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 walks near Settle will be busy in the next month or so but this one will not. Throw in one of the best cafes in the Dales, some beautiful limestone scenery and a short walk length (which can be extended) and it is a must.

The walk starts at the little hamlet to Feizor, a few miles from Settle and accessed along a narrow road off the A65.

Feizor is little more than a farm and a collection of attractive houses built in traditional Dales stone. In the centre lies Elaine’s Tea Rooms (more of that later) and a small car park. A few metres south from the café a signpost points towards Settle, walk through the farm yard and on to the open hillside. This is a bridleway and initially a farm track which climbs steadily south west. Just after the field boundary on the left turns away from the path it splits. Keep left and continue along a footpath.

Pass over three stiles on the path before reaching a wall on your right. Here the path splits again, take the left hand fork (do not climb the wall). The exposed limestone rock is lovely but is about to get even better. The views are also wonderful.

Ahead is Ribblesdale, the home of the Three Peaks. Two of these (Pen y Ghent and Ingleborough) have a very distinctive and flat topped outline so are easy to pick out. They are also the highest points in view! The path is not obvious but the walking easy on soft grass.

Head east over another wall before turning sharply north after 300 metres. The path soon improves and passes under a wooded scar. The scar is a reflection of a previous period of glaciation (about 15,000 years ago) and its retreat which exposed much of the limestone bedrock.

After a further wall the path meets a farm track heading east/west just above the farm at Little Stainforth. It is quite possible at this stage to drop in to Ribblesdale and visit Stainforth Falls and the pretty village of Stainforth.

If you do not, turn left along a broad track and head uphill. Soon the climbing is complete and the track comes to a gate under Smearsett Scar. It is possible to pick your way through the access land on to the top of the scar but do not if the gates are locked and certainly do not climb any walls. If you find your way though the reward is some excellent views. The track however continues west on some beautiful green turf. The easy walking and lovely limestone scenery is why this is my favourite of all Dales walking.

Far too soon Feizor is reached (those wanting more should carry on north towards Austwick). But before heading for the cafe look for first though is the old village water pump (a few metres up hill from the café). The fact it still exists would be a relief to Alfred Wainwright who fretted over it! Elaine’s café marks the end of the walk. It is very good, great cake and sandwiches and an idyllic situation.

Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 4.5 miles

Height to Climb: 200m (650 feet)

Start: SD 790677. There is parking opposite the café (but do visit it on your return).

Difficulty: Moderate/Easy. The walk is short and sticks to paths. If the ground is wet then some of the rock will be slippy. It is a good pull on the return if you drop down to Little Stainforth.

Refreshments: Elaine’s Tea Shop is open every day.

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 OL41) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors.