Today's eight-mile route is a splendid way to stride into the New Year. We started at Pateley Bridge, crossed the River Nidd and took the quiet back road through the village of Bewerley.

The next half-hour is a slog uphill and part of a popular little circuit for locals and visitors; about 50 strode ahead of us, a number with pointers, a dog in fashion.

By the time you get to the top, you will have had, weather permitting, fine views of Nidderdale and its Gouthwaite Reservoir, seen the lifelike Crocodile Rock and have appreciated or otherwise the landmark towers of Yorke's Folly.

Near the folly, a sign reads 'Danger please keep to path, dangerous crevasses'. They came next, along the top of Guise Cliff, dripping wet and packed with ferns and mosses. This is why we are going clockwise to get the crevasses over in good light.

At a communications mast we turned into the moor for the meat of the walk and soon reached a trig point at more than 1,000ft.

Here, there are wind-shaped grit blocks that echo the larger ones at Brimham that you can see from this vantage point. You will also see Harrogate, Barden Moor and spy the Menwith Hill station.

Next, a short length of high moorland road connected us with a remarkably straight two-mile path through the heather over Nanny Black Hill, by Sweet Earth and through Jordan Bog.

It was wonderfully quiet (one set of footprints), and there are nicely-located well-spaced guideposts with white-painted tops. We avoided wet feet.

Then we came to our last corner, our highest point at 1,100 feet, and set off back on a fine straight shooters' track for another couple of miles over a loosely named Flat Moor.

The area we have circled is grouse moor, liberally scattered with boulders and crags and with 'shooters shelters', as grouse butts are curiously called here on my new map.

The drop down into the valley and to Bewerley was welcome as the weather was closing down, but still interesting with a pond, more boulders, woods, and aerial views of Pateley Bridge and the river running through Nidderdale.

Fact file:

Distance: Eight miles.

Time: Four hours.

General location: Nidderdale.

Start: Pateley Bridge.

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

Date walked: Sunday 16 December 2001.

Road route: Pateley Bridge is on the B6265 Ripon/Skipton Road.

Car parking: Various pay and display car parks.

Lavatories: Car park by bridge in Pateley Bridge.

Refreshments: Inns and cafs in Pateley Bridge.

Tourist and public transport information: Harrogate TIC 01423 537300. Pateley Bridge TIC 01423 711147 (closed till Easter).

Map: Based on OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale.

Terrain: Climb to moorland. Cliff-edge path.

Points of interest: Guise Cliff, folly, moorland, views.

Difficulty: Moderate if good weather.

Dogs: Suitable but keep on lead near cliff.

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. From main street in Pateley Bridge, over river, pass park, first road on left (signed Bewerley). Pass village green.

2. Over bridge and immediately right (signed Otley). At left-hand bend, steps on right into field and uphill (signed Nought Moor). Stile into wood, track/path at one o'clock uphill, 100 yards, fork left at edge of wood. Gate, cross road.

3. Path (signed Guise Cliff). Ladderstile to moor and left. Stile in fence to cliff-edge path. Take care - sheer drops.

4. About 100 yards from mast, fork so wall is to left, 50 yards, ladder stile, skirt mast area.

5. Right to track. Stile and left to road. Ignore left fork.

6. Fieldgate on right (had to climb this broken/tied gate. Signed Bewerley) to track on right of wall (fieldgates).

7. Path through heather (around 4ft wide, not so clear through damp grassy areas, white-tipped posts around every 200 yards).

8. Right to track at wall (waymark).

9. As main track swings left, carry straight on by wall on your right for 100 yards to fieldgate, 50 yards, left by house, 20 yards, wall stile on right and downhill by wall on right (two wall stiles).

10. Fieldgate and right to road downhill (on bend is a squeezer to another public footpath on right - just go through for view of valley and Foss Gill), left in Bewerley and back to Pateley Bridge.

Click here to view a map of the walk