Dent Station to Hawes via Great Knoutberry and Snaizeholme
Walk 6 - 10 miles - 4.5 hours - an easy upland walk from Dent Station taking in Widdale Great Tarn, Great Knoutberry Hill [672m] followed by the steady descent into Widdale and a visit to the Snaizeholme nature reserve and the possibility of sighting a red squirrel. The return uses the Little White bus from Hawes to Garsdale Station Back to Wensleydale
Alight the Settle - Carlisle train service at Dent Station and crossing over the road bridge follow the Coal Road steeply uphill passing a plantation enroute. A quick look back will give good views down Dentdale. At a sharp bend in the road turn right onto the track actually part of the Pennine Bridleway. Passing through the gate turn immediately left and leave the track proceeding uphill over rough open fell [access area - no footpath]. It will be necessary to hop over a couple of fences which cut across the otherwise open fell but a good waymark is a gate about halfway up. Continue uphill all the time with the objective of reaching the crest of the hill. Eventually the ground will level out crossing slightly boggy ground and Widdale Great Tarn should come into view. Bear right on leaving the tarn following the left hand side of the fence to still higher ground. It will be necessary to cross another fence but in a few minutes the summit of Great Knoutberry Hill will come into view. Cross over the stiles to reach the trig point.
Note:- If the prospect of a rough fell walk and some fence climbing is unappealing it is possible to ascend Great Knoutberry using the normal footpath missing out the tarn. In this case stay with the bridleway upon leaving the Coal Road. Contour around the hillside for a short while and at a gate a sheep pen turn left uphill with the fence on the left. After 3/4 mile the summit trig point will come into view.
On leaving the trig point proceed downhill in an almost southerly direction with the wall on the left. On reaching the wall at the bottom of the hill climb over the stile and turn left to follow the bridleway down into Widdale. This continues for some way becoming a forest track and eventually emerging at Widdale Foot. Cross the beck on the farm access bridge. Cross the main Hawes - Ribblehead road and follow the minor road into Snaizeholme for 1/2 mile. At Mirk Pot Farm turn left and look out for squirrels from this point. The path continues past the entrance to the house through a wooded area and turns right at the bottom of the hill along a track, skirting a private house. The route then follows a rough track alongside a new pond. Upon reaching the next wood there is a small gate and the access into the red squirrel viewing point. It would be very unlucky not to see one!
Leave the viewing point by the same route and again skirting the private house following the track. Part of the way along look for a footpath sign on the right. Turn right and proceed across the pasture to a footbridge. Crossing the bridge the path climbs diagonally uphill along the flagged footpath towards High House - in fact a ruin. The path around the farm is difficult to spot as it goes to the right of the main building under the shed itself! Thereafter the path is easy to follow passing just below a number of farmhouses and emerging at a forest. The path is well marked through the forest and climbs slightly uphill to meet a minor road into Snaizeholme. Bear left and follow the minor road to meet the main Hawes - Ribblehead road whereupon bear right and follow the main road into Hawes.
For the return to Garsdale Station the Little White Bus departs from either outside the Board Inn in the Market place or, alternatively from the Countryside Centre.
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©John Carey 2012
This page was last updated on 11-May-2012