ANYONE who visits the small market town of Hawes should also take the short walk to Hardraw Force.

The walk crosses the fields alongside the River Ure and a return can be make via the pretty village of Appersett.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The walks takes in the pretty village of AppersettThe walks takes in the pretty village of Appersett (Image: Jonathan Smith)

Home to Wensleydale Cheese, Gayle Mill and the Pennine Way Hawes is a busy market town at the head of Wensleydale. From the car park at the Dales Countryside Museum (worth a visit, open December, not January) join the nearby road heading across the river to Swaledale. A footpath avoids the traffic on the sometimes busy road for 300m before running out at the crossing for the road bridge.

Immediately afterwards take the signed footpath across the floodplain to the north of the River Ure. It is three quarters of a mile to Hardraw along a path that can be difficult to follow. Just follow the distant buildings just to the north of west and when you come to a fence there will be a stile.

On entering Hardraw next to the small river turn briefly right and follow the sign to Hardraw Force. There is small cost to actually visit the waterfall (not in the Green Dolphin pub anymore for those with longer memories). The museum and café is closed for winter but often serves take away coffee/teas which is pleasant on one of those cool but sunny winter days. The short walk to the waterfall is on a well maintained and fully accessible path through the woods.

The waterfall at Hardraw Force is a single drop of 110 feet (30m) which may or may not be the largest in the country (always a dispute about these things). Return to the visitor centre via the path on the far side of the stream (not fully accessible).

When you are back on the road turn right and pass through the village. On your right just past the bridge a lane marks the route of the Pennine Way and its long 4 mile climb of Great Shunner Fell.

The road head west for three quarters of a mile to the main road between Hawes and Garsdale. From here cross the bridge on your left and join a footpath on the far side of the road. This heads towards the village of Appersett. It is a small village of only 23 houses, spread out with an open village square to sit in. The suffix ‘sett’ is only used in places towards the head of Wensleydale - a local custom.

Just over the bridge in to the village is a tarmacked lane heading south/right. Take this and walk for 300m to pass just under the old railway line. There is some debate as to whether this line may be reopened in the future, it would be an excellent way to attract more tourists without having to encourage more cars in to the area.

Just past the railway take the footpath on your left leading in to some farmland. After walking south east for 300m take a left alongside a wall. Cross through a another field to a small bridge over a stream. And follow the path back to the main road at the west end of Hawes.

* Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 4.5 miles.

Height to Climb: 45m (150 feet)

Start: SD 870898. Park at the Dales Countryside Museum, a large car park.

Difficulty: Easy. A straightforward walk with some stiles to cross.

Refreshments: Hawes has a large choice of cafes ad pubs.

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 runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales. He has published three 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 first available day or 2024 is March 23.

Look for the new Dales 30 weekends in Hawes & Sedbergh. also features hundreds of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.