KINGSDALE lies between the massive Gragareth and Whernside and through the lonely vale flows the Kingsdale Beck, sharing the valley with the narrow but delightful fell road, which runs between Thornton-in-Lonsdale and Dentdale.

This walk starts from the fell road and climbs gently on a grassy trod to the Turbary Road, a track along which peats were carried.

From here you have a splendid level walk until you near Yordas Cave, which is well worth a visit.

From here you can return over pastures on the opposite side of the valley or stride the very quiet fell road.

Park in a layby, on the left (west), just beyond a gate, with a shed in the pasture beyond it, one and a half miles along the fell road from Thornton-in-Lonsdale in the direction of Dent, grid ref 692757.

1 Go through the gate, wind left and then almost immediately right. Continue up the grassy zigzags for three quarters of a mile to come parallel with a wall corner.

Beyond, the path curves right up into the limestone and then winds left, climbing steadily onto the high moorland.

Head north, still on a grassy trod, to approach the fell wall, which strides across the pastures. Just before the wall you reach the Turbary Road.

2 Turn right and stroll along the gated way all of which are very easy to open. To the right, enjoy the glorious views of Twistleton and Ingleborough. Half a mile along is fenced Kail Pot.

Around the entrance to this deep shaft, flourish rose, rowan, ash, hart’s tongue fern and lush mosses.

Further on, look up, left, to see the stone cairns, known as the ‘Three Men of Gragareth’, high on the summit of the bulky fell.

Carry on past limestone pavement and through more gates, enjoying the peace of the lonely moorland, until you come close to another pot, on the right, this one unfenced.

You will probably hear the water rushing through the depths. Beyond is a large entrance to the cave system, very deep and shadowed by more trees. Approach these two holes with the care.

3 Continue on and climb uphill on a rougher track to take the next gate. A short way along go through a gate in the wall on your right and descend the rough pasture towards a walled copse of trees.

Go through the gate in the wall and follow the path downhill and the winding round left to reach the small stepped entrance to Yordas Cave.

If you have brought a powerful torch, pass into the lofty chamber, with its fascinating patterning of limestone flowstone. The sloping floor of the entrance cave may be covered in very slippery mud, so enter with care.

The Yordas beck flows through it, its depth varying depending on previous rainfall.

If you can step across the stream, go on to climb up the far right corner to peep into an inner cave where, sometimes, deep water covers the pebbly bottom.

Here you can see a spectacular waterfall, the Yordas descending 50 feet or more.

4 Leave the cave, pass through a gate ahead and descend to the fell road. This is the point at which to decide your return.

If you choose to walk the slopes, take the narrow stile opposite. Walk ahead to the corner of a fence on your right. Bear right, walking between the fence and the Kingsdale Beck.

Climb a stile and walk on to cross a sturdy footbridge. Then follow the signpost directing you diagonally left, south-east, towards Braida Garth farmhouse.

Take the gate close to the boundary wall. Stride ahead and keep right of the first barn then turn left along the farm track.

A signpost directs you across the pasture in front of the house. Continue on the path to cross three stiles then climb a little, uphill, to go through a gate and then a stile.

5 Stride on beside the fell wall and then a fence. Carry on, slightly left, to take another stile over a wall. Stroll the continuing green path to climb two ladderstiles.

Beyond, descend a reinforced track to a wider track, which you might recognise if you have completed the well-known Ingleton Waterfall walk.

Turn right along this gated track to the side of the Kingsdale beck and cross the bridge. Walk on along the track and at the fell road, turn left to rejoin your car.

If the weather has deteriorated and you decide to return quickly to your vehicle, turn right to walk for two and a quarter miles along the very quiet fell road.


Distance: 7 miles

Time: 4 hours

Terrain: Turbary Road is a delight to walk. Don’t forget to take a good torch if you intend to peep into the cave. If the weather has deteriorated you may prefer to return along the shorter fell road, rather than the more exposed route.

Map: OS Explorer OL 2/Landranger 98

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.