ADDLEBOROUGH follows the pattern of the Yorkshire Three Peaks to the south by having a distinctive flat summit, viewable from miles around. The temptation to climb Addleborough is strong, but planning a route less easy. My favourite approach is from Thornton Rust in the heart of Wensleydale.

Thornton Rust lies on a back road, accessed from Aysgarth, and is a picture perfect village with its own, small, car park. From the car park join a walled lane leading south from the village and climbing steadily on to the open moors. The path is obvious on the ground and being on National Trust land well signposted. From the lane the path flattens out and after half a mile reaches a stile over the wall. Shortly afterwards a second stile on your right marks a division of paths. The main bridleway carries on to Semer Water, but take the right fork heading directly towards the distinctive shape of Addleborough over the stile. The path on the ground can initially be a little boggy after rain.

Steeper slopes soon loom ahead and to be honest there is nothing that can be done to avoid them. If in need of a convenient rest take in the views behind you to the east, particularly of Penhill Beacon, part of the network of bonfire locations to warn the country of a foreign invasions. The Spanish Armada, Napoleon’s France and Hitler’s Germany were all close to invasion at different points in history, but at least we had the beacons. More recently they were lit for the Queen’s Jubilee.

On emerging on the summit, views open out in all directions. Cross the ladder stile directly ahead of you to emerge at a large, robust cairn. However, this is not the highest point of Addleborough, carry on for a few metres to a marker post and then climb to a jumble of stones marking the highest point. The cup and ring marks on the rock are supposed to mark an ancient burial site (probably of a Breton chieftain) but what is more certain is the whole plateau was the site of a Roman fort/look-out post. With the wide-ranging views across Wensleydale, it was very well selected. The water to the west is Semer Water, one of only two natural lakes in the Dales, the other being Malham Tarn. There are also signs of an old trig point, but this was later moved to the west.

The direct descent is to the north east. Make your way to the boundary at the north of the plateau, turn right and soon after the point it turns direct north head north east to meet a wall. The first part of the descent is steep through a small crag. There is an easier route to the west or return on your outbound track. On meeting the wall, keep this on your right hand side on the descent. As you drop steadily down the hillside, the path crosses a number of walls before arriving at the farmhouse of Scar Top. The path, put in by the National Trust soon reaches a minor road just to the east of Cubeck. Turn right and follow it back to Thornton Rust.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 5.5 miles.

Height to climb: 250m (820 feet).

Start: SD 972888. Small parking area in Thornton Rust.

Difficulty: Medium: Steep climb and steep descent from Addleborough is the only difficulty.

Refreshments: The Victorian Arms at Worton is a full of character and just a mile distant. Alternatively head for Bainbridge or Aysgarth.

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 July 2nd.

• Leisurely guided walks up Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. Next dates are the 7/8/9th July.

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