I HAVE not moved far for this walk. My home village of Long Preston is a perfect base for an interesting walk in lovely countryside. You will hardly see a soul.

The village of Long Preston lies astride the A65 between Skipton and Settle and is a quiet but interesting village. St Mary Church and large graveyard are certainly worth a visit.

There is no official parking in the village but plenty is available near the Maypole pub. From here head away from the A65, past the idyllic small school on your right and along a tarmacked lane heading just north of east.

The Tarmac runs out at a farm to your left but carry on to cross Long Preston beck via a small footbridge. Turn left and head alongside the river (the strange circular wall above is the Long Preston reservoir!) through fields of sheep for nearly half a mile.

Where the land opens up cross a footbridge and start to veer away from the river, through a kissing gate and on to a footpath which climbs steadily north east for over half a mile.

After two gates, a broken wall the path follows the stream on your right as it bends left. The path crosses the stream over some rough stepping stones and arrives on Langber Lane.

Turn left on to the lane and follow this for two miles. There is a considerable amount of tree planting to the left as you walk, this is part of the efforts to bring more mixed woodland to the Yorkshire Dales.

Not only is it natural and attractive but trees help retain water in the soils and reduce flooding further down the valleys by regulating water flow after heavy rains.

We always get the blame for flooding in York and other cities! The newly-planted mixed woodland becomes more traditional forestry as you approach the main road from Settle to Malham.

On meeting the main road turn left and almost immediately the road crosses a steep sided stream. After crossing the bridge turn left and a small wooded path leads to Scaleber Force.

This attractive series of waterfalls are some of the most beautiful in the Dales, take care on the slippy paths but any effort is definitely worth it. A great spot.

Return to the road and follow it for just over a quarter of a mile to a lane on the left. Follow this lane with dry stone walls on either side for half a mile until it emerges high above Settle, meeting the old road from Settle to Long Preston.

Turn left and follow the ‘old road’, unsuitable for anything but farm vehicles over to Long Preston. The return route is nearly three miles but full of interest.

The views are particularly impressive. To the right Ribblesdale and the Forest of Bowland are laid out with the distinctive shape of Pendle Hill in the distance, while to your left the moors stretch out for miles. The other distinctive hill to your left is Rye Loaf, rarely visited.

For the final mile the lane drops steadily down towards Long Preston, arriving at Maypole Green and next to the Maypole pub.

The maypole is used for Mayday dancing once a year by the children of the school, a lovely tradition and a reflection of this often missed but always enjoyed village.

Fact file

Distance: Roughly 8 miles.

Height to climb: 280 metres (920 feet).

Start: SD 834583. There is parking around the village green but please be considerate.

Difficulty: Moderate. It is quite a long walk but mainly on excellent tracks or lanes so the miles do go quickly.

Refreshments: Two excellent pubs in the village, the Maypole Inn and the Boars Head.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

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

•Jonathan has written a book, the “Dales 30”. It makes an excellent New Year challenge.

•2019 dates now available for Beginners and Intermediates Navigation Courses.

•Offers a Guiding serve for those less confident in the outdoors

To find out more details on any of the above and details of the 100s of walks in the Yorkshire Dales & Moors visit his popular website, Where2walk.co.uk https://where2walk. co.uk/