Smearsett and Giggleswick Scars.

Start. Stainforth.

Route. Stainforth - Dog Hill Brow - Stainforth Bridge - Little Stainforth - Smearsett Scar - Feizor Thwaite - Giggleswick Scar - Schoolboys Tower - Lords Wood - Stackhouses - River Ribble - Stainforth Force - Dog Hill Brow - Stainforth.

Notes. This was a fine circular walk visiting some stunning slices of limestone country, Smearsett and Giggleswick Scars but the icing on the cake, a stroll through pristine limestone pastures culminating in a river bank ramble, big skies supported by even bigger views with just one disappointment. I had intended to visit the Celtic Wall, access has never been denied to this ancient monument, until now, a new fence has been erected, gates bolted and chained, rather than volt the gate with the farmer busy in the next field I decided to check on my right to roam first. To the affairs of the day, motivation was a long time coming, I was tired after my exploits on Nine Standards Rigg yesterday, I lay in bed late before deciding there was miles in the old legs yet.

Early afternoon on a bank holiday Monday the car park at Stainforth was almost empty, I paid the fee then made my way north along the main road, after a few hundred yards Dog Hill Brow branches off descending to the River Ribble, I followed the lane, crossing the river at Stainforth Bridge before climbing passed Knight Stainforth Hall to enter fields on a path signed Feizor. A track climbed to the top of the meadow where a stile allowed access to the next field, I crossed to step into high valley, after crossing a further stile I turned right, the path lead to a wall corner where yet another stile allowed access to the steep slopes of Smearsett Scar. After visiting the summit, savouring the extensive views I re-traced my steps before trying to gain access to the Celtic Wall, my way blocked I followed the fence line hunting for a stile, conspicuous by it's absence, disappointed I passed through the next gate to enter Feizor Thwaite. On a good path I wandered south soon reaching a finger-post inviting me to Buck Haw Brow, this was my route through extensive pastures linked by wooden gates before stepping onto Giggleswick Scar.

Along the scar I wandered passing a long dead waterfall, numerous small cairns and three caves before a rather large cairn came into view, this was the Schoolboys Tower, erected by pupils of Giggleswick School, from the cairn I skirted the massive scar of Settle Quarry before descending to a lower path. This path lead north through scrub land and woodland before a ladder stile aided my crossing into a lower field. I descended heading for the right hand corner, here a gate and step stile allowed access to Stockhouse, between high walls and ancient houses I wandered before stepping onto a tarmac lane. Directly across the lane a finger-post announced it was 1½ miles to Stainforth along the Ribble Way, the next mile and a half was a delightful easy stroll along the banks of the river passing Stainforth Force before stepping onto tarmac again for the ascent of Dog Hill Brow.

view route map.


Ancient field systems above Stainforth, have you ever wondered how these systems worked, here's a slice of useless information. The peasant farmers would plant in the hollows and on the mounds, in years of drought the land in the hollows would be wetter than the mounds, allowing the crop to thrive, in wet years water was able to drain from the mounds, when the crops in the hollows died the plants on the mounds would flourish, today it's called edging your bets, in times gone by it was the only way to fend off starvation.

The River Ribble at Stainforth Bridge.

Viewing Little Stainforth from the path to Feizor.

Above the valley of the River Ribble, the ramparts of Pen-y-ghent rise to the skyline.

Views to the Fountains Fell skyline from the meadows above Little Stainforth.

One of the delightful corners of the Yorkshire Dales, Smearsett and Pot Scars.

Seen from the summit of Smearsett Scar, the Warrendale skyline above Settle.

Also seen from the summit, dark across the horizon Fountains Fell.

Adventures for another day, Pen-y-ghent and Fountains Fell.

Rising from the dales of Yorkshire, stately Ingleborough graces the northwestern skyline.

The limestone cliffs and scree of Pot Scar, seen from Feizor Thwaite.

Tantalizingly close but just out of reach, the Celtic Wall.

This would be spooky on a stormy day, a lone tree clings to life on the limestone pavements on Feizor Thwaite.

A wonderful tract of limestone farm land to be crossed en route to Giggleswick Scar, rising blue/grey on the horizon Pendle Hill.

In shadow mighty Ingleborough with sunlight dancing across the limestone pavements on Thwaite.

Stretched out before me Giggleswick Scar.

Passed on the short traverse the lip of a long dead waterfall.

Views back along Gigglewsick Scar.

Passed en route a small cave, one of three.

Looking down on the market town of Settle, the Schoolboys Tower.

The Schoolboys Tower with views along Giggleswick Scar.

Seen from a small cairn marking my route around the head of the Settle Quarry, Attermire Scar and the civilized northern slopes of Warrendale Knotts.

On the steep descent to the valley floor, looking to Stainforth with Pen-y-ghent and Fountains Fell dark on the horizon.

The power of the River Ribble at Stainforth Force.

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