28 Pateley Bridge – Masham

Pateley Bridge to Masham 17.8 miles (28.5Km.)

Pateley Bridge in Bloom

Pateley Bridge in Bloom

I’ve never found a decent pub in Pateley Bridge so I’ll go the other extreme and recommend a visit to the former Primitive Methodist Chapel where since 1968  the local amateur dramatics group have in such a tiny space created The Playhouse. We travelled here in January especially to see a play about the building of Scar House Dam  which was well worth the two hundred mile round trip.

Great English Walk shares the Nidderdale Way

Great English Walk shares the Nidderdale Way

The departure route sadly sounds better than it is, Panorama Walk. Since the Victorians strolled this way nature has taken over and our love of trees all too often over rides the logical approach to take the axe to a few. The Rock offers a small aperture into the valley but Pateley Bridge is now hidden and my thoughts move ever northwards to Berwick upon Tweed but for today, Masham.

A rock at Brimham

A rock at Brimham

The Great English walk only skirts Brimham Rocks perhaps because there is no public footpath through the site or perhaps like Alfred Wainwright our authors avoid the crowds. I can hear the whoops and shouts of children admiring the views, exploring the rocks or trying hard to see how they got their names like Sleeping dinosaur and dancing bear.

Stepping stones across the infant River Skell

Stepping stones across the infant River Skell

Stepping stones make the crossing of the River Skell a simple matter compared with “cross the beck as best you can” earlier today. The Skell is one reason for the sitting of Fountains Abbey down stream near Ripon, without a supply of water to carry away their waste the monks may have settled in another valley. Lumley Moor Reservoir is another source of Yorkshire water, much smaller than those passed yesterday, more like a large tree edged pond adding to the varied scenery of our walk.

Lumley Moor Reservoir

Lumley Moor Reservoir

A few obstructions to report on the paths as I approach Kirkby Malzeard and a useful cemetery where the water bottle can be topped up. The village was quiet, school closed for Easter and the Queens Head evening opening only. I had an inkling there was another establishment but couldn’t see any action down the deserted main street. A later investigation reveals The Henry Jenkins which teases longevity, being named after a man who lived to 169 but then did they keep proper count in 1670?

Kirkby Malzeard - lodge to Mowbray House

Kirkby Malzeard - lodge to Mowbray House

Walking down the narrow twisting road between the church and school I wonder when, not if, the churchyard retaining wall will collapse and hope no one is close by when it goes. The gate house to to Mowbray House and castle site looks attractive down in the dip then a scramble up the bank takes me onto a path for Grewelthorpe and thoughts of weavers (from a craft co-operative a few years back). When I arrive there’s no sign of weavers but I’m urged to visit Hackfall Wood a “beautiful wilderness” created in the 18th century by William Aislabie of Studley Royal.

The road sign at the north end of the village attracts my attention – a circular finial has across the centre the name Grewelthorpe, very useful when this could have been the only sign in the village. Yorks. W.R. is fairly straight forward for those who remember the old counties before the regular urge of Government to change boundaries and names. What about this number in the lower half of the circle 229765? Suggestions please in the comments box.

Oak Bank near Grewelthorpe

Oak Bank near Grewelthorpe

The next field I cross has been ploughed but fully reinstated by driving the tractor along the line of the path. I try to recall the last ploughed field encountered, was it really back in Cheshire? A trig point attracts but fails to offer a stunning view. Perhaps I should have studied the map with more care, was this view the valley of the Swale, Vale of York or the Vale of Mowbray impostor to our Melton Mowbray? What’s more this is the the weak link in Wainwright’s Coast to Coast when his beloved hills disappear and he advises road walking to quickly cover the 20 miles.

River Burn meets the might Ure

River Burn meets the might Ure

The section over Roomer Common is pleasant as its possible to keep a distance from the traffic but it’s spoilt by the section of road to Low Burn Bridge from where a delightful riverside walk leads into the centre of Masham village alongside first the Burn then the Ure. By now I’m familiar with the acronym SUNWAC and know that only the Swale remains to be crossed in Yorkshire.

Theakston's Brewery - Masham

Theakston's Brewery - Masham

Masham although a small town or large village has two breweries, both do brewery tours and have a brewery tap, both brew real ale and both are owned and operated by members of the Theakston family. Twice in recent weeks, here and from Timothy Taylor’s at Keighley I had relived my youth with the smell of mashing barley which used to fill the trolley bus on our journey into Nottingham as we past Shipstones Brewery.

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Great English Walk map of section 28

Great English Walk map of section 28

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 28

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 28


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