The Norber Erratics

  • A geological lesson near Austwick
  • Silurian erratics meet limestone scars
  • Panoramic views of the western Dales

If I was ever asked by someone to show them the best example of a Dales landscape this would be it. The view from the limestone pavement on Long Scar reveals a vast panorama starting from the summit of Ingleborough to the north west, sweeping north east through the almost perfect Moughton Scar round to Pen y Ghent (seen at its finest from here). The walk described starts with a short pull to a series of erratics (literally meaning ‘boulders in the wrong place’) known as the Norber erratics.

Despite this being obvious limestone scenery the boulders which scatter the landscape hereabouts are of Silurian stone and were left when the glaciers retreated in the last Ice Age. It is quite possible to tell which rock type is which by the colour of the moss which grows on it; the older Silurian sandstone has green moss whilst the newer limestone grows white. The other legacy that came out of the retreat of the glaciers is the almost perfectly formed U shape valley of Crummock Dale.

Walking back down the valley to the small hamlet of Thwaite it is unfortunate that the lane is dominated by the high stone walls on either side thereby restricting the view and resulting in a hurried retreat. However there is a very popular picnicking spot near Wharfe and a pleasant spot to linger, further up the valley, where the path crosses Austwick Beck. Austwick village also provides a lovely beginning and end to the walk, one of the most worthy villages in the Dales.

Recommend. Avoid the distraction of the long trek over to Ingleborough and spend time exploring Moughton Scars at the head of Crummock Vale. This is not a walk for peak bagging.

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Austwick map

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OS Map: O/S 1/25,000. OL2 Yorkshire Dales South & West Buy Map
Start Point: SD 786686. Anywhere in Austwick is fine. The walk starts by taking you through Town Head and a left on to Thwaite Lane and first stile on to the hillside.
Height to Climb: 257 ms (843 feet)
Terrain: The hillside is riddled with sheep tracks masquerading as paths. Feel free to choose any or none. It does not really matter what route you take on the wide ridge for the first part of the walk, a path then skirts across to Moughton Scars and once in the valley you are rather directed by the wide lanes leading up to the farm.
Eating & Drinking: There is no pretty tea shop in Austwick but a pleasant pub called the Game Cock Inn. A pint of Thwaites in the sun here is a pleasant way to finish the walk.
Similar Walks Nearby: Limestone hills above Feizor
Historic Villages near Settle
Ingleborough via Gaping Gill
Places to Stay: