Exploring Cotterdale

  • Lovely unspoilt valley
  • Good views down Wensleydale
  • Start at pretty Appersett

Thousands of travellers will pass through Hawes and head towards Sedbergh or Dent without any inkling that Cotterdale exists. That is their loss, and for those who do discover this pretty side valley of Wensleydale, their gain. Cotterdale is a perfect valley in minature, a pretty beck running alongside the near deserted road leads down from the village which bears the valley’s name. The village itself has only 12 houses and no facilities and is the remnants of a larger 19th century thriving coal mining community.

The valley itself forms a perfect U  with the only accesible path on the lower slopes of Great Shunner Fell. The path however is a delight and passes along open hillside with perfect views of the valley and patches of newer woodland, recently planted. The second half of the walk through Mossdale is a complete contrast; meadows and open fields are the order of the day with the woodland surrounding the River Ure offering a screen from the busy road. The hillside of Cotter Riggs separates the two valleys and it is like walking into a different world when descending into the A684 corridor, but still a better option than retreating back down Cotterdale.

Recommend:  Cotterdale is worth a detour in the car for anyone who is unable to manage the walk due to time or age.

Download GPX file

Cotterdale map

All maps are copyright of Where2Walk ©2018

OS Map: 1/25,000. OL19 Howgill Fells & the Upper Eden Buy Map
Start Point: SD 858907. The village of Appersett has a pretty green with available parking. Start by heading over both road bridges and taking the footpath due north from the 2nd bridge
Height to Climb: 242ms (794 feet)
Terrain: Clear tracks throughout, a little wet over Cotter Riggs, although I did get lost in the farm at Mossdale Head!
Eating & Drinking: Appersett is dry (albeit attractive) and the nearest pubs and tea shops are 1 mile away in Hawes
Similar Walks Nearby: Fells over Hawes
A Wensleydale Highway
Hardraw Falls from Hawes
Places to Stay:


Stone House Hotel, nr Hawes


  1. Simon Davies says:

    Thanks for the route and for your guidance. Also to your correspondent Tony for his enthusiasm. Completed the walk on a lovely early autumn day with gathering cloud but no rain until tucking into one of the aforementioned Elijah’s wonderful pies. The best Cornish pasty outside Cornwall! One small word of caution for fellow dog owners: 20kg of Labrador got to be mighty heavy after hefting over the thousandth (I exaggerate: a little) stile. Sadly 21st century stile builders bave forsaken the humble dog.

  2. Tony Grey says:

    My wife first introduced me Cotterdale over thirty years ago as she holiday there with her parents.
    We stayed at Sheperds Cottage built in 1616 and belong to her primary school teacher.
    We stopped there every year for the next 20 years when the Old Chapel came on the market as a family we considered buying it so happy were we there.
    We have walked over Shunner and round by the Buttertubs and dined at Simonstone Hall,
    we have fished in the Beck swam in the Force and seen more wet than sunny day so wellies were worn more than flip flops,endless family games of cards,all manner of cakes and pies from Elijah Allens walks to the Green Dragon as our three grew and left home.
    All have revisited Cotterdale with their partners and one spent his first anniversary there
    and today our eldest son has rung to ask us to join his family to stay with them at Cotterdale the fourth generation to do so.
    Visit at your peril you may end up in a Ground Hog Day continumn.

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