Considering how close Airedale is to some major urban centres it is not a popular walking area. In particular this walk from Sutton-in-Craven and another in the nearby vale of Lothersdale are full of variety, interest and some spectacular views.
The Aire valley runs down from Skipton and through to Keighley and beyond. The valley is riddled with small villages, the remnants of the industrial age of the 19th century. The valley sides are not high but hide some hidden gems. However the best options take a bit of searching and often some local knowledge. Head for Sutton-in-Craven for one such walk.
Starting in a pretty, wooded dell the track then climbs out on to the wild moors. It can be difficult to pick your way through the paths between the farms but the views tend to compensate. The walk then follows the line of Earl Crag with its ‘salt & pepper pot’ monuments at each end. The origin of these is a bit of a mystery (probably follies) but they benchmark a spectacular half mile stretch of walking. The views on the return to Sutton are the best of the walk.
The more you walk in Airedale, or in fact in a lot of the Dales, it becomes inevitable that you want to learn more. This dale was packed with cotton mils during the 19th century, some still remain and have been converted for other uses. The Leeds Manchester canal also flows through the dale, built to move the processed cotton to the coast for export.
The land between the Keighley Road and the moor road is full of isolated farms and multitude of tracks. These are poorly signposted and can be difficult to follow but a great test of intricate map reading skills! Look at the map closely and pick the dashed green rights of way.
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