Where is this walk?

Austwick and Crummackdale

March 24, 2024

If I was ever asked to name where I believe the Dales landscape at its best then I would describe this walk from Austwick and Crummackdale. It is a geological lesson come alive with simply magnificent limestone scenery throughout. The views to Pen-y-Ghent and Inglebborough are pretty good too.

The Walk

The walk starts with a short pull from the pretty village of Austwick to a series of large boulders near Proctor’s Scar. These are the Norber Erratics. An erratic translates as ‘a boulder in the wrong place’. You would expect that the erratics are limestone in origin, being in the midst of spectacular limestone scenery. However they are not. The boulders are of Silurian stone and were left when the glaciers retreated in the last Ice Age, they may have been transported tens of miles. It is quite possible to tell which rock type is which by the colour of the moss which grows on it. The older Silurian sandstone has green moss whilst the more recent limestone grows white.

The view from the limestone pavement on Long Scar reveals a vast panorama starting from the summit of Ingleborough to the north west. From Long Scar continue north east towards the Moughton Scar and the head of Crummackdale. Nowhere is Pen-y-Ghent seen so well as from the top of Moughton Scar, perched above a sea of limestone pavements.

The return via the village of Wharfe is usually done at speed due to the excellent track of Green Gate Lane. A pretty picnic spot over a clapper bridge is worth a pause as is the small hamlet of Wharfe.


The limestone scenery is all encompassing in Austwick and Crummackdale. Therefore the exposed pavements and scars of white rock are everywhere, none better than the crossing over Moughton Scars. It is part of the Ingleborough Nature Reserve, the most wonderful example of limestone pavements in England.

In addition to the exposed pavements the limestone has left scars (mini cliffs). Here the retreating glaciers from 15,000 years ago (not long) ripped out chunks of the earth leaving the rock exposed and revealing the scars. These scars are constantly crumbling which is why there are often piles of roc and stones at their feet. Farmers from times past used these to build the many dry stone walls of the area.


If you need to shorten the Austwick and Crummackdale walk drop down to the farm at Crummack after the Norber Erratics. Return to Austwick via the Pennine Bridleway.

Navigation Tips in Crummackdale

Over Norber and the erratics the path is intermittent unless you stick to the sheep track on the eastern edge. However it is straightforward to leave the track and wander amongst the pavements and stick to the crest. This has good Ingleborough views. Also stick close to the path overlooking the scar on Moughton Scars.

This is where I hold our Hill Skills Navigation Training Course.

  • Michael Daly says:

    Absolutely superb walk albeit on a chilly day. A real hidden gem especially at the top end in the limestone fields. Incredible views with a moody Pen-y-Ghent and a shy Ingleborough as the back drop either side. Can’t wait to go back on a warmer day where can dwell a bit longer.

  • John Grimshaw says:

    What a walk, we picked a blustery day with white fluffy clouds racing over the landscape exposing the best of the varied colours on offer ranging from moody shadows to brilliantly lit vistas and vibrant purple heather against the white limestone crags.
    The old sheep dip was of special interest to our dog with Olympian efforts to swim against the channel to chase a stick. Best walk in the dales by quite a stretch, we covered a good eight miles and we’re lucky to spot the emergence of the spring for a cool drink of Yorkshire’s finest!

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