Having walked these following footpaths many times but never in the order or at the same time it turned out to be a really super walk. No steep climbs, river side footpaths, time to explore if you wish and about eight miles or more. We set of on a good October day, at times very atmospheric, prepared for anything after our last walk, from Leyburn market place in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales. Do always plan your route beforehand, wear appropriate clothing and footwear and take plenty to drink and lots of snacks.
Park your car, or alight from the Little White Bus, and make your way down to St Matthews Church. Just opposite the church you will see a footpath sign, follow this, over the Wensleydale Railway lines, through the houses and out into open fields. Follow a well worn way down hill until you see a stile on your left after a couple of fields. Take this and again progress downhill towards the buildings past Howe Hills coming out onto the road, the A6108. Please be really careful here, there is a narrow verge but when you get to the bend do cross to the other verge. Once at the junction turn left to walk past the Christmas trees and along a concrete single track road towards the sewage works. Quickly past here and just follow the path to Spennithorne past Beggar’s Mouth and again more sewage works. Doesn’t sound very good but really they are quite unnoticeable, I promise.
Once out onto the road in Spennithorne on Wood Lane, if you look left you can see The Old Horn inn a few yards away. Our route is to the right though. Follow the pavement to the end, past the interesting little garden on the right, and after a few yards you’ll come to another footpath sign. Turn right here into the arable field. Make you way down to the bottom, turn left as indicated and follow the field edge to a metal hand gate, through here then progress on into more open fields with the River Ure on your right. Just lovely along here, there were two fishermen on the far bank who waved to us, probably as glad to be out as we were. Continue along the riverside until you come to Ulshaw, right again, over the bridge to come out at Cover Bridge Inn. Cross over the road and to the right of the pub and bungalow you’ll see a stile, through here and follow a well defined path along the side of the River Cover to Straight Lane footpath. For me this is always a bit of a conundrum as I know there is a path from here to take you north west to Middleham castle but have never walked it (one to savour when I do) but when I looked over the wall as I walked up the hill on Straight Lane it is quite visible, so, you can either follow Straight Lane and take one the footpaths across to the castle later on or you can take the one from the junction of the footpath we arrived on and Straight Lane. It really is quite visible on the map and can’t understand why I have such a problem with it! Next time!! Whichever path you take you will come out at the castle on Canaan Lane follow down towards Middleham, turn left to walk in front of the castle coming out onto the main road to Coverdale, Coverham Lane.
Cross the road, keeping the little cross on your left to walk along Park Lane, past the Methodist Chapel on your left, a few yards more past the sign for Park Lane on your right then sharp right to go through a double stile and down to the church by a clipped hedge. Once in the church yard go round to the left and follow the flagged path to a little field. Keep straight on to painted metal gates, then right and swing to the left through another gate which takes you along the side of the houses on your left coming out into pastureland. Continue straight on here, don’t be tempted to follow the path to the right, you’ll come to another stile*, turn right down hill and follow the path to come out at The Busks and the A6108, walk along the road to the bridge. *One point here before you turn right to go down hill, you can of course walk further along, down and round past the Gell Pool, nothing to see here although it sounds interesting, and eventually arrive at the A6108. The advantage of going this way is that you miss most of the busy road and come out more or less at Middleham Bridge. Over the bridge and walk on the verge to the junction and then I’m sorry but you have to retrace your steps back up the fields to Leyburn. Always a different perspective to go the other way though.
Plenty of places to choose from to eat and drink in Leyburn depending on what you are looking for. Any of the café’s are great, the pubs vary but we had soup, as per usual, in the Black Swan which was very good.
If you’d like to stay nearby in one of our beautiful cottages and enjoy this walk, and indeed the many other walks you will find on the blog, check availability online or call me, Nadine, or my daughter, Joanne, for friendly help and advice on 01969 663559. See you soon!