A Walk in Wharfedale from Burnsall
This is a 6 mile walk taking in a variety of Wharfedale scenery, with a stretch along the river followed by a steep ascent to higher ground and an opportunity to cross Appletreewick pasture. There’s a short period (10 minutes) of road walking on the B6265, compensated for by the chance to take in two of Wharfedale’s best known villages- Burnsall and Appletreewick.
Start at Burnsall. Park over the bridge from the village in the lane leading to Appletreewick or in the car park by the river. Look for the footpath sign pointing to Appletreewick, across the filed by the river. Follow this sign through fields, past a farm, alongside the river and across a small footbridge to eventually arrive at Appletreewick, by Mason’s campsite.
Turn left towards the village at the fingerpost. The path the leads along the side of the campsite to arrive in a lane. Turn right here, up the hill to the Craven Arms at Appletreewick. Immediately before the pub, next to the village stocks is a stony track leading uphill. Follow this track up a steep incline to arrive at meadows at the top giving great views of the surrounding countryside. This is Appletreewick pasture.
Follow the track as it swings away to the left. Keep following the same route until you arrive at a cross track with fingerposts and gates. You will follow the sign for Dibbles Bridge, 1.5 miles straight on in the same direction (ignore the side tracks to New Road and Hartlington). Keep following the path to arrive at an old stone bridge, which takes the path over a small beck. In the meadow beyond, the path splits into two, with a third branch eventually appearing. These all lead in the same direction to Dibbles Bridge so you can’t get lost, but the lower one heads down towards the river in the valley below. The higher path is a better ‘as the crow flies’ option, though the higher ground can get boggy after rain. Your target is a step stile in a wall at the other side of a small valley with a stream and some more marshy ground.
Cross the step stile and head straight on, to a gateway between drystone walls (no gates).Through the gateway you’ll see the next step stile half left ahead and the cottages beside Dibbles Bridge beyond it. Descend to arrive at Dibbles Bridge on the B6265.
Dibbles Bridge is a stone bridge on the B6265, on a steep bend, at the foot of a 1:6 gradient Fancarl Top. On 27 May 1975 the bridge was the scene of an horrific accident when a bus full of pensioners from Teeside, en route for Grassington, failed to negotiate the gradient and severe bend in the road and crashed through the bridge, landing on its roof in the beck below. Thirty-one elderly passengers and the driver were killed, and thirteen others injured. It remains one of the the worst-ever road accident in the United Kingdom by number of people killed.
Turn left up the road. There is no path and it’s a busy road so take great care. Follow the road as it bends up to the left and past a farm on the right. Keep going, until you see another farm on the left. This is Turfgate farm and you’ll take a left here with a signpost to Holes Beck and Hartlington Raikes. Walk up the drive and to the left of the house. Your exit from the premises is hidden. It’s to the top right of the drive, concealed by bushes. Make your way through here to arrive in a field, giving fine views of the B6265 as it climbs Fancarl Hill and the pastures you’ve earlier crossed.
Pass through a broken wall to see a barn on the right with a metal gate. Cross the ladder stile next to the gate, with another ladder stile immediately left. Keep following the footpath signs to keep heading down the fields and a succession of ladder stiles. Eventually you arrive at a small beck with a fingerpost. You will take the path to Hartlington Raikes, across the stream by a foot bridge and up the hill in the next field. This is quite a steep climb but again, provides some fantastic views of the surrounding landscape.
At the top of the hill, look for a step stile in the wall on the right. Cross this and follow the footpath sign along the wall to another ladder stile. You’ll now see Raikes Farm ahead and downhill. Head down the fields to arrive in the lane by the farm. Turn left and follow the lane past the farm and downhill to pass Raikes Acre B+B.
Here look right and find a gap stile in the wall. Go through this, and half right to another gap stile by a gate. Go through this stile and turn left. You’ll start to drop downhill with fantastic views of Burnsall opening up before you. Drop down towards the river and follow the path along it to arrive back at the bridge where you started.