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Yorkshire Dales Walk
Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey

Nat Park - Yorkshire Dales - Lower Wharfedale

County/Area - North Yorkshire

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 10.0 miles / 16.3 km

Ascent - 1435 feet / 435 metres

Time - 6 hours 30 minutes

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference SE077551
Lat 53.991887 // Long -1.884047
Postcode BD23 6AW (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Photo from the walk - Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Photo from the walk - Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Photo from the walk - Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Photo from the walk - Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Photo from the walk - Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This is a Yorkshire Dales walk of contrasts and includes moorland, two rocky summits, woodland and beautiful riverside paths. Unusual for a walk of this length the route is over good paths throughout and navigation problems are minimal. The start, reached by a drive off the B6160, is the car park adjacent to the Cavendish Pavillion (Grid ref. 077551). There is a charge and once you have paid you can use other car parks within the Bolton Abbey Estate. Please note that dogs are not allowed on the moorland sector of this walk.

Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey Simon's Seat from Bolton Abbey 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

From the car park walk north alongside the River Wharfe to reach a wooden bridge (marked as such on the OS 1:25000 map). Cross the bridge and turn left along the clear footpath along the river bank heading north (upstream). After a short way this rises to join a metalled lane. Stay on the lane and climb slightly to reach a gatehouse on your right. Adjacent to this is a waymarked path signed "Simon's Seat". Take this path passing through pastures at first but soon entering a valley. You will notice a footbridge down on your left (Grid ref. 078566). Cross this and follow the narrow path upstream to pass a waterfall.

Above the waterfall you enter the 'Valley of Desolation' before the path enters a conifer plantation. You are soon through the sombre trees and exit onto open moorland. The onward path is obvious and climbing gently the gritstone rocks that mark the summit of Simon's Seat soon come into view. The bird's eye perspective of Wharfedale is particularly fine and it is a perfect place for a break. A short optional visit may be made to Lord's Seat, which lies about 500 metres east. This sees fewer visitors and offers views towards Nidderdale.

To locate the onward path head to the southwestern corner of the summit rocks. You will find a paved path descending steeply north into the valley. The grade soon eases and you continue to descend through a series of zig-zags to reach a walled track at Dalehead Farm (Grid ref. 075604). Turn left (west) along this pleasant lane to reach a junction of tracks at Howgill (Grid ref. 063591). Turn right to reach a road. Cross the road and join the Dales Way heading south along the east bank of the River Wharfe. This leads pleasantly to Barden Bridge.

Do not cross the river instead continuing on the Dales Way. The path stays on the east bank as far as a substantial stone bridge where it crosses to the other bank. The path then continues through beautiful woodland to the Strid where the River Wharfe squeezes through rocks before continuing at a gentler pace a few hundred metres downstream. The final section from the Strid to the Cavendish Pavillion follows the river passing through woodland maintained by the Estate.

Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers. Travel restrictions for exercise in Wales and Scotland will be lifted in early July.

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Walks in the Yorkshire Dales

Walks in the Yorkshire DalesGuidebook to 50 of Jack Keighleys favourite walks in the Yorkshire Dales. All the walks are circular, and range from 4.5 to nearly 8 miles. They vary from simple valley strolls (ideal as half-day 'family rambles') to strenuous fell expeditions. Hand-written and profusely illustrated in Jack's highly distinctive style.
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