NESTLED between Coverdale and Colsterdale and south of Lower Wensleydale sits an area of remote moorland and rarely explored walking. You are unlikely to see any other person but the birds, grouse and sounds of nature provide ample company.

I parked near the small village of Caldbergh, just 4 miles south of Leyburn and took the well signed track heading south from the well preserved Caldbergh Hall. The track can be wet in its lower slopes but improves on passing a ford and climbs steadily towards the moorlands beyond.

The track carries on past Ulfras Crags to the west before peaking out at over 400 metres (1,300 feet). Just before the high point is a junction of paths, leave the main track that bends east and carry on south then south east on a distinctive path.

The path leads you past some grouse butts, this is shooting country as many of the Yorkshire Dales moors are.

The path drops to a ford at Slip Wath. From the ford the path initially climbs, then turns east as it contours the shoulder of the finely named Hanging Stone and its surprising trig point.

The path then drops south in to Colsterdale. Colsterdale is rarely visited and is now a peaceful farming community but in 1914 it was the training ground for the Leeds Pals and other units before they headed off to the bloodbath of WW1. It was converted to a German prisoner of war camp in 1917.

The camp was to the east of where this walk meets the Colsterdale road and may be worth a detour. Alternatively turn west and head up the valley, the road soon turning in to a bridleway at High House Farm.

Follow the bridleway (initially on the south of the river but soon to the north) for nearly 2 miles in a westerly direction. The valley sides close in and there are a number of disused mining shafts, a legacy of a 14th century coal mine. It is difficult to imagine the multitude of people who lived and worked in the valley in those days but a thin seem of coal was discovered underneath the gritstone.

After 2 miles the track turns south in to Nidderdale but I carried on west up a trackless slope leading to the fine viewpoint at Great Haw. Great Haw lies on the watershed of Nidderdale and Coverdale with grand views on a good day. Follow the wall north from the summit, past Little Haw untill the route meets a bridlepath heading north.

From here the views across Coverdale and in to the main dale of Wensleydale open up and it is a pleasure to drop the last mile in to the pretty hamlet of West Scrafton. An alternative is to carry on alongside the wall, ignoring the bridleway, as it contours to the even better viewpoint of Great Roova Crags, perched high above West Scrafton. A shooting Hut and a trig that is little more than a stud are two of the crags other great fascinations.

Finally drop directly down to West Scrafton across the open access land below the crags.

From West Scrafton to Caldbergh is little more than a mile of quiet road walking.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 13.5 miles

Height to Climb: 600m (2,000 feet)

Start: SE 093852. There is some road side parking at Calldbergh but be sensitive to the residents.

Difficulty: Hard. Some rough walking and a high mileage make for a long but worthwhile day.

Refreshments: I took th three-mile drive to Middleham for some well earned refreshment..

Be Prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must takea map (O/S Explorer OL30) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass.