THE glaciated valley of Crummackdale is a geographer’s dream. Limestone pavements and scars ring the dale with the higher land to the north is sprinkled with the famous Norber Erratics. The walk described takes you through all these and some traditional villages and hamlets.

Park in the attractive village of Austwick before heading past the Game Cock and school to a road on your left heading up hill to Town Head. Take it.  On leaving the buildings ignore the first footpath sign on your left and on arrival at a lane on your left take that. A few metres further a stile crosses on the right leading to an open field.

Initially follow the farm track uphill towards the rocky slopes above but do not follow it through a gate, but carry straight on to a stile tucked under a small rock face on the higher land. From here you enter access land which means you have the right to roam away from any path. This is useful as the path is intermittent.

Head north/uphill, initially steeply, along the path leading to an obvious ladder stile over a wall. For this mile there is a series of boulders and exposed limestone rock. Interestingly the boulders (known as erratics ‘rock that should not be there’) are of Silurian Slate and have been transported here by the retreating glaciers 18,000 years ago. They sit atop the softer limestone and make a spectacular site, many of the boulders perched upon a small stand of limestone.

From the ladder stile there is a grassy path to the east of the plateau on your right which is the easiest way of passing through this section of limestone. However, to really enjoy the geography head a little to your left and climb on to the higher land and pick your way through the exposed limestone. As long as you aim roughly north you cannot do wrong.

After a further mile the land starts to drop through some low rocky outcrops, follow this direction till meeting a wide farm track heading right and downhill. Pass through the gate to the left (as you drop towards it) the farm of Crummack and head north along an intermittent path. Ahead is a ring of rock, part of the spectacular Moughton Scars.

Three-quarters of a mile across the field is a ladder stile under the scar. Climb over and emerge on to a wide plateau of exposed rock. This is part of the most spectacular limestone pavement area in England, part of the Ingleborough Nature Reserve, The views over the pavements to Penyghent are superb.

On emerging on the scar turn right and a path appears in places close to the edge. Pick your way along the edge for just over half a mile till the land falls and meets an obvious path, a Green Lane. Turn right and head back in to the lower dale. The lane meanders along the valley floor, heading south, for over a mile till it meets a second track near a river ford. Turn left on this wider farm track and enter the village of Wharfe. A pretty stone hamlet based around a farm has grown up here.

Turn right on entering the village, pass the farm and in to a lane surrounded by fields. Follow this lane for half a mile across a bridge over a stream until it meets a quiet tarmac road. This road leads back to Austwick.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 8 miles

Height climbed: 340m (1,115 feet)

Start: SE 767684. There is parking on the road leading in to the village from the A65.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard. Limestone rock can be slippy in the wet, particularly over Maughton Scars. In the dry it is all very straightforward.

Refreshments: The Game Cock is a fine pub in Austwick, perfect for an after walk pint (or coffee).

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 2) 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 walking in the Dales; ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’, ‘The Dales 30’ mountains and the ‘Walks without Stiles’ book.

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

• Book a Navigation (Map and Compass Skills) Training day in Long Preston. First Available Date is 15th July. All dates and details are on the Where2walk website. also features 100’s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.