MUCH of the filming for the new series of James Herriott took place in Littondale and who can blame the film makers. It is a beautiful dale, my personal favourite, with this short walk exploring the dale floor (although you may want to wait a little while till the floods subside).

Park in Arncliffe. Before leaving the village have a little browse around St Oswald’s Church in Arncliffe, inspiration to Charles Kingsley ‘the Water Babies’ and in fact worship may well have been conducted here since Saxon times. More recently much of the filming of the Herriott series was in the centre of the village, the stone houses are lovely.

Leave Arncliffe on the road heading north west from the Falcon Inn. Having crossed the river carry straight on (ignoring the road bending to the left) and join a lane which continues parallel to river (on your right hand side) and soon entering open fields. The views across to the river are excellent.

The walk now takes you through a number of fields, if dry you may see some of the early daffodils, leave it a few weeks and it becomes a forest of wild flowers. To the left is the woodland of Guildersbank, a preserved woodland which harbours one of the largest ash woodland in the area. Above is the steep sides of Scoska Moor, great walking terrain but left for another day.

Littondale is famed for its Bronze and Iron Age settlements and there is an excellent example less than a mile from Arncliffe. The rough mounds can be seen to the left of the path while further on it is possible to pick out the field systems of the time.

With all that is going on around you it is possible to ignore the numerous stiles on the path. The final half a mile of the walk passes close to the River Skirfare. The river carries on up the dales and it is perfectly possible to double the length of this walk by continuing alongside the river to the beautiful hamlet of Halton Gill.

However, on our shorter walk it is only two miles to the village of Litton which becomes obvious over the river to your right.

A choice of footbridges lead to this pretty small village. It is worth exploring Litton and more importantly stopping for some refreshment at the excellent Queen’s Arms. Litton itself was famous in the 18th century as the centre of a ‘cockpit’ where badger baiting and cock fighting took place.

There is now a dilemma for the walker, either reverse the route you have taken or take the quicker route along the road, as empty as it normally is. I usually take the latter option and sink in to my default position, geography student.

The dale of Littondale is simply the most perfectly formed U-shaped valley in the country, you can almost picture the rivers of ice serenely moving down the

valley. Even on road this is a special valley (the road is a dead end so no through traffic) with so much to see. Even the drivers seem polite.

Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 4 miles.

Height to Climb: 30m (100 feet)

Start: SD 931719. Parking around the village green of Arncliffe.

Difficulty: Easy.

Refreshments: The Falcon Inn at Arncliffe is open all year and the Queens at Litton offers a lovely break half way through the walk.

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 OL30) 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.

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

• He has published 2 books on walks in the Dales, ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’ and ‘The Dales 30’ mountains. Available direct from the Where2walk website.

• Book a Navigation Training day (Beginners or Intermediates), First available date 27 March. All dates and information on the website.

• Where2walk also run Navigation weekends in the Dales and the ‘3 Peaks in 3 Days’ guided walks. Full details also on the website

Jonathan’s popular website, also features 100’s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs