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Lower Wharfedale / 2 days / 41 miles (66km)

OS Route Map → Map GPX Route file →

Date: 16 Jul 2002
Start / Finish: Menston. Roadside near the rail station.
Maps: Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale

Day 1Rombalds Moor & Simons Seat17.5 miles / 2300 feet (28.2km / 700m)
Day 2Rocking Moor, The Washburn & The Chevin23.3 miles / 1300 feet (37.5km / 396m)

A backpack of the moors and reservoirs near Ilkley, taking in Rombald's Moor, Barden Fell and Simon's Seat.

Day 1 - Rombalds Moor & Simons Seat

From the station a Dales Way (DW) link route heads NW to Rombalds Moor and ascends to the edge path at Barks Crag. Leaving the link here a path ascends W to Lower Lanshaw dam and passes a spring to join another DW link track. Turning R, the Twelve Apostles stone circle lies to the R and shortly after a path branches W to the trig point at the summit 402m. Returning to the track, the DW link descends N to a rocky path down Ilkley Crags and continues through Ilkley to the Wharfe. From here we followed the DW N, first to Lobwood House 075518, where a concession path has been created parallel to the road on the W side, then to Bolton priory and the bridge at 077553. Crossing the bridge, a riverside path leads to a lane where we turned R to the start of the track leading N to the Valley of Desolation. The name refers to a storm disaster and this is actually quite attractive.

Bolton Priory
Bolton Priory (16 Jul 2002__15:03:05)
Bolton Priory
Bolton Priory (16 Jul 2002__15:05:33)

Continuing N on a track through a plantation to a ford, we climbed above Great Agill Beck, then followed the clear path through the peat and heather to Truckle Crags and the trig point on the rocky tor of Simon's Seat.

Pitch on Simon's Seat summit
Pitch on Simon's Seat summit (16 Jul 2002__20:02:00)
Pitch on Simon's Seat
Pitch on Simon's Seat (16 Jul 2002__20:03:00)

Day 2 - Rocking Moor, The Washburn & The Chevin

Heading E to the rocks of Lord's Seat we followed the path SE past a shooting cabin to Rom Shaw Head where it turns SW and joins another DW link track. This leads back E and traverses Rocking Moor to the River Washburn below Thrusscross Dam. Crossing at a footbridge it follows the river SE and we left it to follow the riverside path to Blubberhouses and Fewston reservoir. We took the reservoir shore track on the SW side to the dam (public toilets). At Swinsty reservoir we rejoined the DW link to the next dam at the S end. This part of the DW link obscures the reservoir and the large chippings are not pleasant underfoot, the shore path on the NE side might have been better.

North from the Chevin, Simons Seat beyond
North from the Chevin, Simons Seat beyond (17 Jul 2002__17:02:59)

Crossing the dam, a footpath follows the Washburn and crosses to the W side at a footbridge. At Ellers Wood we left it to follow footpaths and lanes S to Otley Bridge. From the S side of Otley a track climbs S towards The Chevin and we left it at White House to walk E through Chevin Forest Park to Caley Crags, then climbed up to join the higher level path back W (a DW link again) to The Chevin. There are many paths and tracks in this area and it was a mixture of careful map reading and following our noses. From the Chevin the DW link leads W back to Menston.