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Introduction: This Wensledale walk from Aysgarth Falls takes you to the attractive villages of Carperby and Askrigg. In the process you get some tremendous views of Wensleydale without having to do a great deal of climbing. The route passes evidence of mining indicating the valley was not always just a rural idyll!

Aysgarth Falls is a well known beauty spot. The falls tumble over a series of limestone steps and featured in Kevin Costner’s film “Robin Hood Prince of Thieves”. The walk starts at the Yorkshire Dales National Park car park but saves the Upper Falls until the end. The route does not include the Middle and Lower Falls but these could be visited afterwards by walking a further half mile along the river.

At the river bridge, note the massive four storey mill building, Yore Mill, originally built as a cotton mill in 1784 then rebuilt in 1852 after a fire. It “multi-tasked”, carding and spinning knitting yarn and grinding corn. Needless to say, the river Ure provided the power.

Carperby was at one time a major centre in the valley and was granted a Market Charter in 1305. It is a Conservation area and is unusual in that it has two distinct centres. Its prosperity declined in the 16th Century as Askrigg began to take over as the major commercial centre although there was a revival in the 17th Century. The market cross which my route passes bears the date 1674.

Askrigg is a charming village with cobbled streets and was the setting for “All Creatures Great and Small”. Skeldale House on Main Street was the vet’s surgery. The name Askrigg stems from old Norse words “askr” (ash tree) and “hryggr” (ridge). The town was at its most prosperous in the 18th Century, deriving income from textiles, knitting and clockmaking.

There are plenty of picnic spots en route and several refreshment opportunities in Askrigg.

The walk starts from the pay and display Yorkshire Dales National Park car park at Aysgarth Falls where there is an information centre and toilets.

To get there, turn north off the A684 for Aysgarth Falls (signposted), about half a mile to the east of Aysgarth itself.

Start: Leave the car park by the main car entrance and turn left along the road (SE 010886). Follow it round the bend and past the entrance to Aysgarth Falls station. Around 50 yards after the entrance, turn right on to a footpath through the woods indicated by a public footpath fingerpost (SE 012889).

Cross another footpath and continue through a walkers gate, which takes you out of the woods into a field. Cross a stile to the right of the grassy mound and follow the obvious footpath across the fields, passing to the right of two small barns. Through the next stile after the barns, turn sharp left (the fingerpost was a little misleading when I did the walk).



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