There is no more pleasant way to spend the afternoon than a walk through Littondale. The villages, stone barns, walls and winding river make for an interesting walk even if some is alongside a quiet road.
Litton and Arncliffe are two delightful villages tucked up one of the side valleys of Upper Wharfedale. The majority of visitors miss the left turn as they head for the popular village of Kettlewell and on to Wensleydale. However it is their loss. The quiet riverside walk linking the villages of Litton and Arncliffe is left to those who are seeking a quiet and peaceful stroll in lovely surroundings. It was not always quiet as Arncliffe was the inspiration behind Emmerdale Farm (using the name Amerdale) which encouraged a number of visitors. Now it is the domain of farmers and walkers.
The walk I have described is simple. Go along the river between the two villages and return via the quiet road. Having said that the water was running off the flanks of Scoska Moor and the river was high making the various fords impassable on my first visit. However the bridges held up fine. The outward leg of the walk passes Guildersbank. This is a preserved woodland and harbouring one of the largest Ash woodlands in the Dales. Aside from this it is just fields with attractive dry stone walls, many barns and Dalesbred sheep. As an added attraction there is of course the winding River Skirfare.
There is a bridge at Litton which takes you in to an attractive small village, complete with pub. However this then presents a choice for the walker. You may not want to return via the road, as empty as it usually is. Obviously a return by the same path is possible but I chose the road. As a result I enjoyed the different views as I headed down this very special valley. I was not run over once.
If you are in a car take the road from Arncliffe to Settle. Along with the road running parallel from Halton Gill there is no better driving in England for views and tranquility.
This walk through Littondale is a perfect place to practice the art of Pacing. Pacing is a navigational tool which can be useful on mist shrouded moors and higher land. It measures how accurately you can walk 100 metres ie: how many double paces it takes. Double pacing means every right or left foot. Mine is 67. When I do this on Navigation courses most people are close to this but those with longer legs take less, those with shorter legs more. Its a fun thing to do.
Measure it against the distance on a map.
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