A Circular from Hubberholme in Wharfedale
You are in a special part of the Yorkshire Dales at Hubberholme. Set in a quiet area of Upper Wharfedale, it is a good starting point for walks in classic limestone countryside. On this route, you climb at first, then a level section gives good views before a rocky descent to the hamlet of Yockenthwaite. The River Wharfe rises only a few miles up the valley and you follow it on a section of the Dales Way back to Hubberholme. The importance of this landscape is emphasised by the fact that large stretches are cared for by the National Trust. Several old traditions are kept up at the George Inn, which you may hear about.
Distance 3 miles. OS Explorer OL30. Yorkshire Dales, Northern & Central areas. GR 926782.
How to get there: Reach Hubberholme by the B6160 from Grassington to the south or Wensleydale to the north and turn at Buckden. There is parking on the roadside to the right of the church.
“A fine place to be”
The George Inn should feature in any book describing the pubs and inns of the Yorkshire Dales. Built as a farmhouse in the 17th century, the building remains largely unchanged with its thick stone walls and mullioned windows. Over time it has seen some sympathetic improvements and now it is a cosy, welcoming place and, so far, piped music and gaming machines have not reached it! The George serves generous portions of home-cooked food and the fish pie is popular in the afternoons. In the evening the chops are a speciality. There are usually Black Sheep and Skipton Brewery beers and a choice of over 20 malt whiskeys. In sunshine the south facing patio area is a fine place to be. If you want to stay, there are six en suite rooms available.
Open from 12 noon to 3 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm. Food served from noon to 2 pm and 6 pm to 8.30 pm. Closed on Mondays except bank holidays. Opening times may be reduced in winter and it is always worth telephoning first. Tel: 01756 760223.
1. Cross the road from the George Inn and go over the bridge which spans the River Wharfe. Go right before the church and left at the signpost up the track. The sign to Yockenthwaite is your route as the Dales Way soon turns off. Go up through a metal gate and, at a junction, follow the higher path to Scar House and Cray. There is a steady climb up a stony track which winds about, with a harder surface as it gets up towards a gate, with a stile to the right. Note the National Trust sign and continue up to Scar House which dates from 1698.
“Fine stone bridge”
2. Go right behind the house and the track climbs up left, over limestone outcrops. At a sign post for Cray go left to a second signpost for Yockenthwaite. There is now more level walking. Follow the yellow posts, pick your way over rocky steps until a longer area of grass is reached. There are views down the valley through the trees. In spring you can see rock rose thyme. Birds of prey frequent the area. Keep on towards woodland which you enter at a stile. The exit is over a footbridge crossing a deep gulley.
3. From the footbridge go down left to a gap stile with two gates. On the left is an old sheep pen. Ruins of other buildings indicate that this area has been previously occupied. Keep along the escarpment through stiles and look out for a gap on the left which is the start of a footpath down the hillside.
On the OS map this is below Little House, a stone barn standing at a higher level. Go down the path, which is clear but rocky in places, and may be slippery after wet weather. The path by the fence is easier; then reach a small gate and join a track. Go down and soon you are at the hamlet of Yockenthwaite. This was named by the Norse settlers and ‘thwaite’ means clearing. This area had plenty of trees in the distant past. The fine stone bridge was once on a packhorse route between Settle and Wensleydale.
4. Here you turn left for Hubberholme on the Dales Way. See the signpost as you reach the farm buildings, and go across to a wooden gate on a track in front of the lower house. Cross over to a metal gate and then go right to a small gate and take the steps down to the riverside. The path is clear and well marked from here. It hardly leaves the river, and is a lovely stretch of countryside. The Wharfe rises about ten miles away at Cam Houses, where the same high land feeds the infant River Ribble. You may see trout in the river. Keep on towards Hubberholme where the church tower is glimpsed through the trees. Follow the churchyard round and across the river stand the white-painted George Inn.
Places of interest nearby: People come to Hubberholme from far and wide to see the 12th-century church. It is noted for its medieval rood loft, one of the only two in Yorkshire. Among other interesting features are the pews, choir stalls and chairs. These are made by the celebrated Robert Thompson, whose trademark is a carved mouse. About 4 miles beyond Kettlewell there is plenty to do at Kilnsey Park. You can fish at the trout farm and look for red squirrels, feed the animals, go pony trekking – and see the Goat Skyway! Water flowing through the grounds also produces the Park’s electricity needs and visitors can see the operation.
POCKET PUB WALKS YORKSHIRE DALES, Peter Young
Published by Countryside Books
ISBN 9781 84674 086 2