A low level walk in Upper Wharfedale links the three villages of Kettlewell, Starbotton and Buckden. The walk follows the river closely heading out and the lower slopes on its return.
The best part of the Dales Way is when it reaches Upper Wharfedale. The fells on either side of the valley start to close in, adding an element of remoteness to the walk that does not exist in the lower valleys. This shorter walk visits some of the lesser settlements from Kettlewell. As a result Cray, Stabotton, Hubberholme and Buckden are included in addition to Kettlewell. Hubberholme is the one that is noticeably different. The small village (little more than an extended farm) appears lost in time without the modern facilities that exist in the other villages. However it does have an attractive riverside pub to enjoy. As the Wharfe forks towards Cray the river (not the Wharfe at this stage, the Cray Beck) forms some wonderful little waterfalls and pools. Explore these at your leisure.
The walking in Upper Wharfedale is always straightforward and largely on good paths and quiet lanes. The River Wharfe is a almost constant companion, a proper mountain river at this point. Although it is rarely fast flowing there are times when it does slow down and form eddies and deep pools. I have guided many walks along this stretch of the river and I am always surprised how many visitors are returning to a favourite spot from the past. Many talk about swimming and paddling here and clearly something creates an intangible pull.
Keep eyes peeled for the ever increasing otter population although the dippers and kingfishers may be more obvious.
Follow the Dales Way on the west side of the River Wharfe. Return via the higher path from Cray to Starbotton or follow the road. From Starbotton to Kettlewell there is a path just above the road.
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