Upper Dentdale and a climb up Great Knoutberry offers one of my favourite walks in the Yorkshire Dales. It combines great views from the lovely summit of Great Knoutberry Hill with the engineering master class of Arten Gill viaduct.
Not many people visit Upper Dentdale & Great Knoutberry Hill. Even the road in Upper Dentdale is empty. Therefore the final two miles of the walk, which is on tarmac, are perfectly pleasant. It is also a delight to wander on the easy slopes of Great Knoutberry Hill. Along with the exquisite summit area I find this one of the most delightful areas in the Yorkshire Dales. A faint path leads to the summit from the top of the bridlepath but there is a choice on the descent.
One option takes you directly towards Upper Dentdale. There are lovely views down the dale from here. In particular there are some standing stones above the bridlepath that skirts the summit slopes which offers some picture postcard views. Alternatively head north and visit the twin tarns of Widdale, the shake holes and meet the masses of swallows that live in the swallow holes.
In addition the area was once famous for being the home of Dent Marble. However it is not in fact marble but a dark limestone that includes a particularly high fossil concentrate. Primarily it is used used for fireplaces, Queen Victoria had one. However the marble can be viewed locally. It is part of the two great viaducts in Upper Dentdale, Dent and Arten Gill.
Great Knoutberry Hill is one of the Dales 30 Mountains
This route may be best taken by train with a start and finish at Dent Station. If so travel down in to Upper Dentdale first. I did the route by car from the Sportsman’s Inn.
There are no paths on the descent to Widdale Tarns (if you choose that way) just rough featureless moors. In the cloud is down at the summit either follow the fence due west to the main bridlepath or take a compass to head for the tarns.
I completed this walk today and didn’t meet anybody else until almost back to my starting point at Stone House. The views at the top are wonderful and the only sound to be heard is the faint whistling as the breeze blows through the wire fence. I would agree that this is one of the loveliest locations in the Dales.
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