Walk No. 1 - Muker to Thwaite Circular
A great circular walk with spectacular views of Kisdon Hill, Muker and Thwaite in upper Swaledale; starting at The Farmers Arms in Muker, climbing Occupation Road up Muker Side, dropping down into Thwaite and returning via the meadows at the foot of Kisdon Hill back to Muker.
Start: The Farmers Arms, Muker
Distance: 3 miles
Duration: 2 hours
Facilites: Public Toilets at Muker
Refreshments: Muker and Thwaite
Difficulty: Medium - an initial steep climb for the first 3/4 of a mile, then all downhill to Thwaite and level-going to Muker.
1) With the pub behind you turn left onto the main road and follow the road as it heads out of the village and over the bridge. Where the road then goes immediately left over the bridge and the public car park entrance is on your right, look almost straight ahead and you’ll see a signpost ‘Occupation Road’ and a track which begins alongside the main road.
2) Follow the track as it gently turns the corner and slowly climbs up ahead past two stone barns. The track continues climbing more steeply now but very well defined as it makes it’s way up and along Muker Side. If you look across to your right you can see the stunning view of the village of Muker nestled in the valley bottom.
3) As you climb further up the track, the view becomes more spectacular as the distinctive shape of Kisdon Hill comes into view.
Where the track forks off to the left just as it starts to level out, bear right and continue along the track for a while until you come across a small bridge (pictured below).
A few yards after this bridge, turn 90 degrees to your right and follow the long straight downward path with the dry stone walls either side.
4) When you reach the bottom of this path, with a barn to your right, turn left through the gate and follow the footpath as it crosses a small water course. Head for the next gate and you will soon reach Appletree Thwaite with a newly restored stone house to your right where you join a track which leads you down the hill side towards the beck once more.
5) As soon as you reach the bottom of the track, look to your right and you will see a small wooden gate amongst the trees (pictured above).
Go through the gate and across a narrow footbridge over the waterfall (pictured below); a lovely close up view of the water cascading over the large rocks below on its inevitable downward journey. Another small gate at the other side leads you back to a stone track. A footpath sign tries to lead you off to the right through a wooden gate into a field, ignore it, and head straight on, onto and along the stone track until it adjoins the road.
6) Follow the road a few yards uphill to the Hawes junction then downhill along the road into Thwaite. Turn right at the Kearton Country Hotel and follow the road through the village until it passes by a farmyard. Look out for the signpost just after the farm, just before the next house where the road bears right. Go through the gap in the stone wall to your left and carry along the well-defined footpath through two small wooden gates and into a field, continue straight on, ignoring the Pennine Way footpath off to your left, and head in the direction of Muker until you reach Usha Gap bridge where the path leads though a gate and onto the road.
7) Follow the road a hundred yards or so until you reach Usha Gap Farm Campsite, follow the footpath sign which guides you left into the entrance of Usha Gap Farm, then bear right and go through the farm gate, past the dog kennels and through another gate into the field, bear left and head diagnonal right towards the top of field where you will see a small wooden gate through the stone wall. The path is easy to follow through the meadows with each gate almost always visible ahead. As you reach Muker and the farm gate by the first row of houses, turn right down the snicket which takes you back the entrance of The Farmers Arms pub at Muker for a well earned pint and a bite to eat.
The Farmers Arms is open all day, serving food from 12pm-2:30pm and 6pm - 8:30pm.
You can download a printable version of this walk, by following the link below.