THIS is one of those surprising walks, of which there are so many in our beautiful part of the world, writes Lesley Tate.

It is one of those where you start off in a relatively built up area and are almost immediately plunged into stunning, open countryside with not another soul for miles and miles - in fact, the very thing that makes Craven the 'happiest place' in the country to live - according to the recent Happiness and Wellbeing Index. It starts off from Hellifield, where there are plenty of places to eat and drink, and crosses over the railway line straight into farmland, and then onto Hellifield Moor, before crossing over Newton Moor and back towards Hellifield. There are some splendid high points, with lovely views of Pendle Hill, over the border in Lancashire, and some lovely, old wall lined tracks to walk along. Footpath signs are not the best, so do make sure you take a proper map. There is also plenty of wildlife to see, I saw several birds of prey, and seeing as its the time of the year, lots of interesting fungi. Do be wary of the livestock in the fields, there was plenty about when I did the walk, at the end of September, including a herd of Highland Cattle - so do take extra care if you have dogs with you, keep them under control, and clean up after them.

Step by Step:

1 At the top of Haw Grove, cross over the railway line - being very careful to follow instructions, and to listen out for trains, and follow Haw Lane, which climbs gradually uphill, passing through a wooded area and fields on both sides. Continue along the track and a couple of five bar gates, and into an open field. Head across the field towards the wooded area, and pass to the right and then behind it, going left along the footpath and up to a gate.

2 Follow path across moorland (Hellifield Moor) and through another gate to join a wall lined track, stay on track for a while until you see a footpath off to the left, marked Long Preston.

3 Footpath is not awfully clear here, but you want to head across field to the right of distant Pendle Hill and heading towards the far wind turbines. Over stile in fence (not the best for a large dog) and across field along path to gate in wall. Sharp left here, instead of straight ahead to Long Preston, and down to a footbridge over beck. Follow well trodden path as it goes through a new plantation, keeping to right of wall and heading again towards Pendle Hill. Path winds along, with beck down in valley to your right. Follow path, which meets wall coming in from left, and down to wall gate.

4 Over gate and head towards farm buildings off to right over field. Join track and then take footpath across fields and down towards the railway line at Hellifield.

5 Under railway bridge and join road heading back towards village.


Location: Hellifield, Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Distance: About seven miles, allow around three hours.

Steps: 15,000

Level of difficulty: Easy

Parking: There is limited parking at the top of Haw Grove for no more than two cars, but it does involve crossing the railway track, so be careful to read the instructions very carefully first. Otherwise, parking in Hellifield itself.

Terrain: Lanes, farm tracks, fields, some marshy

Livestock: Cattle and sheep - dogs must be kept under close control, and be sure to clean up after them.

Refreshments: Hellifield

OS Map: OL 2 Yorkshire Dales, Southern and Western areas.