Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales. Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales. To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

MANY will have driven through Long Preston but few will have stopped and fewer still walked in the lovely Dales landscape. This short walk follows the river and offers a lovely taster of the area.

The walk starts from the Maypole pub, presently closed at time of writing (although the Boars Head opposite is open). Head away from the main road until it reaches and passes the primary school. Follow the lane as it bends right and heads towards the Norman church of St Mary’s. The entrance is to the right and it is worth exploring the large, well-kept graveyard. A lane runs alongside the church if you do not wish to.

From the far side of the church head along the lane for 250m till it reaches a river (Long Preston Beck). Before arriving at the beck there are some stables on your right with some friendly horses often sticking their noses over the wall. Just past the beck a stile on your left leads to a lovely section of riverside walking. For nearly one mile keep the river on your left and enjoy the lovely riverside walking.

The river has been the subject of some debate in recent years due to the existence of the American signal crayfish, amongst other things responsible for the reduction of native fish species. Look carefully and you may find some skeleton remains.

Half way along the river there is a stile and then a gate before the path opens out again. The circular wall above you is the Long Preston water supply, this year it has varied between nearly empty and very full. The path continues along the riverside through open fields, before a stile leads to a narrow path and then a meeting of two rivers. The river to the right comes from the moors and tumbles steeply down whilst the Beck itself carries on up towards Settle. Cross both rivers via two footbridges and head for the diagonal path on your left skirting the steep slope. This is the only climb of the walk.

At the top of the path pass through a gate and take the second stile on the left. The first leads in to New Pasture Plantation.

The stile is the first of eight stiles as you make your way back towards Long Preston village. The initial section is over a flat field, but after the second stile the path drops, steeply at times towards the


The views over Long Preston and beyond to Pendle Hill and the Forest of Bowland are gorgeous, particularly in the low winter light early in the morning or at sunset. The final stile leads to a quiet lane, turn left and stroll back to your start point.

It is possible to take an alternative route at New Pasture Plantation if you want to avoid the stiles by sticking to the farm lane and turning left at moor road after half a mile.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 3 miles

Height to Climb: 75m (240 feet)

Start: SD 834582. On Maypole Green or start with a coffee in the Boars Head and use their car park.

Difficulty: Easy. A short half day but take your time on the lovely river.

Refreshments: The Boars Head in the centre of the village offers food and drink. The Maypole is presently closed.

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 OL2) 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.