THE village of Dent is a great base for all types of walks, writes JOHN EDMONDSON.

This is a strenuous walk ascending the summits of Great Coum and Whernside. Steep grassy climbs and long descents are rewarded by spectacular views in all directions.

Start from Dent car park (grid reference SD 704 870, postcode LA10 5QJ, £4.50 all day).


Distance: 12.5 miles with 3,000 feet of ascent

Time: 6.5 hours

Terrain: grassy paths and tracks

Map: OS Explorer OL2

ROUTE: From the car park cross the road and walk up Dragon Croft, past the memorial hall and up the steep stony Flintergill track. At the top, go through a gate and turn left onto the track mapped as Green Lane, known as Occupational (or 'Occy') Road. After one mile pass gates on opposite sides of the track, walk a further 150 yards then turn right through an unhinged gate. Following the wall on the left ascend the steep slope of Little Combe. The steepness can be reduced by using a grassy track going right to remains of Whaley’s Quarry (good place for a break) then left, returning to the top of the fenced wall. Turn left around the outside of the wall corner and continue walking beside it. Cross a gated stile in a wall corner and proceed to the 2,254-feet flat top of Great Coum. In clear weather, distant views of the Lake District Fells can be seen to the right.

2 Cross the stile in the left wall corner, follow the wall on the right for 130 yards then go over a second stile and descend alongside the wall on the right. After half a mile pass the County Stone, which marked the old boundary between Lancashire, Westmorland and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Continue past a broken wall then descend diagonally left to the far corner of a pasture. Cross a stile, rejoin the Occy Road, turn right and follow the track for 1.4 miles. On meeting the road at High Moss turn right. After a third of a mile turn left to cross a wall stile and ascend along the line of the wall on the left, using a quad track to reduce the steepness of the climb. Above a ridge, the path curves right and a fine view of Ingleborough appears ahead. The path then swings left and ascends directly to the 2,415-feet summit of Whernside with grassy steps before the final ascent.

3 Go through the squeeze stile past the trig point and follow the stony path going alongside the wall and fence on the left. The Settle to Carlisle railway, including the renowned Ribblehead viaduct, can be seen below on the right. After passing Greensett Moss tarn down on the right, turn left to cross a fence stile and follow a faint grassy path going past Whernside Tarns. Descend to the outer corner of a fenced wall and continue by the fence on the left, turning left and going through a series of gates to join the enclosed Dales Highway track. The track descends for 1.7 miles to Dyke Hall Lane. Turn right and at the road junction, left. Cross the bridge over Deepdale Beck and turn right onto the footpath signed Church Bridge. Follow the riverside path to the bridge, turn left and return through the cobble-stoned the village of Dent.

Next week: Sale Fell and Ling Fell

NB: restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.