Chapel le Dale Circuit
Walk 4 - A low level circuit starting and finishing at Ribblehead - suitable for families or when cloud level is low - 6.5 miles - 4 hours Back to Ribblehead
Start from Ribblehead station and turn left at main road (in front of the pub) pass under the rail bridge and then immediately left up the access road to Ribblehead Quarry Nature Reserve. Passing through the nature reserve gates near the information board bear left following waymarks across quarry floor eventually climbing around the side of the quarry [all way-marked] through a gate and thence to a further new gate in the drystone wall, this being the quarry boundary. The gate in fact leads to the Viking Farmstead which can be observed enroute above the Limestone karst.
The pasture is now designated as access area. Cross the open pasture diagonally [no actual path] bearing slightly to the right of Park Fell, the hill directly ahead. A stile should eventually be spotted in the wall. Crossing the stile and a further stile proceed with the wall on the left hand side. After this point some way marks conveniently installed by English Nature will be observed. These can be followed almost in a straight line albeit there is a slight dog-leg through a gate eventually arriving at Great Douk Cave (actually a big hole in the ground with some pot holes going off it plus a waterfall - very impressive!). Despite the initial appearance there is a stile and a natural but steep ramp leads down to the floor of the pot hole with care. From here it is possible to investigate the waterfall and the view the entrance to the further pothole used by the cavers complete with winch system and ladders.
Leaving Great Douk proceed downhill on a grassy track bearing left alongside a wall to reach Souther Scales Farm. The path passes to the left hand side of the farmhouse and then down hill to meet the main Ribblehead - Ingleton road. Cross the road and follow a minor road into an interesting combination of woodland and a dried up watercourse. Quickly on the right the small church at Chapel le Dale will be reached, This is worth a look if open. Inside there is a memorial to the navies on the Settle - Carlisle Railway.
Turn right along road behind church and proceed uphill becoming a vehicle track serving several farms. On the right hand side is Hurtle Pot. The track rises into open scenery again and continues uphill through a ford to reach Ellerbeck Farm.
The track is easily followed to Brunscar and thence across fields to Ivescar. At Ivescar a decision can be made to take a shortcut via Gunnerfleet Farm to pass under the viaduct. However, if the full route is to be undertaken, follow the track onward to Winterscales Farm and then through underpass below railway turning right to return to Ribblehead.
©John Carey 2010
This page was last updated on 23-Dec-2013