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29 October 2014
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Fantastic scenery in Swaledale
View of Swaledale
Spectacular views of Swaledale

This walk from Muker takes in some of the best scenery Swaledale has to offer.

What's more there's no need to climb any huge hills in order to appreciate it, as Mike Kemp discovered.

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Other walks in North Yorkshire:
Coneysthorpe

Chopgate

Dentdale

Flamborough

Grosmont

Masham

Muker

Peaks

Pen-y-ghent

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It’s often thought you have to climb the highest mountains or the biggest hills to enjoy spectacular views. How wrong you can be?

This walk, perhaps more than most, shows how even a relatively short climb can give you a bird’s eye view of this fine county.

Gordon Hatton
Gordon Hatton

Gordon Hatton, a volunteer with the Yorkshire Dales National Park, who took me on this walk, says the view at the end of this six-mile ramble is not to be missed.

The walk begins from the village of Muker, a community of sturdy-looking buildings, the legacy of its lead-mining heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries which brought in great wealth.

Listen to Gordon Hatton and Mike Kemp on the walk

You head off across flower-rich hay meadows of international importance. Important because farmers don’t use artificial fertilisers.

After enjoying the colours and smells of any number of wild flowers you pass through a gate on to the banks of the fast-running River Swale.

Across a bridge to the other side and follow the path to the bottom of Swinner Gill, an old smelt mill. On the way keep your eyes peeled for lapwing, oyster-catchers or sand-pipers.

At the gill head up hill and eventually you’ll be looking down on the peaty waters of the Swale. The noise you’ll hear of running water is that of Kisdon Force, a waterfall. But you won’t be able to see it on this walk unless you take a detour.

Head into the village of Keld which, disappointingly, doesn’t have a shop or a pub and leave on the minor road which would eventually take you all the way back to Muker.

View of Swaledale
View of Swaledale

Don’t do that or you’ll miss the wonderful views to come. Because you turn off just outside Keld to head up on to the fell on the medieval track way, known as the Corpse Road.

In days gone by bodies used to be brought this way for burial at Grinton church yard.

Already the views are impressive, across the jigsaw pattern of farmers’ fields, but the best is yet to come.

Over the rise and the valley opens up before you giving you as good a bird’s eye view of the countryside as you’re going to get without taking flight.

Muker is laid out before you like a map. “There isn’t a better view in the Dales” says Gordon Hatton.

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