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5 Walks In The Yorkshire Dales

 Gargrave to East Marton 

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

Gargrave - free car park on North Street (SD 932543)

Ordnance Survey Map

OL2 Yorkshire Dales – Southern and Western Areas.

Distance: 6.8 miles

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North Yorkshire walk Gargrave to East Marton - skectch map

To view route as a dynamic Ordnance Survey map click here.

Introduction: Gargrave is a “honeypot” village between Settle and Skipton on the A65 in North Yorkshire, very popular with day trippers. Contrary to what many believe, it is not within the Yorkshire Dales National Park boundary.

Pennine Way markerThis very easy walk from Gargrave follows the route of the Pennine Way across the fields to East Marton then returns to Gargrave via the towpath along the Leeds Liverpool canal. As this walk uses part of the Pennine Way, a plus is that it is well marked with fingerposts or round signs on posts. The minus is that because of the popularity of the Pennine Way, the areas around the stiles and gates can be very muddy after wet weather. In fact after wet weather, many of the fields near Gargrave can be quite “squelchy”.

Another plus for this walk is that if you wish, you can forget the sandwiches and have lunch and a warm-up at the pub, The Cross Keys at East Marton, or the Abbots Harbour restaurant and tea rooms (check opening times).  It is therefore a good walk for inclement weather (despite the mud!) or cold winter days.

The main potential hazard facing walkers on this route is the unwelcome attention of aggressive swans in the nesting season. They nest on the opposite side of the canal to the towpath but fiercely guard their section of canal. Based on my experience, as long as you do not linger in the area opposite the nest and keep walking, you should not have a problem.

Refreshments and public toilets are available in Gargrave along the A65 and of course refreshments at East Marton.

The walk starts from a free car park in Gargrave. To get to it, turn off the A65 at the Old Swan Inn on to North Street. The car park is a hundred yards or so on the right hand side.

Start: From the car park (SD 932543), set off in the direction of the fingerpost in the corner towards the railway station and the church, passing in front of the village hall on West Street.

At the main road (A65), go straight across and over the river bridge.

Gargrave centre

river bridge at Gargrave

Pass the church and 100 yards or so beyond, take the footpath on the right indicated by a fingerpost “Pennine Way” and “Trenet Bridge 2 miles” (SD 932539). Opposite some garages, go left over a stile and immediately right following the fingerpost.

The Pennine Way is generally well marked but note after going through the second metal walkers gate, the route of the footpath in the next field can be a little indistinct. Just stick to the left of the power cables and as you crest the rise, you will see the gate in the corner with a fingerpost. Join a broad track through this gate and turn left (SD 927537).

Gargrave with Flasby Fell behind

Cross the railway bridge and follow the track until just after a cattle grid (SD 925533). Here, go left over a stile then follow the path bearing right up the field. Head for the fingerpost on the near horizon. As you near it, the mass of Pendle Hill looms ahead. Continue to follow the Pennine Way signs.

Cross and ignore a broad track leading to a barn and Newton Grange. Continue along the right hand side of the fields and look out for a footbridge across the stream. Cross this and go straight ahead up the hill bearing slightly left – head between the two power poles. You will then pick up the route of the path which passes around 200 yards to the right of the stone built house.

After crossing the flat top of the field, the path descends to a walkers' gate. Go through this and on the broad track, turn left then immediately right at the entrance to Trenet Laithe and over the little bridge (SD 915518).

Stay on the main track until you reach the turn on the left for “Pennine Way” and “East Marton ½ mile”. Follow the path into the wood along a narrow walled path for the first few yards then over a stile before turning right. The path follows the edge of the wood briefly before bearing left across the field where you join a broad track. Turn left here along the track.

Stay on this track and look out for a “Pennine Way” sign on the left which points along the towpath. The route to East Marton does not go along the towpath but straight ahead over the bridge (SD 911511). However it is worth walking the 300 yards or so along the towpath to see the very unusual double arched bridge which carries the A59 over the canal. You could join the A59 here and walk along it to the Cross Keys but it is a fast and for walkers a dangerous road so I recommend retracing your steps to the Pennine Way fingerpost then turning left over the canal bridge to follow the lane to the pub.

Canal bridge at East Marton

Double bridge at East Marton

Canal scene at East Marton

There are always a number of boats moored here, some of which seem to have permanent residents.

After visiting East Marton, return to the canal and turn right over the bridge and right again at the towpath to pass under the same bridge to follow the towpath back to Gargrave. Note on the way back, there are a couple of places where you briefly walk along the road and rejoining the towpath means crossing a canal bridge then turning left and back under it to rejoin the towpath.

You pass locks at Bank Newton.

Locks at Bank Newton

The canal winds around some tight curves as it picks its way along the contours of the land. Stay on the towpath as it passes under the A65 road bridge. At the next bridge you reach, by lock number 32, turn right along the road back to the car park.

If you need to buy any hiking equipment/clothing before your trip see the Hiking Store

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All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.