IN Swaledale lies the pretty market town of Reeth and the neighbouring side valley of Arkengarthdale.

A walk up the valley and returning over Low Reeth Moor makes a satisfying day and a greater understanding of the area.

From Reeth follow the road north past the Buck Hotel in to the valley of Arkengarthdale. The River Arkle itself flows through an obvious V shaped valley, steep sided on both sides. The Arkle can be fast flowing after heavy rains due to the deep valley. On leaving Reeth do not take the first footpath which leaves the road on your right but follow the road for a further ½ mile to a farm track heading down to the river. The farm track drops to a bridge, crosses the River Arkle before climbing to Castle Farm. From here follow the footpath upriver till it once again drops to the river. The riverside section is very pretty, making its way through some woodland and sticking close to the river.

Where the bridlepath comes in from the right keep to the riverside (in places rough) path that sticks to the river. With Storththwaite Hall on your right follow the path, past a footbridge and in to the small village of Langthwaite. The pub is a pleasant place to sit in the sun and break the walk up before the rougher climb on the moors. Langthwaite is famous for being the opening shot on the title sequence of All Creatures Great and Small and is quintessentially Yorkshire Dales. It was a thriving village in times past, not because of the tourists passing through but as a centre for the local lead mining centre, best seen in the form of hexagonal house used to store gunpowder.

From Langthwaite cross Arkle Beck via the road bridge and follow the road south past Arkle Town until a bridlepath on your right hand side makes an obvious exit, just after the point where the road bends left and enters the access land (land that the walker has a freedom to roam albeit with at times local restrictions). The path climbs steadily on to Low Reeth Moor. Low Reeth Moor was home for many of the lead mines of the 19th century and before but is now maintained more for grouse shooting. After ½ a mile take a left fork and leave the farm track and continue the steady climb to the col. Initially difficult to follow the footpath then divides again at the col, turn left (east) and climb further on to the moor. The views across Swaledale for the next mile are spectacular to the south.

Follow the path that skirts the top of Low Reeth Moor (although I did take the short climb to its high point, well worth it both for the views and the disused mine shafts) and then after the mile drops south to a farm track alongside a boundary wall. I did make use of the access land and followed the broad shoulder in the access land (trackless) which drops east towards Ridding Farm. If you take one of the numerous footpaths above Healaugh they pass through many stiles with the accompanying stiles to negotiate. Coupled with the fact staying high improves the views I was prepared a accept some rougher ground. Just past Riddings Farm a broad lane offers a quick descent in to the village of Reeth, arriving just to its west.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, an outdoor business in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written his own book, the Dales 30, which describes the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates, and learn a skill, climb a hill weekends. To find out more details on any of the above and details of many more walks in the area visit

The Northern Echo:


Distance: Roughly 8 miles

Height to Climb: 350m (1,150 feet)

Start: SE 038993. There is parking on the main square in Reeth.

Difficulty: Medium. The paths by the river and on the moors can all be a little rough but a great deal of the walks are on farm tracks making quick and easy walking.

Refreshments: There is a choice of pubs and cafes in Reeth

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL30) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.