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You are here: Walk Routes Kettlewell

A Walk From Kettlewell

Grade : S
Distance : 13½Km (8½ miles)
Height Climbed : 623 metres (2,045 feet)
Map : Explorer OL30
Stiles : 10
Summary : From the village of Kettlewell you start off along The Dales Way, one of Britain's gentler National Trails, to Starbotton, where you leave the riverside trail to head up over Old Cote Moor to Arncliffe (the original setting for 'Emmerdale'), with fine valley views down both Wharfedale and Littondale. This is followed by a second riverside stroll along the Skirfare to the little hamlet of Hawkswick. Oystercatchers often forage along the riverbank and sand martins nest in the bank-side walls. At Hawkswick you head back over the moor to Kettlewell, passing the Knipe Scar Limekiln as you approach the village. A choice of post-walk refreshments in the form of cream teas or alcoholic tipples await you in Kettlewell.
Terrain : A mixture of valley and hill walking with a steep ascent and descent over ground that can be boggy and slippery especially after rainfall. Dogs may need to be lifted over some of the stiles and navigation skills may be required in low cloud and winter conditions.
Start : Kettlewell public car park NGR: SD 9678 7225 Post Code: BD23 5QZ
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 Kettlewell. The car park is on your left as you go over the bridge into the village.
From the north: on the A684 to the east of Aysgarth turn south onto the B6160 to Kettlewell, where you follow the main road over the first bridge and the car park is on your right just before the second.
Access by public transport : Bus 72 from Skipton, Monday to Saturday and bus 874 from Ilkley Sundays and bank holidays.


1   Grid ref : SD 9679 7225
Turn right out of the car park to join the Dales Way, an 84-mile National Trail from Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere. Opened in 1968, it follows rivers within the Dales, making it less demanding than some long-distance routes. You will stay with this trail until you reach the Starbotton Bridge.

2   Grid ref : SE 9672 7221
Turn right here on the other side of the bridge and go through the gate.

3   Grid ref : SE 9672 7225
Then take a right at this junction to head along the riverside.

4   Grid ref : SE 9664 7257
Bear right again along the track on the other side of this gate. As you make your way along this riverside section of the walk, you will pass a number of field barns that used to provide winter accommodation for livestock. Hay for feed was stored in the roof above and the stock fed and milked there each day. Modern farming methods have made many of them redundant yet they are an integral part of the landscape.

5   Grid ref : SE 9586 7320
Take the right-hand fork at this track junction.

6   Grid ref : SE 9571 7347
Then take the left fork here to go over the stile in the wall before continuing across a number of fields and over a small footbridge.

7   Grid ref : SE 9528 7398
After another couple of fields, watch for the path signposting that takes you along a short, narrow path section to your right rather than through the main gateway in the picture.

8   Grid ref : SE 9510 7446
You continue over another footbridge and across a few more fields to reach a bridge over the river; this leads onto a path into Starbotton but you don't cross it. Instead you turn left as you leave The Dales Way to head up between the two stone walls in the picture, bearing left past a ruined barn and continuing through a wood to reach open ground. Looking back you will see Starbotton to your left and across the valley, the remains of old mine workings.
Starbotton is a delightful village containing some 17th century cottages, including a 1665 date-stone opposite the Fox and Hounds.

9   Grid ref : SE 9511 7355
On reaching this gate by a signpost on the open moor, follow the sign uphill to your right.

10   Grid ref : SE 9501 7352
Keep straight ahead at this signpost to reach a gap in a wall, which you go through and cross a boggy piece of land as you continue ahead, aiming for the left corner of a ruined wall on the skyline.

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You continue uphill, following the wall on your left and passing through this gate at the top to head down into Littondale along a path that curves through the heather, then keeping ahead at a track junction. Eventually you pass through a gap in a wall to drop down further before the village of Arncliffe comes into view.

12   Grid ref : SE 9299 7218
Finally a gate in the wall ahead leads down a stony track through limestone outcrops (take care on this descent, particularly if the ground is wet) and farm buildings, to this junction with the road, where you follow the road left and over the bridge into Arncliffe.
Both Arncliffe and Hawkswick (the next hamlet on your route) are in the Domesday Book and after the Norman Conquest, Littondale became a hunting forest before being given to the monks of Fountains Abbey, who turned the focus of the Dale into sheep farming.

13   Grid ref : SE 9328 7192
Keep left after the bridge then left again at this junction by the stocks just past St Oswald's Church, to take the footpath signed to Hawkswick which passes through two large stone gateposts. Continue along the fenced path between the buildings, then through a kissing-gate leading to a riverside path.
St Oswald's was preceded by a 12th century stone church. Its patrons, the De Arches, were lords of Arncliffe. It was apparently pulled down and rebuilt in 1500 but of this, only the tower remains. In the sanctuary, plaques commemorate several clergy including Thomas Lindley, the last curate to struggle over the hill to take services at Hubberholme.

14   Grid ref : SE 9365 7161
Follow the riverside path over the stile in the wall.

15   Grid ref : SE 9371 7159
At this next corner your route goes straight on in the direction of the sign and over a stile to follow a right-hand wall.

16   Grid ref : SE 9393 7138
On reaching the far right corner of the field go through this gap and the two stiles, then continue towards a barn, which you pass to the left of. Cross a footbridge over a stream and continue ahead. After going over another bridge, keep an eye out for and go through a gate in the field boundary on your left after the fenced off section of the path.

17   Grid ref : SE 9523 7069
You eventually reach this ladder-stile which you climb down and head across the bridge.

18   Grid ref : SE 9525 7071
Turn right along the road to the hamlet of Hawkswick.

19   Grid ref : SE 9553 7056
Just past Bramblewood take the footpath on your left signed 'FP Kettlewell'.

20   Grid ref : SE 9559 7059
Keep straight on at this junction (the track disappearing to the top left of the picture) and follow the track as it bends round to the right.

21   Grid ref : SE 9568 7064
At this bend you take the path straight ahead.

22   Grid ref : SE 9644 7036
Here where you have a couple of tracks going off to your left, you follow the path that disappears off to the top right of the picture to reach a cairn.

23   Grid ref : SE 9667 7029
At this cairn you bear left up to a stone wall, climb over the stile and take either of the two paths ahead as you drop down towards Kettlewell.

24   Grid ref : SE 9682 7141
As you approach a wood, pass to the right of these ruins and continue down to your left, following the path and track.

25   Grid ref : SE 9679 7185
When you reach the first gate just above the road there is an option to take the path on your right to visit the Knipe Scar Limekiln complete with information board one of the better preserved local small-scale commercial lime kilns built to produce lime fertiliser during the 18th and 19th Centuries by burning limestone from the neighbouring quarry.

26   Grid ref : SE 9678 7187
To continue your walk, head down to this second gate but don't go through it to the road; instead follow the safer permissive path to the left that runs parallel to it.

27   Grid ref : SE 9670 7218
When you join the road here at the other end of the permissive path, simply follow it over the bridge back to the car park. Before your journey home why not take advantage of a choice of post-walk refreshments in the form of cream teas or alcoholic tipples that are available; but please do watch your alcohol level if driving.

last route check 27/01/2019
Copyright © 2014-2019 Alan Windebank, ©1999, ©2017 Walkingworld Ltd All Rights Reserved
Last route check 27/01/2019