Ivy Scar

The drive along the A684 from Leyburn to Hawes is practically the definition of ‘taking the scenic route’. It takes half an hour on a good day to drive the 15 or so miles between the two market towns: but the drive is spectacular enough that you could spend hours crawling along enjoying the view. You very often see people pulled over at the side of the road with their camera out snapping the view! One of our favourite views along this route is the view of Ivy Scar as you’re dropping down to Bainbridge. It’s a dramatic rocky outcrop which looks a bit how I imagine the surface of the moon looks, and with a blue sky and the first green shoots of spring creeping through, there was no better place to head for a walk on the first weekend which definitely had a bit of spring in the air.

We had a snoop on the OS maps app to find a route and started off following this ten kilometre circular walk. We started the walk from Ballowfields Nature Reserve, where there is a small free parking area just off the main road. Rather than sticking to this route though we took a right to follow the bridlepath running below the scar back to the parking area, avoiding the river side section as it’s been wet underfoot recently.

After a first steep pull to get to the top of the scar, this is a pretty easy walk. You follow grassy tracks and the odd surfaced path on a route which is almost all flat or downhill after the initial climb at the start. Navigation may be tricky if conditions aren’t clear as some of the paths are non existent – you just need to rely on your map and the landscape features around you.

The views on this walk were fab – at first looking over towards Addlebrough, before the heather patched landscape looking towards Swaledale opens up in front of you once you finish the traverse of Ivy Scar. You don’t need to look far to be impressed though, with the rocky escarpment providing a fantastic view all along the return leg (if you pick up the bridleway like we did).

The landscape here is dotted with reminders of the Dales’s mining history: we saw an old metal wheel next to a waterfall, as well as a few spoil heaps. This area was used for lead mining, and the lead carried downstream by the water is what’s led to the rare plants growing today at the nature reserve where we started.

Dog friendly rating – 3/5. There’s potential to come across livestock anywhere on this walk, and with spring about to arrive, it’s safer to keep dogs on leads (especially around lambing). However, there were no stiles which required us to lift the dogs over, no road walking, and there were a few places where the dogs could stop and have a drink – especially important now that the warmer weather will soon be on it’s way!

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2 thoughts on “Ivy Scar

  1. Beautiful scenery, very rugged. And yes, that time of year again where lambing, livestock and nesting birds make for lots of on lead time. Lovely time of year to be out and about though, isn’t it?


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