Like most villages in the Yorkshire Dales, Middleham in Wensleydale has footpaths galore to explore and you can make as many permutations as you wish. This walk is no exception, we’ve walked all the footpaths previously but never this particular route and it didn’t disappoint. Easy going, just one short sharp steep hill and the excitement of going over stepping stones never disappears. This, of course, is the level of the water allowing and it’s an easy detour if too deep. Take in the lovely views of Coverdale and into the far distance to the east towards the North York Moors.
As always, even with a short walk in the Yorkshire Dales, always prepare your route beforehand, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, GPS at the ready, preferably OS Maps or similar with the route indicated, map and compass popped into your rucksack and don’t forget the all important drinks and snacks.
Park your car where you can in Middleham, there’s usually a spot even if it’s busy, and make your way to Middleham Castle, famous for Richard III, via Castle Hill. Skirt round the castle and take the Six Dales Trail track to the left hand side of the castle going south. Walk past the castle and after a few yards on the right you will come to the first stile. Through here and follow the footpath through numerous stiles and fields to come out on the road into Coverdale and the Gallops. Walk along the left hand side of the road, past Manor House Farm and soon just to say visible by a bush is a stile. Through here and follow down to Hullo Bridge over the River Cover.
It’s so pretty here and there is a bench if you’re ready for a break, people swim here in the deep water by the bridge if you fancy a dip. When you’re ready, through the gate, over the bridge and turn left to walk along the banks of the River Cover. Soon a little wood appears in front of you, here the path goes up the hill, round to the left and although the stiles are on the right, go through the gate. Just here on the left is Bill’s Seat. Ponder for a while then off again diagonally, south east, to find a little bridge and stile at the far corner of the field. Into the next and follow the way to another little wood, again very pretty, into more fields, keep referring to your route as sometimes the waymarkers are a little elusive and the footpaths obscured by long grass and crops depending on the time of year of course.
You will eventually meet the road coming from East Witton into Coverdale, don’t go through the gate but turn left and walk down the edge of the field, again follow the footpath downhill, through fields coming to the river and stepping stones. Here is the decision point, don’t risk anything, your decision but it’s a hard fall if you slip and you’ll get very wet too! If the Cover is too deep, retrace your steps back up the rise a few yards and turn left and continue to walk along the river side until you reach Cover Bridge. Over the bridge, past the pub, or call, whatever, always a warm welcome, then take the next footpath on the left. Through here and follow until you come back to the stepping stones, well just before them really as you need to walk up the field prior to the stepping stones, Straight Lane. If braving the stepping stones on the other side turn right, through the stile and turn left, north, to walk up Straight Lane. Again follow the path coming eventually to a smooth track. Watch out for the way on the left through Chapel Fields, quite a large field, then into a narrow footpath with hedges either side with gardens on the left which brings you out onto the Six Dales Trail again. Turn right and head back down to the castle and Middleham and your vehicle.
We have Briar Cottage in Middleham, sleeps four, one small well behaved dog welcome. A comfortable, quirky cottage with sunny patio at the rear or of course all our Country Hideaways holiday cottages are well within travelling distance to Middleham, and you might have time to have a wander round Middleham Castle whilst you’re there. Do call me Nadine or my daughter Joanne on 01969 663559 to book over the telephone and for friendly help and advice or of course please do book online if you prefer.
See you soon!
Written By Nadine Bell