A Walk in Nidderdale from Lofthouse
This is a 6.5 mile walk with a couple of steep, but short climbs and some lengthier but less steep ascents as you climb to Dale Edge. It provides some fantastic views of Nidderdale on generally quiet footpaths and tracks which are usually in good condition.
From the car park in Lofthouse, just behind the Crown Hotel turn right and walk up the village street. At the war memorial/ fountain turn left along the track between cottages, which leads to a small path over the River Nidd.
Cross the road and take the signposted path towards Middlesmoor, with the cricket pitch on your left and Middlesmoor church on the hill ahead. Turn right through the gap stile and head up through the fields towards Halfway House Farm. Pass through the gate and through the farmyard and follow the field up to arrive at St Chad’s church in Middlesmoor.
It’s a fairly steep climb up to this point but there are a couple of welcome benches giving great views down Nidderdale to Gouthwaite reservoir. Walk past the left hand side of the church and up the ginnel between houses to emerge at the Crown Hotel built in 1749. Go up the road past the pub until the tarred lane becomes a gravel track.
After 200 yards turn right down the vehicle track towards Northside Head Farm. Pass the back of the farm buildings and keep going along the track, through a gate. Continue to a metal gate with a wood on the left and turn right through another gate. Now go diagonally down the field along an ill defined path, heading for the stream in the dip.
As you cross the field, look up to Dale edge high across the valley. You’ll see a small building at the top. This is a shooting lodge which you’ll soon be passing! Cross the stream and aim for a stile in the far corner of the field by a tree. Cross the stile in the wall and go half left over the next field with a barn down to the right. Keep crossing the fields to a stile to the left of a gate, leading to the road. Cross the road and down to Limley Farm. Pass through the farmyard (ignore the barking dogs-they’ve always been chained up when I’ve passed!) and swing to the left behind a barn to cross a dry river bed.
You’ve now joined the Nidderdale way. Follow it left until a way mark points the path climbing right through the bracken (season dependent). Make the steep climb up to Thwaite House and pass through its grounds, to the left of the building. Follow the vehicle track, now giving great views down the dale in the opposite direction towards Scar House and Angram Reservoirs. The track eventually bends left to some isolated farm buildings, then makes a sharp turn right uphill (don’t miss this turn just after the houses).
Follow this track as it climbs high to Dale Edge. Continue along Dale Edge and past the shooting lodge you saw from the other side of the valley. After about 200 yards, a wall begins on the right. After another 100 yards take the gate on the right. Eventually the path meets a wall on the left. Keep on, with the wall to your left, until a gateway appears after a couple of hundred yards. Turn here with Gouthwaite reservoir visible in the distance. Carry on to meet a road. Turn right and follow the road back down to Lofthouse.