What a truly wonderful walk. Was it the weather? Was it the terrain? Was it the fantastic views? All these things made this walk quite special. It’s been years since I’ve walked in upper Nidderdale, I’d nearly forgotten how beautiful it can be. Right at the top where the lush grass changes to moorland we set off on our, albeit ten mile, walk. We parked just at the side of the road on Trapping Hill before Lofthouse, we came over from Masham, and followed the footpath to Middlesmoor and beyond.
Make your way down into Lofthouse, soon a memorial will come into sight and Little Fountains Cottage, turn right here on the footpath. Soon a steady incline will take you to Middlesmoor with the church beckoning on the hill, continue always to ascend through the village, finally passing all the houses onto Nidderdale Way on Moor Lane. This bridleway will take you to Scar House Reservoir, we remarked how big the moor is, not a place to be lost if the weather is misty, but not today, we could see for miles and miles. Lost in thought, and finally descending, a view to beat all others in Nidderdale gradually appears. Of course, man made nearly a hundred years ago, the reservoir and dam, it was still a breath taking sight. Over the dam itself, bear left a little and up, and then right to continue on the Nidderdale Way. You have choices on here, you can either keep going on the moor track along Dale Edge to the road, continue to follow the Nidderdale Way, or as we did, a little of both, well a lot really!
We left the Nidderdale Way after a while continuing along the track, Dale Edge, until you come to the Shooting House (marked on the map above Thrope Edge), here we took the footpath off to the right. If you have dodgy knees (sorry!) you may not be happy going down here as it was really quite steep. Near the bottom of the hill go through to the gate and on towards Thrope Farm. Once at the farm, turn left into Thrope Lane, a grassy track, picking up the Nidderdale way again, so pretty along here too, the autumn colours just perfect. Keep going until you come out at the road and for us our parked car! Phew! It was quite a challenging walk for whatever reason but really most enjoyable and a lot of time was spent just gazing at the views.
We have cottages quite near to this walk, all those in Masham of course, The Hay Barn in Grewelthorpe, Mistle House near Galphay. Come up from Ripon from The Hay Loft, but I would say that from any of our cottages this walk would make a great day out. There is The Crown Hotel in Lofthouse to revive those weary legs, any excuse, but we didn’t have time as one of our party was going off to York in the evening and needed to get spruced up!
As always I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear suitable clothing and footwear, definitely take plenty to drink and snacks to keep you going along the way. If you’re walking in summer and it’s a hot day it is very exposed so plenty of sun cream and a hat would be wise. Above all else though………. Enjoy!!