This lovely walk through traditional Yorkshire Dales scenery visits two of the least popular smaller dales. The approach to Cotterdale from the lower slopes of Great Shunner Fell is particularly enjoyable.

The walk starts in the little hamlet of Appersett, a mile to the west of Hawes. There is some parking available next to the village green. Head west on road over two bridges, the second over the embryonic River Ure. Immediately after the second bridge a path heads north, initially along a stream, and then steeply up the hillside.

After half a mile the path meets a large track, turn left up the track. This is the Pennine Way which heads up Great Shunner Fell, one of the remotest sections of the entire long distance trail. The walk for today only takes in a few hundred metres of the Pennine Way before a prominent finger sign heads off to the left. This is the path to Cotterdale (named after the norse word for huts), the first section offering a wonderful perspective of the dale.

Cotterdale is known as a dead end dale as the road stops at the hamlet, where there are some holiday cottages and a working farm. It is a lovely, peaceful spot. Those who have sensibly brought some sort of picnic should walk the 200 metres in to the forestry of the High Abbottside Moorland Generation Project where some tables are conveniently situated.

From the hamlet follow the badly eroded footpath alongside Cotter Beck for a few hundred metres. The path then divides, take the right hand fork, cross the road and start climbing the slopes opposite. The path is intermittent at times as it passes over the high shoulder of Cotter End. The track then drops sharply south west past a slither of woodland before entering some woodland next to the main Hawes to Garsdale road.

The second half of the walk along Mossdale is very different in character to the first half. Here you will be visiting waterfalls, viaducts and tracking low level along the valley. Initially the route takes in Mossdale Head, the track circles the farm and comes to Mossdale Head viaduct, a four-arched bridge that used to carry the old branch railway from Hawes up to Garsdale. There are noises concerning the re-opening of this line which would be splendid and actively encouraged.

Aside from the viaduct there are some splendid waterfalls on Mossdale Beck, it is a peaceful spot. Join the path heading east over open fields. The path soon becomes a farm track (and less muddy as a result) before passing Birk Rigg Farm. Past the farm the track heads north, crosses the river and meets the main road. The path to Cotter Force is 200 metres to the east on the far side of the road. This is a small diversion (15 minutes max each way) that will take you to Cotter Falls, it is well worth the diversion. Return to the track that follows the south bank of the River Ure. The path back to Appersett reaches the main road in just over half a mile, turn right and continue back to the village.

Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 8.5 miles (including Cotter Force).

Height to Climb: 320m (1,050 feet)

Start: SD 859907. Appersett, there is some lay by parking near the large green.

Difficulty: Medium. There are a few short steep sections but generally this is a low level walk.

Refreshments: Hawes is one mile away, there is nothing in Appresett.

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. 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 is the owner of Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

• He has written 3 books on walking in the Dales; ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’, ‘The Dales 30’ mountains and the ‘Walks without Stiles’ book. All these books (and more) are available direct from the Where2walk website.

• Book a Navigation (Map and Compass Skills) Training day near Settle or a bespoke day for a private group. The next available date is Sunday June 30th.

• Join our “Dales 30 Weekenders” in Hawes (June) & Sedbergh (September). also features 100’s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.