I WAS unprepared for the magic of Threshfield Quarry. I've seen pictures of it, written about plans to develop it into a visitor and business centre, but never actually visited.

It was a neighbour who suggested it as a good walk before then instantly regretting it - wanting it to remain something of a slightly secret gem.

Quarrying has taken place at the site since the early 1900s and stopped in 2003. There are now plans to redevelop the quarry as a visitor and business centre and a network of paths have been opened up, including a viewing platform. Part of the plans include a £220,000 piece of public art created by the world-renowned sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, for which Craven District Council has pledged £22,000.

The man-made cliffs are a haven for birds and wildlife, while I was there I saw what was either weasels or polecats ducking and diving amongst the piles of stone.

The site also features as a dramatic backdrop for a music video, Running with The Wolves, by the Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora, who provided the backing track for the John Lewis 2015 Christmas advert.

This walk sets off from the entrance to the quarry off Skirethorns Lane, and takes a circular route, across Threshfield Moor and Malham Moor. It crosses grouse shooting land and much of it is grazed by livestock - so be very careful to keep dogs under strict control and on leads.

One particular piece of land to be crossed features several signs insists on dogs being on leads, including signs stating 'Bull in Field'. You have been warned!

Step by step

1. From the entrance to Threshfield Quarry, turn right along Skirethorns Lane, passing a number of beehives on right and continue, passing a small hamlet of houses. At the T-junction, cross over, following sign for Moss House. Continue along track, as the lane veers off to the right, take the footpath off to left, signed Threshfield Moor, Bordley and Malham and follow path as it sticks to right-hand boundary of the field. In the top right hand corner of the field, pass through a double gate and head for an upright stone in distance. Continue to the gap in wall and onto the next upright stone. Follow waymarkers to a gate in the wall.

2. You are now on grouse moors so keep dogs under strict control and follow the path, sticking closely to wall on right. You will cross over a surfaced track, continue along the path, now with the fence on your right. The path drops down to meet a path junction with a three way fingerpost.

3. Turn right here marked Malham Moor Lane bridlepath. Continue along pleasant, wall lined track with Pendle Hill in the far distance over to your left. Go through the farm gate at the end of the track and continue along the path, as it winds off to the left. Continue to follow the path as it goes through more gates. Whernside comes into view in the far distance. You pass a tumbledown barn on left and the remains of an old lime kiln.

4. At a four-way finger post, follow the path straight ahead to Kilnsey. You are still on the bridlepath, head for the waymarkers. Cross over a narrow road and pick up the bridlepath, once again following the waymarkers. Go through a gate and at the fingerpost, turn sharp right and follow the wall as it climbs sharply uphill before coming down again. Stick to the wall on the right, you will see Threshfield Quarry on your right and continue down until a gap in the wall takes you into quarry land.

5. You are now in the quarry, and can either go off on the left path, or take the route down the wooden steps to the quarry floor. Exit the quarry off to the right and back to Skirethorns Lane.

Fact file

Location: Yorkshire Dales National Park

Start and finish: Skirethorns Lane, Threshfield

Parking: Plenty of space at entrance to quarry

Distance: About five miles, allow a couple of hours

Terrain: Tracks and moorland, which can be very boggy

Refreshments: None on route

Gates: Many gates, but easy to navigate

Livestock: Plenty of sheep about, be very wary with dogs and make sure under control

OS Map: Landranger 98 Wensleydale and Upper Wharfedale