Walk 3093 - printer friendly version
Bunton Hush, Blakethwaite & Gunnerside Gill Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 5.5 miles / 8.9 km
Ascent - 1000 feet / 303 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SD950982
Lat 54.379273 + Long -2.0784831
Postcode DL11 6LE (approx. location only)
Gunnerside was once a busy village and a centre of an extensive lead mining industry with hundreds of miners employed in the mines lying to the north. Today the area is slowly returning to nature with the remains of the mines scattered across the hillsides either side of Gunnerside Gill which runs north from the village into wild upland areas.
The start is the centre of Gunnerside village where parking is usually available (grid ref. SD950982). The village offers refreshment opportunities. After parking, walk east along the B6270 main road through Swaledale towards Reeth. Immediately after crossing the bridge over Gunnerside Gill, turn left onto a signed footpath beside the river. The way ahead is never in doubt and after a brief detour around a house returns to the river bank. For the first kilometre, the path crosses meadows and passes through pleasant woodland.
Leaving the woodland behind the path passes the remains of an old lead mine (grid ref. SD941995) before climbing over Middle Bank from where there are excellent views of the valley. Evidence of the former mining activity can be seen with spoil from the mine hushes in evidence. Continuing up the valley you reach the adits and buildings of Bunton Hush Mine (grid ref. SD940012) which is an ideal place to take a break and enjoy the surroundings. On the other side of the valley you will see the high track that is used for the return section of the walk.
Just after the buildings at Bunton Hush you reach a four-way fingerpost. Turn left here (signed 'footpath') and descend to the east bank of Gunnerside Gill. Follow the path upstream to reach a stone slab footbridge at Blakethwaite Smelt Mill (grid ref. SD937017). Cross the footbridge and explore the ruins. One option is to continue on the path beside the Gill for 200 metres to see Blakethwaite Force waterfall.
From the smelt mill, cross Blind Gill and follow the green rising track ignoring any minor tracks diverging from the route. The walking is easy and you get fine views of the outward part of the walk. Continue past Botcher Gill Nook and follow the clear track back towards Gunnerside Village. After 2 kilometres of walking the rooftops of Gunnerside village come into view. Descend on the path down to village to end the walk.