The incline is gradual and the outlook magnificent. Physical effort will be amply rewarded.
Hardraw Force plunges 100 feet and is said to be England’s highest single drop waterfall. Access to the waterfall is via the Green Dragon Inn, in Hardraw village. A charge is made and a visit adds almost a mile for those wishing to see the waterfall.
Sedbusk was a Norse settlement. The name means bush near the sheiling (hut or barn).
WALKFollow the main street in Hawes towards Barclays and H S B C banks, leading in the direction of the Dales Countryside Museum. Turn left at a road junction towards Hardraw. While crossing the road bridge note the museum and the former Hawes railway station to the right.
At the first opportunity leave the road on the left, to follow a paved path across a field. Cross a road bridge, pass a cricket ground then slip through a stile on the right - signposted Sedbusk. A clear path leads over a ‘cobbled’ bridge continuing across the fields towards a main road.
Cross the road to another stile, then using the right hand path cross several fields and enter the hamlet of Sedbusk. Continue to Chapel Cottage, cross the junction and walk up the right hand side of the cottage passing a Primitive Methodist Chapel - 1875. Follow the narrow road beyond the houses to merge with a concreted farm track known as Shutt Lane. Signposted North Rakes Hill.
Follow the track uphill to the end, then turn through a gate marked with a Footpath sign, on the left Follow the obvious track running in a depression with superb views of Wensleydale already appearing - a foretaste of what’s to follow. Leave this track on the left at the first bend, to walk upwards adjacent with the wall, aiming towards a small copse. Pass around the top side of this and onwards to
a gate, then walk half right to another gate. This is Shutt Gate - a location title, not a discourteous Yorkshire command!
CAREFUL NAVIGATION IS NEEDED DURING THE NEXT STEPS
Still rising and leaving the enclosed fields behind veer ever so slightly left, then curve right with the limestone outcrops of High Clint on the left. There are several paths hereabouts, so don’t be alarmed to see a waymarker on your right. All paths eventually merge.
After about ten minutes you should encounter a solitary, upright bridleway signpost near a broad track. Turn left along the track. When the summit cairn appears on the left, it is worth taking a detour to fully appreciate the vista. This being the High Clint, the highest point of the outing.
From the summit cairn return to the main track and resume the previous course, and follow it until you get to a fork. Take the left hand fork eventually merging with Buttertubs Pass road. Turn left along the road.
Note the tall wooden poles at the roadside. These are snowpoles. A reminder of the times when deep Snowfalls frequently covered this exposed section of road. The poles were guides for the snowplough crews who battled to keep the road open.
At the bottom of the hill turn right at the cottages to enter a narrow lane. After 200 yards leave the lane on the left, using either the steps or a stile and enter a wild garlic wonderland known as Shaw Gill Wood.
A flagstone path leads through the brief section of woodland, presenting a joyous scene as Shaw Gill Beck tumbles as a succession of small waterfalls towards its 100 foot drop at Hardraw Force.
Shaw Gill Woods was landscaped and planted in the C19th by the Earl of Wharncliffe (a south Yorkshire coal baron) who then owned nearby Simonstone Hall. Unfortunately, Hardraw Force is out of bounds at this point.
Ignore the bridges to depart from the woods after passing through a metal gate. At the road turn right, walking towards Simonstone. Before reaching that hamlet turn right, cross a ladder stile or cattle grid, then descend toward West House farm. Seek a stile to the right of the house, then follow the paved footpath downhill into Hardraw. Access to Hardraw Force is through the public house. Small charge.
Whether or not you visit the waterfall, the walk continues by entering the lane near the telephone box - signpost - Brunt Acres Road. Simply use a succession of ‘gap’ stiles to reach that destination, then swing right to return to Hawes, retracing earlier footsteps.
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