Where is this walk?

Exploring Cotterdale

August 25, 2017

Exploring Cotterdale is the most interesting section of a walk that starts by heading up the Pennine Way. After crossing a shoulder of moors from Cotterdale the return to Appersett is down Mossdale.

The Walk

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 miniature, a pretty beck running alongside the near deserted road leads down from the village/hamlet bearing the dales name. The village itself has only twelve houses and no facilities. It is all that remains of a larger 19th century thriving coal mining community.

The valley itself forms a perfect U  with the only accessible 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. However it is still a better option than retreating back down Cotterdale.


Exploring Cotterdale is worth the effort even if you are short of time. It is easily accessed.

Navigation Tips whilst exploring Cotterdale

Having scrambled up to the Pennine Way from Appersett do not miss the track to your left after 400 metres. This is the path in to Cotterdale.

Similarly the path crossing out of Cotterdale leaves the road and can be easily missed.

Finally on entering Mossdale the first section around Mossdale Head farm is a mess. Each time I have been there I have lost the path. Head for the junction of streams where there is a footbridge. From there the path is faint in places but straightforward.

  • 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.

  • 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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