Kettlewell, North Yorkshire Sunday 22nd May 2016

Today’s Walk

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 10.0 miles

Kettlewell – Old Cote Moor – Litton – Arncliffe- Kettlewell

Dag has been unable to reccee the walk as he has been ill. He is better, although not fit to ramble just yet, but he has sent a map and notes of the walk he had in mind, if the strenuous group would like to do their own walk.

Moderate Leaders: Pam & Malc Chamberlain   Distance : 8.25 miles

We will walk out of Kettlewell and proceed up a 300+ metre (1000 ft) climb over the first hour of our walk to Cam Head then make our way across Starbotton Out Moor. Starbotton Out Moor is a little boggy and this will take a little while to cross, next we will cross Knuckle Bone Pasture where we will have views of Wharfedale. We will drop down to Starbotton village, down a steep and stony path, where we can catch our breath at the Fox and Hounds if needed before crossing the River Wharfe where we will join the Dales Way back to Kettlewell.

Leisurely Leader: Peter Denton   Distance :5.8 miles

We are leaving Kettlewell and heading for Conistone as you will see we are sat in a valley and we have only one climb, which is after we have stretched our legs about 30min’s into your walk. we then enjoy a lovely stroll along the hillside with plenty of photo opportunities on the dales way.

Easy Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance : 5.00 miles

Today we will leave Kettlewell south along the River Wharfe on to a lane at Hawkshead, then picking up the Dales Way to the top of the village. We will walk through this attractive village to pick up a footpath which follows the dale northwards as far as Starbotton where we will have lunch. We return to Kettlewell along the Dales Way path which pretty much follows the river. An easy valley walk with minimal uphill. Several stiles, both of the climbing and gate varieties. Care will need to be taken if wet because of the limestone underfoot.

Notes On The Area

Kettlewell is the hub of Upper Wharfedale, a junction of roads and a natural halting place, nestling at the main junction of the Wharfe valley. It stands on what was a major coaching route to Richmond, and the two Inns at the entrance to the village would service the weary travellers. Shops, tearooms and a third Inn add more life to a village being steadily engulfed by holiday homes. The slopes of Great Whernside bear the scars of a lead-mining industry long since replaced by tourism as a major source of employment.

In the 12th century, part of Kettlewell’s manor was granted to the canons of Coverham Abbey across the hills to the north. Fountains Abbey and Bolton Priory also had estates here, so it was natural that a market was established in the 13th century and the village became a thriving community. Textiles, and in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, lead-mining revitalized the village’s prosperity and so Kettlewell’s appearance today derives much from those past 200 years. The remains of the smelting mill, used from 1700 to 1886, can still be seen near the confluence of Cam and Dowber Becks half a mile above the village.

The main road touches only the southern end of the village, and a stroll through the town’s quiet lanes and turnings reveals a number of 17th and 18th century houses, including the vicarage. The church, however, is late Victorian. This attractive 19th century building stands on the site of an earlier 12th century church from which only the “tub” font remains. A document of 1338, on display, refers to the days when the manor belonged to Coverham Abbey, near Leyburn. There are two interesting modern windows commemorating young men who died in the Second World War.

There are many stories relating to Kettlewell. According to one of these, in 1218 the local parson was found dead in the fields. Ralph, the Marshall, was suspected of the killing as he had seduced the parson’s mistress and taken her off to Skipton. Perhaps she was attracted as much by Ralph’s money as his other charms because parsons were never well paid, and during Elizabethan times the Kettlewell parson kept an inn in his house to eke out his meagre salary.

Another story is about Starbotton which is a compact village surrounded by fells. In 1686 a torrential storm caused flooding, and because the houses were so close together, most were destroyed and the bridge washed away. Off the main road are some lovely corners with an old Quaker burial ground hidden away.

Kettlewell is regarded as one of the most peaceful and beautiful villages in the area. It is well known for its limestone terraces fringed with Hazel and Rowan trees. It is surrounded by superb walking countryside from fell walking to gentle strolls along the river, and has plenty of watering holes and outdoor shops to cater for walkers’ needs. It is also good for cycling along the quiet country lanes and other peaceful villages. Accommodation is available for those who wish to visit longer, and dates to note this year are 8th to 16th August when a scarecrow festival takes place.