A QUIET (and short) walk from a quiet village. There is some quiet riverside walking along Long Preston Beck, a short climb and then some perfect views over Pendle Hill and Ribblesdale. Finish off with a pint in the Maypole.

The walk starts at the Maypole, however, park at the train station and walk up and cross the road at the Maypole. Head east (away from the Maypole) up the lane until it reaches and passes the primary school. Follow the lane as it bends right and head towards the (original) Norman church of St Mary’s. The entrance is to the right and the church is well worth visiting with its lovely stain glass windows. It is also worth exploring the large, well-kept graveyard.

If you visit the church head (out of the small gate at its east end) along the lane for 250m until it reaches a river (Long Preston Beck). Before arriving at the beck there are some stables on your right and with horses in the field. Just past the beck, a stile (and a footpath sign) on your left leads to a lovely section of riverside walking.

After nearly half a mile there is a stile and then a gate before the path opens out again. The circular wall above you is the Long Preston water supply, if you can see in, it always looks worryingly empty particularly during the summer months. The path continues along the riverside through open fields, before a ladder stile leads to a narrow path and then a meeting of two rivers. The river to the right comes from the moors and tumbles steeply down while the beck itself carries on up towards Settle.

Cross both rivers, via two footbridges, and head for the diagonal path to your left skirting the slope to the west. This is the only climb of the walk. At the top of the path pass through a gate and take the second stile on the left. The first leads in to New Pasture Plantation. The stile is the first of eight stiles as you make your way back towards Long Preston village (however the walk is called seven stiles locally).

The initial section is over a flat field, but after the second stile, the path drops, steeply at times towards the village. The views over Long Preston and beyond to Pendle Hill and the Forest of Bowland are gorgeous, particularly in the low winter light in the morning or at sunset. The final stile leads to a quiet lane, turn left and stroll back to the Maypole.

It is possible to take an alternative route at New Pasture Plantation if you want to avoid the stiles by sticking to the farm lane and turning left at the tarmac road after half a mile and head downhill.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 3 miles.

Height to climb: 50m (165 feet).

Start: SD 834582. Park down by the railway station and walk up to the green outside the Maypole or start with a coffee in the pub and use their car park.

Difficulty: Easy. A short half day, perfect for the winter months.

Refreshments: The Maypole is an excellent pub, the only one open in Long Preston at present.

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 2) 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.

Where2walk.co.uk also features 100’s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.