Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales. Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales. To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

THE dale of Airedale is rarely explored in favour of the more popular Yorkshire Dales - but there are some interesting shorter walks with great views and pretty vales.

This one from Sutton-in-Carven is one of the best.

I parked on the road outside the church and picked my way through Sutton towards the wooded dell under the moors.

Before exiting the village I was surprised to see some impressive entrance gates leading in to the woods, probably for Sutton Hall. It was the first of many surprises in an area I knew little about.

The wooded dell next to Lumb Cleugh Beck is lovely, the bridleway broad and easy to follow (stick to the east side).

The only drawback is some draconian signage with dire warnings about dogs, camping, litter etc: These signs may be well meaning but they hardly encourage people to venture out and about!

After 500 metres take the left fork and zig zag up hill to your left till reaching the road to Keighley. Turn right and head uphill.

There are some great views over Airedale from the lane 100 metres further on to the left but having taken a photo carry on for another 300 metres to a farmer’s track in to a farmyard on your right.

Go through the farmyard and enter open countryside. For the first half a mile this is straightforward to follow, it is after the path reaches Gill Top Farm that route finding is a little more challenging.

I passed through the farmyard and picked up a path heading south west and then west across open fields towards Starr Farm.

The views compensate for the lack of signage, it is the stiles in the walls that really mark the path.

From Starr Farm I followed the driveway south to a moorland road.

Turn right and follow this quiet road north west for a mile as it undulates through the open moors.

Just past a bend in the road as it heads more westerly, a track heads off to the left towards Lund’s Tower, a monument you will have seen on the skyline for the past mile.

This is the pepper for the well-known ‘salt and pepper pots’. This folly was commissioned by James Lund, either as a commemorative building for Queen Victoria or as a gift to his daughter Ethel.

A delightful half a mile then follows, between the pepper and the salt of Wainman’s Pinnacle.

Some large sandstone boulders make up the scar to your right, reminiscent of the Wainstones in the North York Moors.

The walking and views across Lothersdale and further afield make this one of the best short stretches of walking for miles around.

Wainman’s Pinnacle is placed upon the rocks and is another folly with only legends indicating its origins in 1898 but it may have been to do with the Napoleonic Wars.

Return towards ‘the pepper’ for 150m then turn left and follow the track under the rocks till it passes through a wall.

From here turn right and drop steeply down a faint path to a road, cross the road and continue down the signposted path to Crag End.

The views ahead along Airedale are still good.

Yellow painted arrows indicate the path heading north-east through several tight stiles to High Maisis Farm.

From here go east alongside a wall, past another farm till the path enters the western fringes of Sutton-in-Craven.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly six miles. Height to Climb: 285m (940 feet). Start: SE 007442. I parked near the church in the centre of Sutton, there was plenty of room.

Difficulty: Moderate. The land through farms above Sutton can be confusing but the remainder is well signed on good terrain. Refreshments: A choice of pubs near the church in Sutton-in-Craven.