Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales.

Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales.

He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales.

To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

COVERDALE lies south of Leyburn and provides one of the links between Wensleydale and Wharfedale.

It is not often visited by the intrepid walker, but should be.

The walk along the river is pleasant but the villages and farms reflect a proper, traditional working landscape.

The walk starts in Horsehouse but could just as easily start further down the valley in Carlton. No real excuse, except I have always liked the pub, truly traditional!

Start by heading towards the River Cover, the path found on the lane opposite the impressive church.

There is no obvious paths on the ground as this is a very unfrequented walk so the best way of following the route is to head from stile to stile.

On leaving the village bend to the left and cross the first stile and cross the following field diagonally.

A second stile leads to the river banks and a footbridge leads in to Hindlethwaite Hall.

The hall is an impressive 16th century building, now self-catered accommodation.

From the lane at the entrance to the hall take the footpath continuing in an easterly direction diagonally uphill.

This is the climbing on the walk as you work yourself up the hillside, over a couple of small streams and field walls.

To occupy your mind you could work out how many different types of stiles there are, from narrow slits, to gates and ladder stiles (apparently being phased out by the National Park).

However, with every step the view up and down the dale improves, a classic Dales scene and very satisfying.

After about 300 feet of climbing and a mile you will arrive at the converted farm buildings of Swineside.

Head through the buildings and climb on to a farm lane.

Turn left and follow the lane for one mile to the village of West Scrafton.

To your right is one of the largest areas of moorland in the Dales, a wild place and home to grouse, sky larks and curlews. You may see red kite and buzzards.

The village has a fascinating history, (worth visiting the village website) but among other events it is thought to be the birthplace of Lord Darnley, who married Mary Queen of Scots.

Head to the riverside and keep close to the western bank drop down on a path to Caygill bridge, past a dingly day on your right.

From the bridge climb towards Carlton on the path to the east of the small stream, entering the east end of the village via a farm lane.

It is worth walking all the way through the village heading west, the buildings are lovely to look at and full of character.

It is the true ‘capital’ of Coverdale.

On leaving the village the rad bends sharply left, follow it to the next right turn but then join the footpath heading initially downhill to the river.

The paths soon turns right and contours the hillside for a mile with fine views across to your outbound route.

On arriving at your final village, Gammersgill, take the first path on your left which leads down to the riverside.

This final one-and-a-half miles of riverside walking is delightful, if in places a little muddy.

It completes a walk that typifies all that is good about the hidden and less visited Dales.

On meeting the bridge over the river where the walk started climb in to Horsehouse.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly seven miles.

Height to Climb: 220m (720ft).

Start: SE 047812. Horsehouse in Coverdale

Difficulty: Medium. This would be easy except there are a number of stiles and the path may be muddy after October rains.

Refreshments: Thwaite Arms in Horsehouse (evening opening or lunch weekends) or the Foresters Arms in Carlton.