The lovely Wensleydale village of Askrigg was this month's MDB destination. An easy, quick walk but with a few watery gems. I was very grateful for a dry day but with all the recent rain, the going was very soft and in places relatively soupy. The map of choice was an OL30, not really required as the path was obvious and well signposted, but I always like to carry one as a matter of course anyway in order to name check features on the landscape and to give me options if time allows, or not as the may be. When I arrived in the picturesque village I parked up on the cobbles in front of St Oswalds, Askrigg's C15, grade 1 listed church, I made a payment into the parking honesty box set in the church wall, booted up and off I went.
Taking a right at the church I followed the lane round and to the end where there in a five bared gate and the first of many dinky, sprung gates known as 'Wensleydale Stiles'.... They are very snappy to pass through! Over the first pasture, that has had groves cut in it to direct the water running freely off the fields.
Passing by the old Mill and over the Mill Dam bridge.
Into a pasture and then snaking back into the wooded area that runs the length of Mill Gill, this snaking in and out continues all the way along the route.
My first gem is quickly found, Mill Gill Force.... Not displaying the huge volume of water I thought I might find but still in spate. I presume the water of the recent storms had now passed through and is more than likely further down stream causing bother elsewhere. The water was however very peaty and flowing fast enough to be quite deafening.
I back tracked and set off on the well signposted route for Whitfield Gill, again snaking in and out of the woodland and pasture, the well trodden route easy to follow. Taking in the beautiful Wensleydale scenery as I go.
Whitfield Force can be heard before it is seen.... Seeing this waterfall means looking between the branches of the trees. Even a lower level scramble meant I was still viewing it from a distance. Still powerfully beautiful though.
The path on this side of the gill concludes at the Whitfield Force.... I did however explore a little further and got some lovely shots over the adjoining landscape.
I spotted an impressive crop of Bracket Fungus.... An essential entity in decaying timber, both in itself but also as a host to a number of insects that help to breakdown the timber, without this fungus woodlands would be strewn with fallen trees. I love the ecological complex-simplicity of a plant taking care of an insect, taking care of plant....
In order to return I had to backtrack and find a signpost directing me to Askrigg via Low Straights, this route took me over a foot bridge beside a lovely little waterfall.
The path took me straight up the opposite side of the Gill to a pair of benches commanding a spectacular view.
Crossing through the wall I dropped onto Low Straights Lane.
As I walked down this track a number of options back to the village open up. I chose to continue until I reached a ford and a little wooded valley.
The tower of St Oswalds can be seen poking up over the pastures.
I negotiated a slice of pasture on the river bank edge at West End and continued over a couple of pastures. The village in sight.
The last pasture being inhabited by a brood of friendly hens.... Hello Ladies!
As I left the hens happily clucking behind me and passed round a cottage I was safely back in the village.
A super little amble with some wonderful waterfalls, in a stunning part of the world.... What more can I ask for?!
Till next time..... Tight Laces and a very Happy New Year! MDB x
Phil, as always a huge heartfelt thank you!