Where is this walk?

Barbondale and Calf Top

June 8, 2019

The walk through Barbondale and on to Calf Top is very enjoyable. Calf Top is one of the Dales 30 mountains and its broad ridge makes for easy walking. The vlley of Barbondale is unspoilt and quiet.

The Walk

Calf Top was reclassified as a mountain in 2016 broaching the magic 2,000 foot mark after a resurvey. Well done! Calf Top is therefore one of the Dales 30 Mountains The ridge leading to Calf Top climbs wide grassy slopes with extensive views in all directions. In particular to the north and west where the Langdale Pikes are clearly visible. If you continue along the ridge past Calf Top it is a steep drop in to Dentdale. Don’t, turn sharp right and drop in to Barbondale.

Barbondale is one of my favourite valleys in the Dales. Barbon Beck meanders gently through a geographer’s dream, a steep sided valley carved out by the ice thousands of years ago. A Herriot style road runs next to the beck. The beck provides some wonderful picnic spots although I have never found it over crowded. Being south facing it also catches a lot of sun. Higher up there are some potholes and caves within the beck and I have seen divers in full scuba gear plunging the depths.

The beck runs through the grounds of Barbon Hall (built specifically for cholera sufferers in the 19th century), which, although attractive in its own right, is most famous for a National B Motor hill climb. This is held intermittently and presently run by the Westmorland Motor Club. It is easy to forget that Barbondale is in Cumbria although the Yorkshire Dales National Park have recently stolen it for themselves! I do not blame them.

Recommend (for petrol heads)

The beck runs through the grounds of Barbon Hall (built specifically for cholera sufferers in the 19th century), which, although attractive in its own right, is most famous for a National B Motor hill climb. This is held intermittently and presently run by the Westmorland Motor Club.

Navigational Tips on Barbondale

To descend to the dale floor over Calf Top for nearly one km before descending via a stile and aiming for the path arriving from the left (Dentdale) before arriving at the Barbondale Road. This is the most gradual slope of the steep fell side on the Barbondale side of Calf How.

6 Comments
  • Mark Cresswell says:

    We did Calf Top from Barbon today.Rather than retrace our steps there looked a nice path down the obvious ridge to Mill House and then pick up the public footpath to Low Fellside.We were met with a rather curt notice on the gate saying check your map on exiting the fell and a big private sign.We crossed the beck to pick up the right of way but the gate was padlocked.Don’t make the mistake we did.

    • Jonathan says:

      Totally unnecessary. I have every sympathy. There must be a few metres between the access fellside land and the public right of way.

  • Gill white says:

    Hello did this walk today, thoroughly enjoyed it. I measured it on my Fitbit and it came out at over 11 miles. We didn’t go wrong anywhere, just wondered about the difference in mileage.

    • Jonathan says:

      It may depend where you left Calf Top for the descent. The sensible way along the ridge is a further 2 miles round trip. I descended by the steep front.

  • Jamie Norman says:

    The views are long distance, with some minor, fleeting interest – morecambe bay, howgills etc, but the first half of the walk is very, very dreary…almost void of wildlife. Saw one violet ground beetle, some dead frogspawn, one fungus, some gulls (flying down to the farm)…although there were skylarks every 100m or so after the first summit. The suggested descent is stupidly steep and dull – worth descending the other side I’d say, although it yielded a few wheatears on a wall, and the road walk led me past some coltsfoot and a pair of dippers swimming in the beck. One plus – I saw no-one at all, during Easter holidays, until I joined the road (1 cyclist, 5 vehicles) and 6 people in the woods near Barbon. Stay low in the valleys and they’re much more worthwhile.

  • David Stamp says:

    Great comments about Barbondale – I live in Barbon and totally agree.

    Do remember that from August 2016 the Lune Valley villages of Barbon, Middleton and Casterton will be included within the expanded Yorkshire Dales National Park.

    We are very proud of that and seeing more walkers and cyclists in Barbon village and our fells….

    Do remember dogs on leads at all times when in fields with sheep and lambs. Not everyone remembers that…

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