MOST visitors will park up at the visitor centre and take a wander up to the spectacular waterfalls at Aysgarth.

They are wonderful, particularly after rains, but the walk is much enhanced by a short detour in to the lands beyond and a visit to the lovely village of Carperby.

The National Park Visitor Centre is the obvious place to start; the café is excellent and the shop has some interesting local nik naks (including an excellent choice of books).

From the car park go to the far side of the car park and join a footpath heading down hill towards the River Ure. Emerge at the road and turn right in to High Force.

A small voluntary contribution can be made before dropping to the iconic place where, among other films, the dual with Friar Tuck in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves was filmed.

Return to the road and being aware of the traffic walk 200 metres uphill to the entrance gate of the main falls of Aysgarth. Here a path winds its way through some stunning woodland, particularly impressive during spring 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. Aysgarth Falls are a series of steps and after heavy rains are particularly spectacular. It was beloved 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 till 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 (away from the start). 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 pleasant (if distant) views ahead of Bolton Castle. It is possible to continue a walk through some quiet path all the way to Castle Bolton, but not today.

Just before the farm at High Thorelsby join Thorelsby Lane (enclosed by hedges), a footpath which feels as though it has been there for centuries. Just beyond High Thorelsby 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 continue it up to Hawes which would be a real bonus.

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 (Alf White) and his wife Helen honeymooned in November 1941. They walked down to the falls every day.

Having walked through the village turn left and head down hill on a road for 300 metres to a footpath on your left. Follow this initially up but soon downhill, over a stile and back to the disused railway. Cross the railway and return 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 National Park 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 runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

• He has published 3 books on walks in the Dales; ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’, ‘The Dales 30’ mountains and the New ‘Walks without Stiles’ book.

• All (and more) are available direct from the Where2walk website.

• Book a Navigation Training day in Long Preston (Two Levels: Beginners or ‘Hill Skills’) First Available Date is May 13. also features 100s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.