Bolton Abbey

Start: Bolton Abbey

Distance: 4 miles

Map: OS Explorer OL2

Yorkshire Dales South/West

BOLTON Abbey is, strictly, the name for the tiny village whose showpiece is more correctly the Priory.

It has a post office, shop, tearooms, bookshop, WC and a splendid tithe barn.

Start the walk from the village centre, at a large car park on the B6160.

From the car park return to the road and cross to the 'Hole in the Wall', through which descend to the lovely environs of the priory.

The imposing ruin dates from 1154, built by Augustinian canons. At Henry VIII’s Dissolution the nave was spared, and remains to this day the parish church.

Much else of interest in the vicinity includes adjacent Bolton Hall, dating from the 17th century.

On arriving at the footbridge, don’t cross but follow the Wharfe downstream.

A long, pleasant pasture leads all the way to Bolton Bridge. As it appears ahead, there is an option to strike right to the Devonshire Arms.

At the end of the pasture join the old road at the shapely bridge, left in peace since completion of the 1994 bypass.

Cross the bridge, and beyond a cottage turn left on an enclosed path before Red Lion Farm, to enter a riverside pasture.

As the Wharfe is neared the grassy way is deflected above a steep, wooded bank, and at the end it drops back down on a short-lived track to a gate ahead, then along a long, flat pasture parallel with the river.

After a tiny stream and kissing-gate the path climbs steeply above a wooded bank, remaining with the fence to a kissing-gate at the end, there going left to another gate, and a high-level vantage point which reveals the priory ruins in style.

Just beyond is a path junction where a snicket descends from Storiths. The main path now slants down the bank to a T-junction where the right branch is followed back uphill.

This soon levels out, and through a gate commences a grand high-level stroll along the top of the wood, noting more than one decaying trunk embedded with coins.

At the end you emerge onto a narrow road to ford Pickles Beck: a footbridge upstream saves wet feet. Across, a gate gives access to a riverbank path for the short stroll to a wooden bridge where you re-cross the Wharfe to the Cavendish Pavilion.

The pavilion offers refreshments, with giftshop and WC alongside. Turn downstream to follow the bank of the Wharfe on or alongside the long car park access road.

At the end a path goes on through a kissing-gate, then with the priory just across the river, it swings right to climb to steps onto the road at the extravagant Cavendish Memorial.

This recalls Lord Frederick Cavendish, assassinated in Dublin in 1882.

Turn left for a couple of minutes on a roadside footway with gorgeous views over to the priory. A gate returns you to the priory grounds to enjoy further exploration.

This walk is found in Paul’s book Short Scenic Walks - Lower Wharfedale (£3.99 -