THE vast majority of visitors to Aysgarth Falls never leave the side of the river.

However, the visit is enhanced by extending it (not far) in to the countryside beyond and the lovely village of Carperby.

Best to avoid the weekends as the falls can be busy, although the extension is not.

Start the walk with a visit to the Upper Falls where, among others, the famous scene where Robin Hood takes on Little John was filmed in Robin Hood Price of Thieves.

From the car park go to the west end (away from the visitor centre) and join a footpath heading down hill towards the River Ure. Emerge at the road and turn right in to the Upper Falls. It is a lovely spot.

Return to the road and being aware of the traffic, walk 200 metres uphill to the entrance gate to the heart of Aysgarth Falls.

Here a path winds its way through some stunning woodland, particularly impressive at this time of the year as the ground is a carpet of pretty wild flowers. After 100 metres some steps on your right takes you to a viewing platform for the Middle Falls.

The falls are in fact a series of stone steps and at their best after heavy rains. It is beloved, among others, of both the poet William Wordsworth and the painters Ruskin and Turner.

Return to the main path and follow it for a further 400 metres until a second path on your right drops down to the shoreline of the Lower Falls.

Here it is easy to walk along the rocky slabs on the side of the falls and get a really good feel of this tranquil spot.

Return again to the main path in the woods and continue to head east. A small gate brings you out of the woods in to open countryside.

Pass through Hollins House farm and on to the farm at High Thorelsby, there are some distant views ahead of Castle Bolton.

It may even tempt you to carry on all the way, but not on this walk.

Just before the farm at High Thorelsby, join the lane enclosed by hedgerows, Thorelsby Lane, a footpath which feels as though it has been there for centuries. Just beyond High Thorelsby farm, turn left (west) and cross over the disused railway line before heading across open fields.

There are plans to reopen the rail line (it presently finishes a few miles to the west at Redmire) and take it up to Hawes which would be a real bonus. Fingers crossed.

On reaching the road, turn left and walk in to the pretty village of Carperby.

It is linear in nature with a fine pub half way through, the Wheatsheaf Inn. The pub is where the real James Herriott (Jim Wight) and his wife honeymooned in November 1941. They walked down to the falls every day.

At the west end of Carperby, turn left and head down hill on a road for 300 metres to a footpath on your right.

Follow this initially up, but soon downhill, over a stile (and a stile in the middle of an open field) and back to the car park at the national park footpath.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 4 miles

Height to Climb: 100m (330 feet).

Start: SE 011888. Park at the National Park Centre.

Difficulty: Easy: There is some limited up hill and a few of the paths in the fields are intermittent in places but generally a straightforward walk.

Refreshments: There is a café at the centre and the Wheatsheaf pub in Carperby is very good.

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 (essential on this walk). 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 based 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). All dates and information on the website. Next available date May 14th.

• Leisurely guided walks up the Yorkshire mountains. Next dates are in July

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