Strenuous: Malcolm Distance : 10 miles
We head south west out of Hawes on the Pennine Way, through Gayle and cross the fields towards Gaudy Lane. We have a steady climb of 250m to the top of Ten End, offering good views of Sleddale and the Ure Valley, before gently descending to Spillian Green via the Cam Road track. From here we cross to Widdale Beck and pass underneath the disused Appersett railway viaduct on the way to the village of Hardraw. The route back to Hawes is across fields with a short stretch on Burnt Acres Road. Hardraw has a tea shop and pub so we have the option of stopping here for refreshments rather than the more crowded places in Hawes.
Moderate Leader : Dave Distance : 7.50 miles
We start the walk from the countryside museum and head out of Hawes, to Sedbusk village where we take the bridleway. We follow this up onto North Rakes Hill which gives superb views down into the Dale. We cross Stags Fell on the bridleway to where it joins the Buttertubs road. We turn left, following the road downhill. We then take the footpath on the right 200m below the cattle grid dropping down into Shaw Ghyll. When we come out on the narrow lane at High Shaw, we turn right for 100m then take the path off to the left. This drops down through Shaw Ghyll Wood, where you should look out for red squirrels. We briefly rejoin the road for another 100m, then turn right on the footpath to Simonstone Hall. We drop down to Hardraw and follow the footpath back into Hawes.
Easy Leader : Jackie Distance : 5 miles
Today we will be walking on the north side of Hawes, passing through the hamlets of Hardraw and Sedbusk. We leave Hawes along the Pennine Way towards Gayle before turning north and crossing fields to join and follow the River Ure to Haylands Bridge, where a short road walk brings to good footpaths to Hardraw. From Hardraw we have a steep climb to access a path across meadows, reaching Sedbusk. All downhill or flat now back to Hawes.
We will have our lunch either just before Hardraw (where there are convenient stones to sit on) or wait until we have done the uphill bit where we can sit on the grass along a wall. All depends on the state of the ground!
NOTES ON THE AREA
Hawes lies on the south bank of the River Ure as it meanders across the alluvial flats of Wensleydale valley which is named after the village of Wensley, and is the only major Dale not to be named after the river that runs through it. The River Ure is wide and beautiful, with many tributary streams, and the most famous waterfalls of Yorkshire at Aysgarth. Hawes is Yorkshire’s highest market town and one of the highest in England. There was no mention of Hawes in the Doomsday Book. It was first mentioned in the fifteenth century, and its name comes from Old Norse meaning ‘Mountain Pass’ or ‘Neck’. The village, with a population at present of around 1100, is in the heart of the agricultural community in the upper Dale. The wide and fertile fields of the valley make it particularly suitable for dairy farming, far more so than in many of the other Dales, hence the cheese factory here. It was granted its market charter in 1699, and in1887 an auction mart opened in Hawes to deal with the buying and selling of livestock which, until then, had taken place in the main street. Nowadays there is a market day every Tuesday, cattle sales once a fortnight, and during the year there are 5 cattle fairs, 3 sheep fairs, and these days, 4 cheese fairs.
Not far from Hawes is a smaller village, Gayle, and the two almost blend together. At Gayle the river races through a gorge, and so there was once a woollen mill here, although now Gayle Mill is a craft centre.
To the north lie Hardraw and Sedbusk, the latter perched on the side of rising ground and seems to deliberately want to distance itself from everything that’s going on down below. Hardraw, by comparison, can hardly avoid the attention because here you will find Hardraw Force, a quite stunning spectacle, especially after prolonged rain. It is unquestionably one of Yorkshire’s most impressive waterfalls. There are others in the area, Aysgarth, a stepped waterfall, and the little vertical Aysgill.
There was once a railway here but it was closed by British Railways in 1959. It was used to transport the lead, stone and coal which were mined in the area. Volunteers are planning to reopen the line. Some has been done but it has not yet been completed all the way to the Hawes area. Maybe it has since these notes were first written.
Hawes is a lovely area for walking with the Pennine Way passing through. One of the main attractions is the Wensleydale Creamery right in the village centre producing the famous cheese. One year the Tour de France came through.