VICTORIA ELLIS works up an appetite after walking in Coverdale.

(Please note that since this article was written on the 19th January the pub has re-opened and a warm welcome awaits you!)

Carlton in Coverdale was bright, sunny and quiet on Saturday morning with just a trickle of farm traffic through the village. Anxious to make the most of the bright day and clear views I didn't stop to study the notices on the Foresters Arms which is renowned for its food; I just savoured thoughts of a delicious lunch later.

Instead, I read the stone-carved inscription on Flatts Farm, a memorial to 'Henry Constantine of Carlton, The Coverdale Bard, Feb 14th 1861'. This includes the line 'Endurance followed from his birth' and finishes with 'Hope for Heaven's eternal rest.'

One does not need heroic endurance for today's walk, but on the other hand we did not get any rest for the first mile as we steadily ascended the slopes of Harland Hill.

A walled track gave some shelter from a wind that blew stronger with altitude. The hill is more than 1,700 feet high but no public right of way goes right to the top, and the track/bridleway we were on skirts the summit before dropping down into the dale of Walden.

But that is for another (right to roam) day and we turned down at 1,350 feet, at the Howden Lodge, seemingly a shooting lodge, leaving the heather and the sound of gunfire.

Just below Howden Lodge are the two pretty Howden Scars then the track steepens as we follow Turp Beck. We enjoyed lovely views over Coverdale and Wensleydale. Of the great hills, Little and Great Whernside were obvious and a large stone cairn stands on Penhill. Look out for the remains of what could be a limekiln just before you ford Turp Beck.

Soon we reached the hamlet of Gammersgill and the start of a stroll across a dozen pastures back to Carlton. This is territory accessed by a series of squeezer stiles, and some interesting variations are encountered. Clearly the squeezers were designed for wiry Dales folk, some are decidedly fat-ist. So getting to the pub could not be hurried but we were certainly working up an appetite.

'Baked Sweet Onions and Coverdale Cheese Tart on Salad Leaves' sounded just the job, but it was not to be. As we read the notices, including the one saying 'bar open Tuesday to Sunday evenings for drinks only until further notice', some villagers turned up to check the place. It turns out the couple who established The Foresters Arms' reputation for fine fare left in the autumn and the place is only open irregularly, 'ripping the heart out of the village', though perhaps the heart was failing as apparently three-quarters of the houses are holiday homes.

Fact file:

Distance: Five miles.

Time: Three hours.

General location: The Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Start: The village of Carlton.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way.

Date walked: Saturday, January 12, 2002.

Road route: Coverdale is best accessed from Middleham.

Car parking: Free car park beside Village Hall.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: The Forester's Arms (closed at moment).

Tourist and public transport information: Leyburn TIC 01969 623069.

Map: Based on OS OL 30, Yorkshire Dales Northern and Central Areas.

Terrain: Valley flank, and river pastures.

Points of interest: Views, quiet valley. Limestone country therefore shake and pot holes near the route.

Difficulty: Moderate. A 500-foot climb.

Dogs: Suitable.

Weather forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418.

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.

1. Left from car park, through village. At left-hand bend, right to lane uphill (signed dead-end).

2. At bend, track on right uphill. Fieldgates.

3. Fieldgate to moor, 300 yards, left to grassy track in front of boundary wall of field around Howden Lodge.

4. Left over cattle-grid at T-junction with stoney track. Cattle-grid, fieldgate to walled track.

5. T-junction. (Option here to turn left on metalled track, back to Direction No. 2). Right to fieldgate and track - here walkers were staying on track to rejoin PROW by farmhouse (not quite as on the OS map, which is itself wrong just here). Ignore track down to farm on left. Fieldgates.

6. Cross stream, gated squeezer/fieldgate, 50 yards downhill, fieldgate in new fence (waymark), stepstile above wood, right to gated squeezer (access by stepping over wire netting fence), downhill, ford stream below wood, 50 yards by wall to left.

7. Fieldgate and straight on, fieldgate on left by large tree (signpost) and downhill by wall to right. Fieldgate, left to road, 100 yards, squeezer on right into field (signpost), 10 o'clock, squeezer to walled path.

8. Gate, footbridge, one o'clock across field to stile, fieldgate above River Cover, 200 yards to gully and ignore ladder stile on left. Cross stream - there's a ford about 50 yards to right where banks less steep. Gated squeezer concealed by grown-out hedge (barn is 100 yards below to right), gated squeezer, stile.

9. Left to road, 100 yards, gated squeezer, squeezer, 11 o'clock, step squeezer and right to contour, squeezer, squeezer, fieldgate.

10. Gate and left, 30 yards, right, footbridge, left (wall to right), stile, 30 yards to road.

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 09:16 Saturday, January 19, 2002