THERE are many excellent walks along the Wharfe and this is one of them. The walk is much improved by heading north, away from the river, and in to a land of hill forts, mining and impressive ‘Trollers Gill’.

Start by parking in Appletreewick (or Aptrick as the locals call it) near the New Inn hotel and head immediately down for a first taste of the River Wharfe. I prefer starting this walk in Aptrick rather than Burnsall, due to the wonderful 17th/18th century stone buildings, it is a place where I feel genuinely envious of those who live there. The Wharfe below the New Inn is a perfect picnic spot summer but at this time of the year it is more likely to be more dramatic, fast flowing and better to look at than paddle in.

Turn right at the river and head along for 200 metres before returning to the road. Cross the road and head up a track that climbs steeply uphill. To the left is Kail Hill, a good example of a reef knoll, rich in coral fossils and the purest form of limestone. On its summit are the remains of an Iron Age Fort, a fine look-out post. Where the track ends, a footpath carries on over the moors to meet Kail Lane near Height Laithe. Turn right on the lane and follow this over the moors for roughly a mile. The views towards Simon Seat are excellent, as are they due south down Wharfedale towards Castle Bolton.

Turn left on meeting a road and follow this for 200 metres till a footpath sign to the east drops steeply in to the north end of Trollers Gill. The Gill is a 300 metre long narrow limestone ravine, spectacular to walk through. It is usually dry but after heavy rain it can become a raging torrent…avoid! Aside from the torrent keep a look out for ‘Barghest’, a large beast that lives in one of the caves and is allegedly the inspiration behind the Hound of the Baskervilles. However the greatest danger is not raging torrents or fabulous beasts but the rough stony ground and the possibility of a turned ankle.

From Trollers the land opens out and you can follow a path along the stream towards Percevall Hall. Before arriving at the hall look for the remains of Skyreholme Dam, destroyed in 1899 after feeding the paper mill at Skyreholme. It was never repaired. Percevall Hall is signposted up a lane where the footpath meets the road. The gardens are fabulous in the spring and summer months (only open from April 1) and this impressive country house is also famous for being the resting place of a notorious gentleman highwayman, Swift Nick in the 17th century.

From the hall continue south through Skyreholme, past one footpath to your left and towards a second, just before the road bends west. The footpath climbs a little to a great vantage point near a barn. From here drop south towards the River Wharfe. A ¾ mile section of the Dales Way Long Distance footpath completes the walk, initially through some woodland but soon emerging to a riverside path.

Return to the New Inn via the same footpath that you started the walk.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales:

•Jonathan has written his own book, the “Dales 30” which describes the highest mountains in the Dales

•He also runs 1 Day Navigation Courses for Beginners and Intermediates

•Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill Weekend in the Dales

To find out more details on any of the above and details of many more walks in the area visit his popular website,