SPRING or early summer is a splendid time to do this walk, which sets off once again from Austwick. The wild flowers in Oxenber and Wharfe Woods, a site of Special Scientific Interest, are lovely.

The woods are historic wood pastures grazed by cattle and sheep at certain times of the year to maintain the rich diversity of plants which grow in the limestone soil.

In the woodland, there is Ash, Hazel and Hawthorn, while the limestone on the woodland floor is home to Less Meadow-rue, Green Spleenwort, Mountain Melick and Hart's-tongue Fern. In the summer, there may also be herbs, including mercury, wood sorrel and wild thyme.

For those who like quarries - and I do - there is also Dry Rigg Quarry, which is slightly off the route, but well worth a visit. There's a viewing point and fascinating information board, explaining the rock formations, and I'm pretty sure its home to some peregrines.

Step by step

1. With The Traddock Hotel behind you, and on the right hand side of the road, walk away from it and take the bridlepath (Wood Lane) signed Feizor, one-and-three-quarters of a mile. Continue along the wall-lined lane which after a while bears to the right. Just past a farm on the left, take the ladder stile into a field. Climb gently uphill and over another ladder stile into another field. Follow the path as it bears to the left, heading towards woodland.

2. Enter Oxenber and Wharfe woods through a gate and follow the purple waymarkers as the path goes quite sharply uphill. When the path forks, switch to the red waymarkers and continue. Wind your way through the limestone pavements, go over a wall stile, sticking to red waymarkers. At the end of the woodland, exit through the gate and join the lane.

3. Turn left along the lane, follow the lane, going through a gate and passing a farm on the left. Follow the bridlepath marked Stainforth, continue along the track and onto a wall lined path. Go through the gate and cross the field, through another gate and uphill to join the road. Take a right here marked bridlepath Little Stainforth. After a short way on the road, take the left bridlepath marked Dry Rigg.

4. After a very short way, and just before double gates entrance to quarry, take the footpath to the left, marked Newfield, three-quarters of a mile. The path goes gently uphill, with the quarry on your right. As the path goes off to the left, take a while to enjoy the short diversion off to the right to the vantage point to get a good look at the quarry. Double back on yourself, and go over the stile, following the path, and keeping the wall on your right. Follow footpath signs, as the path crosses stiles, and with a dramatic ridge on your right. The path eventually drops back down to the road.

5. Turn right along the road, and after a short while, take footpath (Wood Lane one mile). After the second cattle grid on the road, take the footpath off to the right which crosses down across a field, through a gate in the wall, over a ladder stile and down to corner gate - next to caravan park - left onto track and left again to join Wood Lane.

6. Go left, not right to the main road, and pass farm buildings, keeping to the track, which bears off to the right at the farm. At the four-way junction, take the middle path (second from left) and head back to Austwick, where you started.

Fact file

Location: Yorkshire Dales National Park

Start and finish; Austwick

Parking: On road, Austwick

Distance/time: About five miles (8km), about two-and-a-half hours

Difficulty level: Easy

Terrain: Tracks, fields, woodland, some limestone pavement

Livestock: Sheep

Refreshments: Austwick

OS Map: OS 98