Thursday, 12 January 2012

Marske Valley, Swaledale

What a fantastic way to end a great year - an early walk, beating the crowds before heading back to New Years Eve celebration preparations.

I decided to have a further exporation of the area surrounding the picturesque village of Marske, having previously done a walk to Applegarth Scar from the village. Marske is just a couple of miles from Richmond and sits on the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This also gave me a chance to try out a walk from a book that I recently picked up, Paul Hannon's "Swaledale", published by Hillside.
The walk is a 6 mile circular that takes in a very varied range of scenery within just a few miles. I parked up behind Marske church and headed up through the village.

The road soon turns into a track, heading through Clints Woods and some very cosy looking holiday homes dotted around the countryside. The woodland must look spectacular in Summer and Autumn so this gives me one more reason to return.

After a short pleasant walk in the woods, the trees give way to a wide open vista when you enter the moorland, with limestone cliffs high above at Clints Scar. The path carries along to a farm, and here I turned downhill towards the footbridge crossing Marske Beck.

This is a prefect place to stop for a breather to look upstream and admire the waterfalls. Of course there are many famous falls in the Yorkshire Dales such as the falls at Aysgarth but the Marske Falls are a hidden gem.

After a short break I headed up the other side of the valley up along Telfit Bank and then onto Skelton Moor.

The walk along the valley offers really spectacular views, gazing ahead you can see the landscapes of Throstle Gill and the head of the valley, and behind you the scenery has opened wide with the North York Moors in the distance.

Skelton Moor feels like an incredibly remote place. Of course being only a few miles from Richmond, this isn't remoteness in the true sense of the word, but it felt like another world and is a peaceful place.

The moor rolls on as far as the eye can see, with a cluster of houses down in the valley at Helwith. Beyond the end of the moor is Fremington Edge, towering over the village of Reeth.

Upon reaching a farm, I took a wet and muddy track that took me back across the moor.

This brought me back to the top of Marske valley and a fine view of the first half of my walk. The final surprise of the walk lay just ahead, as the footpath dropped down to meet Marske Beck.

An old waterwheel stands beside the Beck just beside my crossing point of Pillimire Bridge. Once again Swaledale reveals its former life as an industrial working valley, as seen earlier with remains of some bellpits on the moor top.

The final stretch back to the car was a very muddy riverside path with a brief stop beside the Bridge back in Marske where I stepped into the water to clean the bulk of the muck off the boots.

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