Where is this walk?

Moors over Swaledale

April 3, 2023

The moors over Swaledale south of Reeth offer a different characteristic to those to the north. The fells are rounded and grassy and less (obviously) influenced by the areas industrial past.

The Walk

As with all walks in Swaledale, history makes for a constant companion. For example lead mine spoil heaps and other reminders are scattered across the slopes of Low Harker Hill. In addition the path passes close to the remains of Maiden Castle Fort. There is also a short detour to the Grinton Smelt Mill which I would include. Near the Smelt Mill is a wonderful old Shooting Lodge which is now owned by the YHA. It makes for an ideal venue and I can only be jealous of the school groups who enjoy their field trips and the university outdoor clubs who are exploring the area. Grinton itself is one of my favourite small Dales villages and I would always advise anyone passing through to visit St Andrew’s Church and of course the excellent Bridge Inn.

To me this part of the Dales has James Herriott written all over it. I can picture his old Austin Morris car struggling along the open, winding roads that come over from Leyburn and Wensleydale. I picture the roads as James fended off the numerous dogs that came with him. In addition there is also the sound of that so familiar (original) theme tune. The moors to the south of Reeth are quieter than the north and as a result more enjoyable. The views up and down Swaledale are so good High Harker Hill is passed almost without noticing.


Watch an episode from the original series of James Herriot before taking the walk. He may not have lived in Reeth but the film crew certainly filmed on the roads here.

Navigation Tips on the moors over Swaledale

Just before reaching the high point of High Harker Hill the path divides. The left hand fork is direct, however the right hand one is best to take if you have more time.

  • John Ryles says:

    Followed your map for this walk on Friday 10 Feb., it was cold and a bit icy but we enjoyed it anyway .we are retired now and enjoy walking the dales. Your site is new to us and I can see it is going to be very interesting. Thank you ..

  • Geoffrey Grinton says:


    I came across this site by chance, but just wanted to write and tell you how much I have enjoyed it. Although I live in Australia, my family and I have visited these areas a couple of times in the past 30 years, and enjoyed them immensely. With small children at those times we had little chance to do serious walking, but hope to do more in our retirement. The shorter walks we have done were a real joy, and we have also been pleased to find that our son (now 35) made a point of spending a weekend at Grassmere on a recent business visit to the UK in order to do some walking of his own there. I have loved the Lakes since childhood and reading Arthur Ransome (of course), and even though I am not aware of any relationship with the village of Grinton, my name means one feels an inevitable link to the village.

    This site seems to be quite new, so I encourage you to continue to develop it. I’ll certainly call back now and then, particularly if (when) we manage to plan a visit.


    BTW, you have some invalid links on page http://where2walk.co.uk/about-yorkshire-dales/reeth-grinton/, where the links contain an extra “http//”.

    • Jonathan says:

      Thanks Geoffrey, The church (St Andrews) certainly goes back at least till Norman times but I am not sure when the bname 1st came in to recognition, certainly at least 15th century. Anyway let me know when you are coming over and I can help you choose your best walks – I have recently put a couple on for Grasmere.

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