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 Middleham, Richmond, North Yorkshire, 24th June, 2018

'A' Walk - 12.5 miles.  Leader - Alan Taylor.  Grade - Moderate.  Ascent  2000 feet.

Middleham is a beautiful and interesting place from which to start and finish our walk. We last visited and enjoyed the town almost six years ago – where has all that time gone??? We will see varied landscapes in the area – ‘lush’ grassy rolling pastures, Middleham CastleMiddleham Castle‘wild’ Heather and Fern Grouse-laden moorland, exposed crags and amazing views over the surrounding Dales. The town itself exudes timeless solidity and history – the Castle was the childhood home of King Richard III who died during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 (the Wars of the Roses) and just 2 years after becoming King.

Take a look at the following website where the story of Middleham is better told than these few lines of text ever could . . . http://www.middlehamonline.com/index.shtml

 We start our walk by heading due south past the Castle and over William's Hill as far as the River Cover where we turn due west to cross Hullo Bridge.

Now, we have a 500yd walk along a very narrow local road - vigilance is paramount here as the road is barely wide enough for farm machinery to pass and the grass verges are steep and narrow in places!!

 We skirt Braithwaite Moor and go up and around into Coverdale via Caldbergh and then on to Caldbergh Moor where the landscape changes dramatically.

We turn eastwards at the saddle between Jenny Binks Moss River CoverRiver Coverand the lower contours of Great Haw, we are confronted with the fact that there is no footpath to follow for a few hundred metres despite it being clearly shown on the OS Map. By using Scale Gill as a 'hand rail' we eventually meet a recognisable footpath. After travelling along Long Side and enjoying the views around us, which includes exposed crags and Hanging Stones, we come to the trickiest part of the days walk - Backstone Gill. . . . the ground falls steeply into and out of the Gill and care must be taken with your footing as the area is very overgrown with fern and it is not easy see where your feet are being placed. I also found, to my dismay, the natural path taken into the Gill did not marry up with a natural onward path out of it - the path is found several metres higher up the Gill. After safely negotiating the Gill the path becomes an easy single track which will cause no problems . . . just enjoy the views but be aware of the narrow path!

The path changes yet again as we pass over Agra Moor and Witton Moor, the path resembles (in my opinion) a badly eroded The 'locals'The 'locals'and broken-up dry river bed - watch where your feet are being placed as it is very rough. Before we know it we are over the top of Witton Moor and heading, very steeply, down into East Witton. At this point you will be very appreciative that we walked the route in an anti-clockwise direction from Middleham!!!

The remainder of the walk reverts to lush grassy pastures and a rather pleasant crossing over the River Cover before sighting the Union Jack above Middleham Castle as we, once again, climb William's Hill and pass the Castle before taking some well deserved refreshment from all that the town has to offer.

A great walk and an interesting day out. You will certainly feel like you have done a walk!!

'B' Walk - 8 miles.  Leader - Barry Osborne. Grade - moderate.    Ascent 1066 feet.

Our walk today starts and finishes in the lovely town of Middleham in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire . The population of Middleham at the last census was 825 and quite of proportion of the population obviously work in the various racing stables in the area. It is also famous for its 12th century castle which has the largest keep in the north of England and was once called the "Windsor of the North". In the centre of Middleham on market square there is a medieval preaching cross, where many weary travellers have rested on its steps.

Leaving the town in a westerly direction with the castle on our right, we climb onto Middleham Low Moor, famously used as the gallops for the many racing stables for which the town is so well known. If we are lucky we may see a string of horse on the gallops.

We walk across this moor for about 2 miles, then head South through Tupgill Park where we will stop for refreshment.

 After the break we pass 'Forbidden Corner', a major attraction in the area, 

which leads to a foot bridge across the River Cover. This then takes us to a very narrow path which emerges on Hanghow Lane . A short walk along this lane in an easterly direction leads to a gate, after which we then progress South, up a steep but short climb through a field to a wooded area . From here we look for a very well-hidden stile before continuing in open country across 3 more stiles until we come back to Hanghow Lane . Walking along this lane we see Braithwaite Hall on our right. The lane continues, passing a farm where we turn North across fields to reach Hullo Bridge which takes us back across the River Cover. We track the river until we come to the stepping stones, however, we do not cross the river but turn  North here -  if we are lucky we may see trout in the river at this point.

We then cross several fields to join Straight Lane, before a short walk back into Middleham and the delights that are on offer from the Richard the 3rd Hotel, the White Swan Inn, the Black Bull or the various cafés.

Another wonderful walking area.

 'C' Walk - 5.5 miles.  Leader - Michael Farka. Grade - Easy/moderate.  Ascent - 500 feet.

After arrival in centre of Middleham, we make our way to the Dente Arms for our morning refreshments. A pot of tea will cost you £1.60 and for two £3.00. Various coffees will cost £2.70 or less for Americano coffee and there are no  pastries of any kind to purchase.

After the break we set off from the centre of town in a southerly direction, up an incline and through a narrow ginnell towards and past the castle ruins.      

We adjust our direction towards the south east of the river and River CoverRiver Covercontinue over several grass fields  passing South Lodge on the way. On reaching the edge of the grass field we “slide down” towards the river for our mid-morning break.

After the stop we take the river path, continue over the road bridge, down some steps, towards and along the river. Shortly,we take a footpath to the left which continues across more grass fields to East Witton. Here we shall take our lunch break and purchase a drink/use toilets at the Blue Lion Inn.

After lunch we set off in a westerly direction and pick up a footpath between the houses, turning in a northerly direction towards/along the river and over the road bridge where we meet up with the river path. This path will take us near the midway point in the walk where we leave the river footpath but follow an ascending grass path, which becomes  Straight Lane.  We continue on this inclined path passing South Lodge on our left but continuing towards and past Chapel Fields. The path continues on towards  the Castle ruins and into the town centre for a change of boots and refreshment in one of many hostelries.

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 The 500ft ascent is distributed between several places; they are inclines rather than hills and most of the walk takes place on soft grass fields and on solid soil footpaths - no mud. The only variance is a hard track surface past the Castle and a short section of country road  over a road bridge in East Witton.There are several up-and-over stiles but we shall avoid the well known 'Stepping Stones'.

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Forthcoming Walks

                     2018 ...     July 8th -   Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

                                    July 22nd - Barrowford, Pendle. Lancashire.

                                    August 5th - Lofthouse, North Yorkshire.

                                    August 19th - Osmotherly, North Yorkshire.