As you may know if you’ve been following this blog for a while, Swaledale is our favourite place to get out for a walk. Relatively close to home and much less crowded than places like Wensleydale and Ribblesdale, Swaledale has more than its fair share of dramatic scenery and public footpaths to lead you to it. Mostly, our Swaledale adventures centre on Reeth, with the odd jaunt to place like Keld, Muker or Grinton, but this time we opted for a walk starting in the tiny village of Marske. The village escapes the notice of many people given how small it is (population around a hundred), but it is quaintly charming and has a Norman church which is worth a visit if you like historical buildings.
The walk we followed was a six mile circular route from our trusty Pocket Mountains guide to the Yorkshire Dales (don’t ask me how many of these handy little books I’ve got now, I’ve lost count). If you prefer to find your routes online, there is a longer ten mile version on My Yorkshire Dales. The route we followed was a nice steady hike, with no steep ascents or descents, climbing gradually and on mostly good paths.
The route starts from Marske, where there is a small parking area at the foot of the bridge (honesty box contributions). Leaving the village, you pass through the small privately owned Clints wood, before crossing open countryside to eventually climb up Telfit Bank, where the views are more than worth the very easy climb. Clints Wood is one to visit in early spring, when it is completely covered in snow drops.
Although it was pretty cloudy, Swaledale never fails to impress. The landscape is unique to this part of the Dales, with the hillsides undulating to create a vivid textured appearance, which was only highlighted when the sun occasionally peeped through the clouds. We couldn’t believe how quiet the walk was – despite the parking area in Marske being full, we only saw two other groups of walkers.
Following the track along the top of Telfit Bank is quite exposed, so wrap up warm if you do this walk in winter. Make sure you stop to enjoy the views over the valley, with Clints Scar drawing the eye for most of your return leg. Navigation is pretty easy, following the main surfaced track all the way from the halfway point to pick up the road to return to Marske at the end.
Dog friendly rating – 3/5. While there aren’t many opportunities to let your dog off the lead on this walk due to livestock (sheep, cows and horses – none of which took an interest in us), we did find an enclosed track at the end where they could have a run. The woods sadly are not suitable to let your dog off the lead as they are privately owned and there are signs up asking that dogs are kept on the lead. However, there were no stiles on this walk (automatically scoring any walk a minimum of 3/5!), and crossing the bridge by Orgate Force gives dogs the opportunity to have a drink and a paddle. The walk ends with a short section along a quiet road (we didn’t see any cars), but if you want to avoid this with your dog, you can pick up a footpath which follows the river bank back to Marske.
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