GEORGE WILKINSON enjoys a walk at Buckden in the Dales, along a route with three pubs, a sombre isolated house, and something for waterfall fans too.

BUCKDEN’S National Trust car park has a shelter that is useful for pulling on your gear, especially here out west in rainy Upper Wharfedale. The River Wharfe can flood our first path and further on there are more boot-filling possibilities.

But on a damp and hardly cold winter’s day we had a smooth riverside mile, on the Dales Way, around the last and spacious grass fields of the valley, to Hubberholme which is little more than a pub, a farm and a church.

Here we stopped on the bridge, charmed by a dipper dipping on a rock, up and down, flashing a white breast, then dipping under the water, popping up and then dipping again.

Then we climbed, under the jackdaws’ trees, and up to Scar House that is sombre, isolated, jammed up against the rock and has a Quaker history.

Last year, kestrels reared three chicks here and the jackdaws didn’t bother them.

A buzzard glided over the top trees. The territories of the birds, the views, are grand, down Wharfedale and over Langstrothdale, the valley into which Wharfedale turns and tightens.

For a while there was the pleasure of a high grassland terrace almost level with the snow line across the valley.

But then there’s Crook Gill, the reason my navigator wanted to come here. She, a waterfall fan, had read a National Trust suggestion that here was a ‘secret’ place, one of ten on their land nationwide, that you can only find on foot.

I don’t know how many waterfalls there are on this gill, but the first was ok, the second not quite so good, and the third, which may be the one, has a nice curve to its shelved and undercut lip and the obligatory clinging ash tree.

The trust suggests one goes behind the fall; no thanks, not for a freshwater mermaid.

The temperature and the rain were falling and the light would soon. We pushed on to Cray which is essentially a farm and a pub. One of the reasons I agreed to this walk, it’s a classic, was the trinity of pubs – the Buck, the George and the White Lion, at intervals, but the Lion had the agents’ boards up which leaves Cray with two fords and some sobering stepping stones.

Those accomplished, we made height again for the splendid run-in along Buckden Rake.

A light came on down in Hubberholme, a pair of headlights came out from Langstrothdale, the highland cattle merged into the slopes of Rakes Wood and, back in Buckden, the Buck Inn glowed.



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

1. From car park entrance, cross road to track downhill by green, right to road, bridge, 25 yards. Gate (fp) on right to surfaced path by river and through fields, 4 small gates.

2. Fieldgate and right to road, into Hubberholme and first right over bridge.

3. Track on left by churchyard (fp), straight through farmyard, gate out, good track uphill (fp Scar House/Cray), ½ mile. Into yard, midway behind Scar House turn left on track uphill, 50 yards.

4. Right at three-way fp (Cray) through rocks to contouring path, gated squeezer. Keep on grassland with wall/fence nearby to your right.

5. At gated footbridge, left upstream to see waterfalls, and return the same way, some rough and boggy ground. Otherwise, over the footbridge, 200 yards, path angles uphill to wall, pass barn, gate, wall end, 2 gateways, 3 gates, track and ford. Straight on through Cray.

6. Cross road (fp Buckden), stepping stones or ford, gate, 100 yards (fp), left to path steep uphill by/near wall, angles right uphill for last 50 yds.

7. Gate and right to grass track for ½ mile, three fieldgates. Stoney track downhill to Buckden.


Fact file

Distance: Five miles.

Car parking: National Trust pay and display.

Right of way: Public.

Date walked: February 2015.

Tourist information: Grassington TIC 01756 751690.

Refreshments: Buckden and Hubberholme.

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales northern and central.

Terrain: Valley and higher.

Difficulty: Moderate if fine.

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