Dales walk: Look out for cave-dwelling beast that inspired Hound of the Baskervilles

Trollers Gill adds a sense of drama to a generally straightforward and not overly long walk.

Start by parking in Appletreewick near the New Inn hotel. Either head down to the river and walk along for 200 metres, returning to the road or simply stick to the road. If it is quiet the riverside is lovely.

Cross the road and head up a track that climbs steeply uphill. To the left is Kail Hill, a good example of a reef knoll, rich in coral fossils and the purest form of limestone. On its perfect shaped summit are the remains of an Iron Age Fort, a fine look out post.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Map of Appletreewick Map of Appletreewick (Image: Jonathan Smith)

Where the track ends a footpath carries on over the moors to meet Kail Lane near Height Laithe.

Turn right on the lane and follow this over the moors for roughly a mile. The views towards Simon’s Seat are excellent, as are those south down Lower Wharfedale towards Bolton Abbey.

Turn left on meeting a road and follow this for 200 metres until a footpath sign to the east (right) drops steeply in to the north end of Trollers Gill.

The Gill is a 300 metre long narrow limestone ravine, spectacular to walk through. It is usually dry but after heavy rain it can become a raging torrent…avoid!

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mines at Trollers GillMines at Trollers Gill (Image: Jonathan Smith)

Aside from the torrent keep a look out for ‘Barghest’ - a large beast that lives in one of the caves and is allegedly the inspiration behind the Hound of the Baskervilles. However the greatest danger is not raging torrents or fabulous beasts but the rough stony ground and the possibility of a turned ankle.

From Trollers Gill the land opens out and you can follow a path along the stream towards Percevall Hall.

Before arriving at the hall look for the remains of Skyreholme Dam, destroyed in 1899 after feeding the paper mill at Skyreholme. It was never repaired.

Percevall Hall is signposted up a lane where the footpath meets the road.

This impressive country house and lovely gardens is famous for being the resting place of a notorious gentleman highwayman - Swift Nick - in the 17th century.

From the hall continue south through Skyreholme, past one footpath to your left and towards a second, just before the road bends west.

The footpath climbs a little to a great vantage point near a barn. From here drop south towards the River Wharfe.

A three quarters of a mile riverside footpath along the Wharfe, initially through some woodland, completes the walk.

Return to the New Inn via the same footpath that you started the walk.

* Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly six-and-a-half miles.

Height to Climb: 280m (920 ft)

Start: SE 052601. There is some roadside parking near the pub.

Difficulty: Medium. There is some rough walking in Trollers Gill and a steep climb out of Appletreewick but the remainder of the walk is on good lanes and paths.

Refreshments: There are two good pubs - the New Inn and the Craven Arms.

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 OL2) 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.

* Jonathan runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales. He has published three 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 from the Where2walk website.

Join a Guided Hike up one or all of the 3 Peaks (September 6,7 and 8).

Book a Navigation (Map and Compass Skills) Training day near Settle. Next date September 2. All dates and details are on the Where2walk website.

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


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