Thursday, 30 August 2012

Marske, Marrick and Lower Swaledale

Here is a recap of a walk I did shortly before breaking my ankle. I've been slowly making my way around Swaledale this year as it's an incredible valley that packs so many delights and hidden gems - Gunnerside Gill, Calver Hill, Crackpot Hall and its commandeering view over the steep head of the top of the valley, the ruins of its industrial legacy just to mention a couple.

We took the road along the top of the valley from Richmond to Marske which is scenic enough in itself. The tiny village of Marske is a great starting point for a number of hikes. Our walk on this nice Summer's day was a circular route from Marske to Marrick and back and is another walk in Paul Hannon's excellent "Swaledale" walking guide. You can pick this book up in most good walking web stores, for example in the excellent Walking Boots webstore. (Note: No affiliation)

We headed out of the village a short way along the minor road towards the Richmond-Leyburn road before heading off across the fields. This offered a great view of Applegarth Scar, the cliffs of Side Bank Wood leading up to Downholme Moor and our first glimpse of the river Swale.

Looking back we could see the pastures and lush fields that surround Marske and the impressive clock tower of Marske Hall. We crossed the minor road at the historic Downholme Bridge.

The next part of the walk saw a change in the landscape. We left the lush pastures behind us and with the river Swale accompanying us on our left, we slowly climbed up onto higher ground in the valley giving us extensive views across the moorland of Swaledale and it was an impressive view indeed.

The great views continued all the way past the recently renovated Marrick Park and a restored double limekiln, all the way to the village of Marrick. Much like Marske, this picture postcard village is a beauty and seems to be lost somewhere in time.

Our return route followed the Coast To Coast route. We climbed back up out of the village onto the meadowland and this meant some classic Swaledale scenery, big meadows and stone barns.

I love this aspect of the Dales, wide open undulating meadows that offer massive views from the tops and images of a beautiful working landscape wherever you look, with sheep, barns, haybales, drystone walls and farms all around.

From here it was a simple if at times steep walk back down through the fields and onto the road taking us back to the car at Marske. Once again it was a pleasure to explore the diverse scenery that Swaledale has to offer.

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