Huggate and Dry Valleys Distance: 6 miles Duration: 3 hours Level of walk: Medium Check latest weather Why you should do this walk… A circular walk, of about 6 miles, from Huggate that passes through dry valleys created around 18,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. These valleys, known locally as dales,…
Distance: 3 miles or as long as you like
Duration: 1 ½ hours plus
Level of walk: Easy to mediumView Walks Key
This walk can also be found on the iFootpath website and App.
Why you should do this walk
This is a breathtakingly beautiful part of Yorkshire and once on the moor part of this walk your well-behaved dog has the opportunity for much off-the-lead time and you can take as long or as little time as you like here. This is not a structured walk; it’s an opportunity for a little bit of freedom and lots of exercise and fresh air for you and your dog. Relax, enjoy and take in the views of Leyburn Shawl and the surrounding dales. This is definitely one to try if you are new to the area and are not a map-follower.
What else you need to know
How to get there – From Richmond, take the A6108 through Leyburn and onto Middleham. Alternatively from the A1, take the A684 Northallerton to Kendal road through Wensleydale to Leyburn, and turn left just after the railway station onto the A6108 to Middleham. The No.159 bus from Richmond to Ripon operated by Dales & District passes through Middleham.
Suggested map – OS Explorer Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central areas OL 30.
Car park – free car parking is available in Market Square in the town centre.
Start – Market Square car park.
Length/time – 3 miles or as long as you like, takes around 1½ hours plus
Terrain/difficulty – EASY, on popular footpaths around the castle and green tracks through fields – the ‘gallops’ area itself is green and lush.
Dog friendliness – very dog-friendly walk as lots of off-lead time for well-behaved pooches is available. At the start of the walk you will need to respect the racehorses and sheep in the first few fields. You may see racehorses on the ‘gallops’.
Food and drink – more information when we have it
Public toilets – can be found by taking the passageway to the side of the Richard III pub in Market Square.
Other interesting info:
Situated in Wensleydale, nestling on the hillside between the River Cover and the River Ure and just two miles from the busy little market town of Leyburn is Middleham with its magnificent castle ruins towering over clusters of old grey stone cottages, fine old Georgian and Victorian houses and its two cobbled market squares.
Middleham is noted for three outstanding features – its connection with King Richard the Third, its magnificent Castle (King Richard`s childhood home) with the largest keep in the north of England and in more modern times its horse-racing industry.
- Starting in Market Square, head slightly uphill towards the Black Swan pub on the left with the Black Bull behind. After passing the Black Swan turn left along a cobbled path which runs to the left side of the Castle Keep tearoom. Continue ahead across a quiet road and follow the public footpath sign (next to a stone house on the left) onto a track alongside Middleham Castle – managed by English Heritage and where dogs on leads are welcome.
- Head towards a large metal gate but just before it, look out for a gap in the dry-stone wall on the right. Cross the way-marked stile with a wooden gate – watching out for the metal bar, which dogs will be able slip under or jump over – depending on their size. Then walk diagonally to the right, heading towards the end of a light coloured building. When we walked this section, there was a white temporary fence marking the way. Beware, horses may be grazing in this field so be ready to put your dog on the lead. Pass through a small way-marked metal gate between two posts and head diagonally left and slightly uphill towards some trees. Look for a metal gate in the overhang of the tree on the left.
- Pass through the metal gate and keeping the stone wall to the right, continue along the edge of the field towards a small wooden gate in the gap of a dry-stone wall straight ahead. Pass through this gate into the next field and continue uphill, with the wall to the right. Look for a gap in the dry-stone wall next to a public footpath sign pointing back towards Middleham. Making sure your dog is on the lead; pass through the gap and its wood-and-wire gate to a road.
- Carefully cross the road and walk a short distance to the left along the other side towards a wooden gate in the fence. There is a wooden public bridleway sign pointing towards the Middleham Gallops, next to a metal sign detailing the footpaths and bridleways available for use on Middleham Low Moor – and the times of days that racehorses are in training. Pass through the gate and follow the green path diagonally ahead.
- Head between the brown ‘gallops’ on left and a dusty track to the right, and cross the ‘loop’ of the ‘gallop’ – looking for a white plastic marker with a blue top (bridleway). Follow the green path as it gradually rises with the ‘gallop’ to the left. As the white racing fencing ‘rails’ come into view ahead, bear left cross the ‘gallop’ and head towards more white racing ‘rails’ – keeping the ‘gallop’ to the right. Pass another blue-topped, white plastic bridleway marker keeping ahead towards the prominent Penhill Scar in the distance.
- Continue straight ahead, slightly uphill, towards another marker, keeping the ‘gallop’ parallel to the right. The rest is up to you and your dog! There is plenty of green space for romping around in and having a good time. Stay off the ‘gallop’ itself, keep a look out for horses, and return to Middleham by the same route when ready!