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 crowds tend to head further north to Kettlewell and over to Wensleydale bypassing one of the gems of the Dales. However it is their loss. The quiet riverside walk linking the villages of Litton and Arncliffe is therefore left to those who are seeking a quiet and peaceful stroll in lovely surroundings. It was not always so as Littondale was the inspiration behind Emmerdale Farm (using the name Amerdale) and Arncliffe used to be over run with tourists but thankfully the trippers have been replaced by the odd intrepid walker.
The walk I was on is simple, although the water was running off the flanks of Scoska Moor and the river was high making the various fords impassable. I had to stick to bridges which was 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 as well as the river Skirfare. There is a bridge at Litton. However this then presents a dilemma for the walker who does not want to return via the road, as empty as it usually is. A return by the same path is certainly possible but I chose the road and thoroughly enjoyed the 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 parallel road from Halton Gill there is no better driving in England.
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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