WHARFEDALE splits at its head. To the east, a road winds its way steeply towards Wensleydale via the long valley of Bishopsdale. To the west, the embryonic Wharfe continues up Langstrothdale for five miles before becoming lost in the marshes of Oughtershaw. However, on this interesting walk all is laid out before you.

From the large car park in Buckden head north out the gate on to the slopes of Buckden Pike. An excellent wide track gently rises for half a mile through some woodland before breaking out in to the open countryside at a gate. Already the views across the valley to Birks and Langstrothdale are excellent.

At a second gate ignore any temptation to leave the main track and take the path to the right climbing up Buckden Pike (the best of the Dales 30 mountains but leave it for another day). After a further half a mile of flat walking, the first of a series of waterfalls appears on your right. This is Cow Close Falls, particularly impressive after our many months of rain. A drystone wall stops you getting close to the falls, but there is still a good view.

Carry on a few metres to the road and Cray High Bridge where there is a good view of the second waterfall, the Cray Gill Falls. Again, this is non-access land so you are unable to get close, but enjoy the views.

Follow the road downhill to the hamlet of Cray. Cray is little more than a large farm and an excellent pub (the White Lion). More tumbling water can be seen on your left as you walk down, and opposite the pub it is possible to get up close to the river. It is a good spot. Turn in to the farmyard and follow the small footpath signs just uphill from the buildings. Just past the farm there is a divide in the footpath, keep to the right/higher path.

For the next two-and-a-half miles to Yockenthwaite Farm, the footpath contours the hillside and opens out in to consistently impressive views. To your left Upper Wharfedale is seen at its best, to your right the hillside mark the flanks of Yockenthwaite Fell (another Dales 30 mountain).

There are two marker points on this section of the walk, a footbridge near the start and an option at Scar House to "cut the corner" of the walk and drop down to the valley floor. Best to carry on though, and after entering some woods, emerge above Yockenthwaite Farm. Recently, the farm has featured as Helen’s farm in All Creatures Great and Small (it looks great), but really is more famous for its diversification in to a breakfast cereal producer. You should try their granola.

On a wide farm track drop down in to the farmyard and take the short detour over the pack horse bridge and famous red post box to take a photo. The farm looks stunning. Return to the farm and take the riverside path that starts to return all the way to Buckden along Langstrothdale. Keep to the northern banks of the Wharfe for one-and-a-half miles till you reach the hamlet of Hubberholme. The path is good and forms part of the Dales Way.

At Hubberholme, cross the river opposite the George Inn. Turn left along the road for 400 metres where a sign post on your left directs you over a field and back on to the banks of the river. Follow this path back in to Buckden.

Fact box

Distance: Roughly 8 miles.

Height to climb: 270m (885 feet).

Start: Buckden SD 942773. Large National Park car park.

Difficulty: Medium. On good paths throughout which can get muddy at this time of the year.

Refreshments: The Buck Inn in Buckden or the White Lion and the George Inn (both closed Mon/Tue) are enroute.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 30) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk. Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

• He has published 3 books on walking in the Dales; ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’, ‘The Dales 30’ mountains and the ‘Walks without Stiles’ book. All these books (and more) are available direct from the Where2walk website.

• Book a Navigation (Map and Compass Skills) Training day near Settle or a bespoke day for a private group. The first available day or 2024 is March 23.

• Look for the new “Dales 30” weekend in Hawes. In addition there are guided walks across the Yorkshire Dales including the 3 Peaks.

Where2walk.co.uk also features 100s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs