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

Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales.

He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales.

To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

SOME of the best limestone in the country can be found between Settle and Malham and the Settle Loop (officially a bridleway) passes through some of the best.

From one of the two large car parks in the centre of Settle follow the road past the Co-op and in to Upper Settle and up a steep lane past the small wood.

This is the steepest part of the day so head down and get it over with.

After the gradient reduces it is only half a mile to a lane on your left, signed with the Pennine Bidleway/Settle Loop. The steep hillside to your left is Sugar Loaf Hill (Rye Loaf is further on to your right.)

Follow the farm track towards Stockdale Farm. This is sheep farming country, classical Dales with dry stone walls, exposed limestone scars and short cropped grasses.

Ignore the track cutting in to the farm itself, continue on the higher track.

The rocky track continues to climb until it reaches a high point passing through two gates. Carry on following the path as it descends towards another gate, Nappa Gate.

Follow the route to Langscar Gate in a north easterly direction through some lovely exposed limestone. It is here that the views over Malham Tarn may entice you down but it is an awfully long way back if you choose this route!

Keep the wall to your right initially and see if you can spot Nappa Cross and mine shaft just before it drops steeply east. Do not follow the wall but stick to the obvious path NE until it meets a further path heading west. This is the start of the return route.

The path west initially climbs and then is relatively flat for three miles, it is a lonely spot with birds and sheep only breaking the silence. After three miles arrive at a gate, do not go through it but take the path to the left to a small stile and a path that heads south with steep land to your left.

After 200 metres a sketchy path leads 100 metres uphill to Victoria Cave, well worth a detour.

Discovered in 1837 the cave has been both a historian’s and archaeologist’s dream. Past discoveries have included bones from hippos, rhinos and elephants when the climate was much warmer, a brown bear when it was colder.

Returning to the path next to the wall carry on south and through a stile where the land opens up. For a while. Drop down the path under Attermire Scar to a junction of paths at a gate. Take the right hand path through the gate and to a ladder stile (the ground can be wet here) before climbing alongside a wall to your left for 300 metres.

To your right a path leads to Attermire Cave (great shelter for past travellers) but return to the main path until it reaches its high point at a gate.

From here the views over Settle and Ribblesdale open up impressively, it is a fine spot.

Keep heading east on a path dropping steeply towards Settle/Giggleswick until you come to a wall.

Turn left, past a barn on your right, through a gate and into a lane taking you again steeply down in to the market town of Settle where the walk started.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 10.5 miles.

Height to Climb: 500m (1,640 feet)

Start: SD 818635. There are two car parks in Settle, one near the rugby ground, the other just to the west of the main square..

Difficulty: Medium. All on good tracks (except the short detour to Victoria Cave) and with a steep start and final descent above Settle.

Refreshments: Settle has a large choice of cafes, pubs and shops.

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 OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass.