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You are here: Walk Routes Buckden

A Circular Walk From Buckden

Grade : M
Distance : 11½Km (7 miles)
Height Climbed : 254 metres (833 feet)
Map : Explorer OL30
Stiles : 10
Summary : The walk takes you up Buckden Rakes, part of an old Roman road from Ilkley to Bainbridge, followed by a drop down to Cray, passing behind Wharfedale's highest pub and on to the limestone pavement with its photogenic views, picturesque hay meadows (in the early summer months), woodlands and pastures, with early purple orchids among the flora. At the old farming hamlet of Yockenthwaite you join the Dales Way for a lovely riverside stroll back to Buckden, passing Hubberholme Church with its rood screen built in 1555. Back in Buckden you can visit the National Trust's Townhead Barn with its free permanent exhibition about the area's history and sample the delights of the local cafe or pub menus.
The village of Buckden was established in Norman times as the headquarters of a hunting forest. The name of the village means the valley of bucks.
Terrain : A fairly continuous ascent initially then a level walk until the sharp descent into Cray followed by a more gradual climb and descent and a valley walk from Yockenthwaite to Buckden on fairly clear paths that can be slippery in wet weather. Ankle-supporting walking-boots should be worn due to the uneven ground on some sections of the walk.
Start : National Park car park, Buckden, North Yorkshire. Grid Ref: SD 9424 7740. Nearest Post Code BD23 5JA (about 150 mtrs / 500 ft south of the car park)
Access by car : From the south, on the A65 at Skipton turn north onto Grassington Road (B6265) to Threshfield, where you continue ahead on the B6160 to Buckden. The car park is on your right signed from the main B road.
From the north, on the A684 to the east of Aysgarth, turn south onto the B6160 to Buckden; the car park is on your left immediately after the church, the village's first building you come to (the turning immediately before the church is the exit only).
Access by public transport : Bus 72 from Skipton, Monday to Saturday and bus 874 from Ilkley Sundays and bank holidays.


1   Grid ref : SD 9424 7741

Go through this gate at the northern end of the car park following a short section of "A Pennine Journey". A 247 mile circular long distance walk starting and finishing in Settle that is based on a walk Alfred Wainwright completed in September 1938. Keep ahead up the incline, known as "The Rakes" - part of an old Roman road from Ilkley to Bainbridge. Continue through another couple of gates and as the route levels out, follow the left-hand wall ahead.

2   Grid ref : SD 9405 7840

At the forked path junctions (this is the second, more prominent one) keep left, staying on fairly level ground through several gates and gateways and a stile.

3   Grid ref : SD 9436 7904

Look out for this gate by a signpost on your left, which you need to go through, leaving the "Pennine Journey". Watch your footing on the short, steep drop on the other side.

4   Grid ref : SD 9434 7906

Continue down to follow the right-hand wall.

5   Grid ref : SD 9424 7910

On reaching this signpost bear right, still following the wall.

6   Grid ref : SD 9422 7919

Use the stepping-stones to cross the river and head up through the parking area.

7   Grid ref : SD 9421 7920

Cross the road and head up the track to the right and rear of The White Lion, the highest pub in Wharfedale.

8   Grid ref : SD 9419 7920

At this junction behind the pub take the right-hand fork, leading uphill.

9   Grid ref : SD 9413 7918

Continue across this farmyard through the gap ahead to the right of the building and along the main track.

10   Grid ref : SD 9410 7917

Keep right at this junction behind the buildings.

11   Grid ref : SD 9401 7912

Keep right at this next junction with its signpost just out of view ahead. Your route waymarked to Scar House and Yockenthwaite then continues along the hill contour, passing through a number of gates.

12   Grid ref : SD 9352 7909

You then pass to the left of a barn just before this drop down to the wooded area ahead.

13   Grid ref : SD 9342 7917

Cross this footbridge and bear left on the other side, following the hill contour as the path sweeps across the head of the valley with its wonderful scenic views.

14   Grid ref : SD 9215 7891
Eventually you reach a large farmhouse, Scar House, to the left of this picture. Watch your footing as you head across this area (from the bottom to the top of the picture).
Weather permitting, Scarr House, formerly a Quaker meeting house after the owner was converted by George Fox, does a Snack & Go service between May & September where you can obtain snack bites to eat and sometimes hot tea & coffee.

15   Grid ref : SD 9210 7893

When you reach this junction on the other side, take the left-hand track to a gate and stile in the wall ahead of you with a path sign just before it for Yockenthwaite.

16   Grid ref : SD 9207 7891

Following this path, the yellow-topped marker-posts only go as far as the trees ahead; you eventually go over another stile and through a wood.

17   Grid ref : SD 9164 7875

Cross this footbridge and turn left downhill. As the ground levels out your route bears right through gateways and stiles.

18   Grid ref : SD 9101 7899

Veer slightly left and downhill at this path sign, then walk along the left-hand boundary.

19   Grid ref : SD 9076 7915

On reaching this junction with a gravelled farm track, you follow it left down to Yockenthwaite.

20   Grid ref : SD 9052 7908
As you make your way between the farm buildings bear left along the track between the tree and the left-hand building.
The ruins around Yockenthwaite testify to local rural de-population. Where you now see 2 farms, there were 8 back in 1613.
Yockenthwaite is on a long gone cross country route from Newcastle to Lancaster

21   Grid ref : SD 9052 7904

Head across this green to join and bear left along the track that runs along the front of the farmhouse ahead of you.

22   Grid ref : SD 9056 7900

You are now on the Dales Way, an 84-mile long trail passing through the heart of the York Dales on its way from Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District, It is less demanding than many long distance routes and is very much a riverside walk, leading to its popularity as a first ever long distance walk for many.You will be following it all the way back to Buckden, starting by passing through this gateway.

23   Grid ref : SD 9059 7898

Very shortly you reach this gate, where you follow the path right down a couple of steep steps at the next stile, then left along the riverside.

24   Grid ref : SD 9082 7874

Take the right-hand fork at this faint junction to keep to the official path. Some of the gates on the more prominent farm track are rather fragile.

25   Grid ref : SD 9098 7864

Do not go through this gate; take the path to its right, following the small sign on the gatepost. You now keep to the path that follows the field boundaries...

26   Grid ref : SD 9200 7836

... to veer slightly away from the riverside at this point to the next stile, which you may just be able to make out in the wall ahead, slightly to your left. After this you then return to the field edge for a while.

27   Grid ref : SD 9236 7840

Here you again continue along the path, keeping to the left of this fence and gate, then walking through the wooded area ahead on the right side of the picture before passing to the left of Hubberholme Church.

28   Grid ref : SD 9262 7829

As you come into Hubberholme you continue ahead at this junction before bearing right through the farmyard area.

29   Grid ref : SD 9263 7824
At this junction with the road you bear right over the bridge. If you wish to visit the church with its rood screen, the entrance via the churchyard is on your right on the bend in the road before the bridge.
The Church's Rood Screen is one of only a very few surviving in England after The York Diocese issued an edict to destroy them in 1571 and this one, only dated 16 years earlier, probably survived because of the remoteness of the hamlet.

30   Grid ref : SD 9261 7821
At this next junction, follow the road left past The George pub and Grange Farm Barn.
The George, used to be the vicarage and is (I think) still the scene of the annual "Hubberholme Parliament" a thousand year old tradition where the vicar auctions the grazing of a 16 acre field, the income being used to help local pensioners. A candle is lit when the bidding starts and bidding finishes when it goes out.

31   Grid ref : SD 9322 7796

You eventually reach the field entrance you see here with a path sign 'Buckden Bridge ¾ mile'. You go into this field following the left-hand fence.

32   Grid ref : SD 9333 7794

After a short distance you pass through this gate and follow the riverside path back to Buckden.

33   Grid ref : SD 9394 7733

On returning to the road through this gate, turn left over the bridge and past the Riverside Gallery.

34   Grid ref : SD 9412 7728

Then take the short track left at the end of the dry-stone wall in the picture, up to the main road.

35   Grid ref : SD 9417 7729

You now simply bear diagonally left up to the car park. The building in the picture is Townhead Barn, with its local history display. For the cafe and pub you bear right.

last route check 26/01/2019
Copyright © 2014-2019 Alan Windebank, ©1999, ©2017 Walkingworld Ltd All Rights Reserved
Last route check 26/01/2019