Grass coats the smooth slopes, trees line the stream and big old ash attend the tracks. GEORGE WILKINSON enjoys himself at Marske.

MARSKE’S swallows were fidgeting on a line, readying for South Africa. We prepared for an unnamed Swaledale side valley and the Lodge Tea Room twanged with buoyant female South Australian voices.

While we waited for organic treats, I gathered that the three women were braving a Coast-to-Coast walk, that they “got lost every day”, had started as four, one carried a broken wrist and they were heading for the comforts of Richmond on a fair to middling day. The Lodge’s Beth Harwood-Mann took a look northwest and said it would turn out fine.

A fancy clock tower and cupola rises above the trees in a parkland scene of tall trees and fancy specimens so brilliant in the autumn. And after Clint Wood the valley keeps green. This is not the Swaledale so very scarred by lead mining. Grass coats the smooth slopes, trees line the stream and big old ash attend the tracks. Clint Crag is above, of white limestone teeth gapped with black yew trees.

The packhorse bridge we used to cross the valley is unusual, set very low, so not appearing arched. Underneath, Marske Beck ran clear under alder trees and there was a tight hatch of flying insects.

We were capped with this walk, the nicest for a while, and with no valley road it was quiet, though there are grouse moors to the west and MOD land to the north. Major Tony Crease from Catterick Garrison watched over the eagle owls that bred here for a decade; in 2006 he was ‘very saddened’ when they were gone, ‘like losing your dog’.

The valley turns a corner with Marske Beck and becomes nice and intimate with trees and rabbits, a grassy path and no room for fields.

Wagtails flitted on the rocks; recently they were reported to be in national decline.

Helwith is a farmstead. We had a look, it is a tough place, rough and roughened, with a manor house and a grand barn and there used to be a mission room.

The way back is a lovely open track; it starts rather rutted, then sweeps long and easy along the rounded edge of the valley at a good height, and then runs in on a dead-end lane.

Clint Scar caught the late afternoon sunshine, heather held some last purple, but it was the view northwest to where the valleys split and split again that caught our fancy for another day.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed. (wm=waymark).

1. From car park (honesty box), left to road junction and pavement uphill, ignore Private Road except for tea room, left to road on right-hand bend (dead-end sign), 100 yards, straight on to track as Tarmac curves right, fieldgate, cattle grid/fieldgate, track into wood, ignore left fork into field.

2. Fork left to path (battered wm post by large tree), 100 yards then leave wood at fieldgate to grass track.

3. At house, left to concrete track, 20 yards, grass track on right 200 yards, fieldgate (wm), grass track.

4. Pass between 2 barns, 100 yards, fork left to path near wall, pass large tree (wms), 100 yards. At end of wall at old gateway stones go into field below and right on path to angle down to Marske Beck. Zig-zag down steep bank to avoid landslip area.

5. Stone bridge, gate (wm), diagonally left, gate, uphill to fieldgate to left of garden/yard.

6. Right to track, 150 yards, at and above farm fork left uphill, 10 yards, fieldgate (wm and signs), 50 yards, fork right (no sign) to path by wall, small metal gate, 50 yards, right to narrow path to curve left, down and around end of the hill towards valley to fieldgate (wm). Valley path above/near beck.

7. Small gate on right near footbridge/ford to Helwith and immediately left to rough stone track uphill, 3 fieldgates. Along top of Telfit Bank, then on descent track is grassy, then stone.

8. Right to dead-end road, left to road in Marske.

Fact file

Distance: Six miles.

Car parking: Small car park in Marske, honesty box.

Right of Way: Public.

Date walked: September 2014.

Tourist information: Richmond TIC 01748 850549.

Refreshments: The Lodge Tea Room, Marske.

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales northern and central.

Terrain: Valley and moor.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.