A Walk in Wharfedale from Kettlewell
6.5 miles of walking between Upper Wharfedale and Littondale with a fairly steep ascent out of Kettlewell and a semi-climb up the limestone slopes of Park Scar from Arncliffe. The reward is some fantastic views over both Dales and an enjoyable downhill homeward run back to Kettlewell. Expect the walk to take between 3 and 3.5 hours.
From the Blue Bell pub at Kettlewell, cross the bridge and pass the garage on the right to head out of the village. Follow the road and look for a signpost on the right to Hawkswick. Follow this path up through the woods. You’ll eventually reach a ruined stone building with the path marked with a fading yellow circle. Pass to the left of the building then head half left, through a gap in a tumbledown wall. Follow the path uphill to the field corner. Continue uphill, winding steeply to a ladder stile by another broken down wall. Bear left to another stile and head uphill on a grassy path beneath limestone crags, and cross a stile in the wall.
There are now fantastic views down Wharfedale to the left, with the Christian retreat, Scargill House prominent in the vallley below. Follow the obvious path past two stone cairns to arrive at a ladder stile. Cross this and head downhill with Littondale now unfolding before you, and Kilnsey Crag visible on the left. The path is obvious as it heads down towards the village of Hawkswick. The track bends to the left as it arrives in the village, follow it to the lane.
Cross and look for the small stone road bridge. Cross this and carry on up the lane for a couple of hundred yards, to reach a footpath sign. Follow this to the right and a footbridge over the river. Don’t cross the bridge, but head through the fields with the river on your right on an onbious path, all the way to Arncliffe. Arriving at the road, turn towards the church and the river.
Cross the bridge over the river and turn right over a gated stile with a signpost for Kettlewell. Follow the path through fields and up into the limestone woodland of park scar. Climb up through the woods with great views of Littondale below. The limestone can be slippery after rain, especially near the summit where it can start to take on the appearance of a small waterfall. At the top of the woods, follow the rough path up towards the right to a stone wall. Follow this uphill until you arrive at a gate. Go through the gate and carry on along the rough path to a broken down wall. At the wall, turn left and walk uphill to meet a grassy track coming in from the left. Follow this track uphill to arrive at a step stil in a stone wall. Cross this and follow the grassy track as it heads downhill with fantastic views of Wharfedale unfolding to left and right, with Kettlewell appearing in the valley below.
The path descends to join a wall on the right. Ignore the main track going through a gate, and cross the wall lower down on a ladder stile. Follow the path down towards Kettlewell which is visible in the valley below. Eventually you’ll cross a track to reach a limestone scar. Pick your way carefully down through a narrow gap known locally as ‘the slit’. Follow the path down to a stile and the road back into Kettlewell beyond it.