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 Arkengarthdale from Langthwaite

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

 Langthwaite - Pay and display car park (NZ 005023)

Ordnance Survey Map
OL 30 Yorkshire dales – Northern and Central.

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Distance: 9.4 miles (excluding optional diversions) Date of Walk: 16 March 2012


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1921ft (586m)
1921ft (586m)

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Yorkshire Dales walk Arkengarthdale from Langthwaite - sketch map

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

Introduction: Arkengarthdale was an area of extensive lead mining until the end of the 19th century. There are spoil heaps everywhere and evidence of the “hush” mining where water was run over the ground to erode the surface layer revealing mineral bearing rock beneath. Langthwaite is the “capital” of Arkengarthdale, a pretty village whose  main claim to fame is that its bridge featured in the opening credits of All Creatures Great and Small, the 1970s TV series based on the books of the vet James Herriot. There is the Red Lion pub in Langthwaite for refreshments.

The walk starts from a small pay and display car park on the south side of Langthwaite. To get there, turn north from the B6270 in the centre of Reeth in Swaledale, to the right of the Bull Hotel, signposted Langthwaite 3 miles.

Start: Turn right out of the car park (NZ 005023) then right again across the bridge over Arkle Beck. Walk straight through the village, climbing between the cottages. Stay on the tarmac road until it peters out to a track which leads to the unusually named hamlet of Booze (NZ 015025). I am assured this is pronounced Bose and is nothing to do with drink but comes from either the Old English for house on the bend of the road or a reference to “bousing”, a process connected with lead mining.

Fremmington Edge towers above the hamlet.

Ignore a track to the left and stay on the one straight ahead where there is a notice warning “No cyclists or horse riders”. Walk straight through the farmyard of Town Farm.

Once past the farm, the path contours round the hillside. As it turns left upwards towards a barn, go right along the grassy level track. Pass to the right of the ruined Sleigill House and head towards the valley staying on the same contour level path. It then descends gently to the stream (Slei Gill) where you turn left [Note: in April 2024 it was reported that the footpath alongside Slei Gill was closed but that a diversion is easy to follow].


You approach what could be mistaken for the remains of a lime kiln but which is actually was the waterwheel pit for Washy Green Mine (NZ 022035). Pass to the right of this and climb the steep path up the bank. At the top, the route ahead through the heather is clear. When it forks after a few yards, keep right.

Head for the stone building where you join a broad track and turn left (NZ 018041). Stay on this main track as it meanders between the old spoil heaps. As you pass a stone cairn on the right, the track starts to descend. When you get to a ‘T’ junction, by a wall, turn right (NZ 009036). Pass beneath some rocky cliffs shown as Winegg Vein on the map and stay on this main track for another  ¾ mile or so until you reach the road (NZ 004048).

Turn left at the road and follow it for a mile crossing Stang Bridge, ignoring the right turn for Eskeleth and eventually turning right at the ‘T’ junction signposted for Tan Hill. After you have turned, note the unusual six-sided building on the right (NZ 999034) which was a magazine built in the 1800's to store gunpowder for the mines in the area.

Continue along the road for half a mile, crossing a cattle grid and look out for a barn on the right built into the wall. Take the bridle path opposite this (NZ 991038), to the left, off the road. Bear right over a large gravel area and stay on the clear track as it gradually climbs the hill sweeping right. It climbs towards a prominent large flat topped spoil heap on the edge of Whaw Moor. As you draw level with the top of the spoil heap, turn left, back on yourself (NZ 976035). There are good views here north to the top of Arkengarthdale and you may be able to see lorries on the A66.

As you crest the ridge after a stony section, turn left on the broad track. Follow it for about a mile and it starts to descend towards the road. You can either follow it to the road where you turn left, or, if you fancy something a little more exciting, bear left across the access land towards the corner of the trees (NZ 990023). Be sure not to aim to the right of the corner otherwise there is a deep ravine to negotiate. Turn right at the wall and follow it down to join the road. You pass to the left of the ravine with yet more evidence of mining at what was Turf Moor Hush.

Turn left at the road and follow it for ¼ mile where you turn right at two finger posts, one either side of the track (NZ 998026). At the fork, go right  then left at the next junction and follow the track alongside the stream back to Langthwaite.

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