SE6795/02: Farndale North

This is a full days walk that offers spectacular views across Farndale and Bransdale. The walk along the top half of Rudland Rigg is a fine high level walk, with great views in every direction, while the Rosedale Railway gives superb views of Farndale while crossing some wild rugged country. Finally the final stretch along the River Dove in Farndale provides a marvelous contrast to the wildness of the high ground with a pleasant riverside walk.

Park at the free car park in Low Mills in the heart of Farndale.

One word of advice for this walk - if the weather begins to close in as you are climbing up out of Farndale, seriously consider doing a different walk. There is little or no shelter to be had on the eight or so miles spent on Rudland Rigg and the Rosedale Railway, and the views disappear. Also, be aware than in daffodil season Farndale came become very busy.

Ascent: 1,400 feet/ 440 m
Length: 14.5 miles/ 23 km
Map: OS Explorer Map OL 26
Last Walked: 20 May 2006

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From the car park in Low Mills, turn right onto the road and follow it as it climbs out of the village.
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Just under a quarter of a mile out of Low Mills, the road swings to the right. At the same time a farm track leaves it to the left. Turn onto this farm track, and follow it along the valley of West Gill Beck. The track continues past Horn End farm, and on into the valley between Rudland Rigg (left) and Horn Ridge (right). Keep following the track as it slowly climbs into the valley.
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Just after you pass a ruined barn, the track comes down to the the side of a stream. Cross over the bridge over the stream, and follow the path that climbs directly up the side of the hill. This roughly follows the line of a field wall to your left. Near to the top left corner of this field cross over a stile into the field to the left
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We need to exit this field by its top right corner. To reach this point, follow the path that heads south west, climbing the hill to the left. Towards the middle of this field you will find another path crossing this one. Turn right onto this path. You will now be heading north west, climbing the hill to the right. This path continues on along the side of Rudland Rigg, slowly climbing towards the top of the ridge. In wet weather this path quickly resembles a stream, so be prepared.
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Rudland Rigg separates Farndale and Bransdale. On a good day there will be spectacular views into both dales, as well as of the high ridge of the moors to the north, with Round Hill, the highest point on the moors visible on the sky line (our picture shows the view on a less impressive day). Continue along the ridge for three miles until you reach Bloworth Crossing.
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Bloworth Crossing is where the Rosedale Railway crossed over Rudland Rigg on its way to the incline down into the plains north of the moors. Where the track of the railway crosses the track along Rudland Rigg, turn right onto the track bed. We now follow the railway track for five miles as it winds its way around the top of Farndale. This is one of the best paths in the moors, with superb views into Farndale, and a glimpse into Westerdale.

After wet weather the railway appears to be surrounded with wild water, as the drainage channels under the embankments create an unusually large number of rapidly flowing streams.

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After five miles on the track bed, we begin to approach Blakey Ridge (if you feel like a break at this point, the building visible on the skyline is the Lion Inn. As you draw level with the pub, the Lyke Wake Way leaves the railroad and heads almost directly for the pub).

As we approach the road, ignore the most visible branch of the railway as it heads into a cutting. Instead, keep to the right of this track. You will soon reach a side road heading steeply down the hill into Farndale. On the other side of the road the line of another branch of the railway continues south along the side of Farndale. A clear but narrow path follows the railway, just down the hill from the line of the main road along Blakey Ridge. Follow this path along the line of the railway until it ends.

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The end of the railway can't be missed. Towards the end it follows a slight embankment across the hillside, which suddenly stops in pile of exposed rocks. Our path now continues on, heading south along the hillside, and slowly loosing height. Just before reaching the line of walls at the edge of the open moors, the path stays level for a short path, before reaching a gate back into the fields.
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A sign on the gate warns of a sudden drop on the other side. Take heed of this warning, and as you pass though the gate keep to the right. Hidden in the undergrowth on the main path there is indeed a short sharp drop where the path has been eroded away. Happily the route around this is fairly clear. The route ahead is nice and clear - a line of open gates following a wall that cuts diagonally across the field pattern, taking us back to the road along the east side of Farndale.
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At that road cross over and follow the farm track on the opposite side of the road, running in the same direction as our path. .
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That path leads to Bragg Farm. Turn right just before entering the main farmyard, and walk past the main buildings (this bit is clearly signposted). As you emerge from amongst the farm buildings ignore the footpath sign ahead, and look to your left, where you will see another footpath signposted. Turn left and follow this path down to the River Dove.
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This last section of the walk follows part of the famous daffodil trail. Turn left at the end of the path down from Bragg Farm, and keep on the path nearest the river all the way back to Low Mill.