Thursday, 23 June 2011

Aysgarth Falls walk

Our recent trip to Malham Cove and Gordale Scar took us right through the heart of Wensleydale. Along the way we passed some spectactular locations and made notes to come back and visit. This last weekend we made good on that promise and headed out to visit the Aysgarth Falls. I was particularly keen to get a closer look at Penhill. This hill is under 600m in height but it stands in isolation giving it the prominence sufficient for me to see it every morning just before getting to work from the hills above Richmond.

looking across Wensleydale with Penhill in the distance

Our walk started at the village of West Burton. The weather was holding out and as we set off the sun came out and set off the colours of Wensleydale very well. West Burton is a beautiful little village and home to the "cat pottery" which Claire was keen on visiting - closed on Saturdays unfortunately for us.

walking through West Burton
We headed out across the meadows in the direction of Aysgarth. Looking back gave us a great view of Penhill and in the distance we could make out the hills along Wensleydale.

across the meadows of Wensleydale

We crossed several fields and a lot of stiles, over a narrow bridge at Eshington. A steep climb ensued which led us over the meadows and after a mile or so the village of Aysgarth came into view. We were keen to see the falls, so headed through the village, through the churchyard and along the meadows towards the river Ure.

St. Andrew's Church Aysgarth

The path was very well maintained and gave beautiful views of the surrounding countryside - but unfortunately not the falls! It seems the woodland along the south bank of the river is being regenerated and as a result the footpath is out of bounds. We eventually joined the banks of the river and I headed back towards the lower falls for a couple of pictures.

the spectacular river Ure
A few metres later we were headed back across the pastures. The path took us beside the spectacular Sorrelsykes follies. These three follies were built some time between 1860 and 1921 and give an extra curiosity to this walk.

Sorrelsykes Follies
The path took us through another three meadows passing a barn with this piece of vintage farming material - if you know what this is please let me know!

We were soon back in West Burton and walked back to the car at the village green. We stopped for our picnic at the magnificent village cross beside the stocks. Having come here to see the falls, we drove back to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Visitors Centre. At this point it was raining heavily, so we took shelter and had a look around the excellent centre.

Aysgarth Upper Falls
The Falls were well signposted and so we headed first to look at the Upper Falls before returning to the visitors centre and walking through the woods to visit the Middle and Lower Falls.

Aysgarth Lower Falls
 This made for a great day out with some easy walking and lots to look at.

Aysgarth Middle Falls

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