘dead end’ road off to the left. Go along here, past the two dwellings, Moor Head Cottage and East Summer Side and finding the signs for the Six Dales Trail.
Your route unfolds in front of you across the little valley with a ruined farm, Low Ash Head and associated buildings, your next destination. Keep in mind that the pathway you can see taking you up onto the moor and past Coombs Craggs and Shooting Houses is where you want to be as the signage around Low Ash Head can be difficult to spot. Once round the buildings and on the ascent do stop to look at the views, maybe to get your breath but just to take in the sight of the reservoirs and over across to the North Yorks Moors. Once at Shooting Houses continue still on the Six Dales Trails until you come to a junction, here leave the Six Dales Trails and follow the track in a more or less easterly direction. Keep going along this track until you come to another junction, take the left here, north north east. Not far to go now! Again follow the track after while leaving the moor, back to pasture land eventually coming to tarmac, follow to the right and to The Firs on the right of the road, appropriately named as the cottage stands by a little copse of fir trees. Follow the road, the few houses of Ilton can be seen and soon your car will be in sight too!
Would you like to stay somewhere near? Have a look for availability here or ring me Nadine or my daughter Joanne on 01969 663559 for friendly help and advice.