PASSING by the entrance to an amazing underground system for cavers is just one of the highlights of this stunning stroll which starts and finishes in Kettlewell.

Start from the village centre.

From the car park, head into the village and leave the main road before the bridge by the two hotels, turning along the road to the right.

Fork left at the maypole to the King’s Head, where you turn right on a lane alongside Cam Gill Beck. This then becomes a track alongside a bridge, soon crossing inflowing Dowber Gill Beck. Here, take a little beck-side path to a wall-stile.

Turn right to begin a long mile and a quarter with the beck. After an early stile, a grand path enters the side valley’s tight confines.

Virtually no height is gained until Providence Pot is reached, either by crossing the beck just before it, or remaining more enterprisingly on the left bank.

A manhole cover in the stream guards the pothole’s vertical shaft, key to an amazing underground system for cavers. The slopes above are scarred with lead workings. Just behind is a confluence beneath rougher slopes, but your path is the clear one up the left-hand slope alongside the pothole.

The path soon levels out to reveal bouldery Hag Dyke Edge, with Great Whernside’s summit ridge back to the right.

Advance on a thin path to Hag Dyke just ahead. One of the highest buildings in the country, it has been a Scouts’ outdoor centre since 1947.

Without entering its confines, climb the path up the steep scarp to some cairns on Hag Dyke Edge. Great Whernside’s summit appears ahead, and the path crosses a moist plateau before a pleasant slant, initially on a built path.

Easing out past boulders, you soon gain the immense cairn and OS column at 2310ft/704m atop larger boulders. The view is largely one of fells, from the nearby mass of Buckden Pike to the distant Three Peaks. Retrace steps to Hag Dyke, and from a gate by sheep pens, a small gate at the far side of the building sees you emerge at the front.

Follow the access track out to a gate, then leave it for a broad path dropping half-left. Its course down these pastures can be discerned almost all the way, keeping for the most part just above the drop to your outward route.

The path drops down through a collapsed wall and down to a small gate, along a wall-side to a stile and on to another small gate. As the wall climbs away and open slopes take over, the path is now firmly atop the steep drop to Dowber Gill.

Beneath a marker post on the end, take the main, right fork to slant away from the gill. This drops to a gate/stile, then winds steeply down to a gate in a wall.

Continue down and across to a wall-stile, through which a path curves down a final pasture to rejoin the outward route.

Vary the finish by crossing the bridge and returning on another back road.

l It is believed the name Kettlewell is Anglo Saxon and comes from Chetelewelle, which means a bubbling spring or stream.

Signs of the farming methods of Romano-British and early medieval agriculture can still be seen in terraced fields to the north and the south of the village.


Start: Kettlewell

Distance: 6 miles

Map: OS Explorer OL30

Yorkshire Dales