RICHMOND is a lovely town – castles, abbeys, good pubs and the River Swale combine perfectly here.

This walk from Richmond heads for the scar to the west of the town, visits pretty Marske, before returning high above the River Swale. The views are excellent throughout.

Leave Richmond on the main road heading west and just after a second sharp kink in the road (167011) follow a minor road heading uphill.

After 250m and leaving the houses on either side, the road turns in to a wide track where there is a sign for the Coast to Coast.

The Coast to Coast has recently been designated a National Trail, increasing its public awareness and no doubt signage on its route. I am not sure Wainwright would approve.

Follow this lane as it gradually climbs and turns west, enjoying the views south over the River Swale.

After one mile the track enters Whitecliffe Wood, just beyond the farm of High Leases. This ancient and mixed woodland offers an enjoyable half mile variation from the previous open countryside. Soon after emerging from the woodland a short path goes directly up hill to the remains of an ancient Breton fort. It is worth the detour. Return to the main track and carry on a few hundred metres to East Applegarth Farm. From here the track becomes a footpath, but carries on at a similar height, contouring the two escarpments above.

After Whitecliff Scar is Applegarth Scar, both signifying the remains of the last ice age only 15,000 years ago; the retreating glacier exposing the limestone bedrock.

From West Applegarth Farm the path returns to a farm track, follow it for half a mile before taking the footpath downhill (leaving the track) through the fields in to Marske. The attractive village of Marske was once the centre of a large mining community, probably going back all the way to Elizabethan times, certainly the bridge does.

Marske Hall itself has a colourful history (but difficult to get at through the trees) but there is a more accessible, pretty church and village hall (if you are lucky they will be serving tea).

The Little White Bus stops at the Vicarage at Downholme, one mile away on the River Swale offering a quicker return for the weary, but better is to return via the outbound route to the farm at Low Applegarth.

Just before arriving at a drystone wall, a path heads south/then east right/downhill through the fields to the banks of the River Swale. It is an area which is prone to flooding, but does offer an interesting three mile route back to the caravan park on the outskirts of Richmond.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 10 miles (6 miles to the bus stop at Downholme).

Height to climb: 400m (1,310 feet).

Start: NZ 169011. There is plenty of car parks in Richmond with street parking on the outskirts. Check times for the Little White bus service.

Difficulty: Medium. On good tracks and paths, some climbing but none steep.

Refreshments: Richmond has an excellent choice of pubs, cafes and shops (and a castle).

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 30) 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.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

  • He has published 3 books on walks in the Dales; ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’, ‘The Dales 30’ mountains and the New ‘Walks without Stiles’ book.
  • All are available direct from the Where2walk website.
  • Book a Navigation Training day in Long Preston, near Settle (Beginners or ‘Compass & Contours’) Dates and further information are available on the website. also features 100’s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.