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29 October 2014
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A walk through historic Dentdale
One of the great views you'll see on this walk

This six mile walk through Dentdale has been devised by Howard Blackie.

The area is rich with history from evidence of early Norse settlers to more recent stories of Quaker families.

audio Listen to Howard Blackie & Mike Kemp on the walk
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A word of warning about this walk: beware of the ghostly witch.

It's said she lives at the waterfall known as Ibbeth Peril, a couple of miles outside of Dent. If you're the worse for wear with drink she's likely to kidnap you and place you in a dark cave under the waterfall.

And it's just by here, at a parking area, that this six mile walk begins.

Howard Blackie
Howard Blackie - volunteer ranger

It's been devised by Howard Blackie, a voluntary ranger with the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Listen to Howard Blackie and Mike Kemp on the walk

Dent, with its narrow cobbled streets, is the only village in Dentdale.

And as you walk one side of the River Dee before returning on the other, you see old farmsteads dating back hundreds of years dotted along the valley side.

They're about a quarter of a mile apart from each other and built because that's how the early Norse settlers preferred to live rather than in villages or communities.

The walk leaves Ibbeth Peril and follows the path to the north of the minor road running along the valley floor. The path offers fine views of the surrounding hills including Whernside.

You eventually pass St John's Church in Cowgill before walking along the minor road to the little hamlet of Lea Yeat, which had its heyday during the building of the Settle to Carlisle Railway.

Quaker history

The area is rich in Quaker history. Indeed one man in the 1670s was imprisoned in York for his beliefs. His wife and two children tried to run their farm while he was away but they eventually died from starvation.

There are also reported to be several large Quaker burials in the area.

The walk joins the Dales Way at Lea Yeat and you follow this path by the river. According to Howard on a grassy bank you can see the pinkish-coloured flowers of the marsh spotted orchids.

The leaves of this delightful flower were just beginning to appear when we passed by, but the end of May and early June is about the best time to enjoy this spectacle.

The path passes through Little Town Wood, here the temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year, and eventually emerges to wide open views of Dentdale.

You soon leave the Dales Way to drop down the valley side, across the River Dee and back to where you began by Ibbeth Peril.

The walk can be enjoyed at a gentle stroll and leaves you plenty of time to perhaps enjoy a glass of bitter from the Dent Brewery, which you'd have passed on the walk. But watch out for the ghostly witch!

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