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Landscape Photograph from Penhill Walk

Walk Summary

Start Point: West Witton

Walk Guide /Map references OS Explorer OL30 & Collins Ramblers > Yorkshire Dales, David Leather

Distance: 7.5 miles

Highlights: Awesome Views from Penhill

Wildlife spotted: Shrew, Curlew (plus Chick), Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear, Raven, Kestrel. (Walk is reputed to offer sightings of Peregrine Falcon and Brown Hare too!)

Watering Hole: Fox & Hound – Very quiet on arrival but it’s a multi award winning pub with a good range of  local ales and real beers

Tipple Tips: Swinithwaite Silver, Yorkshire Dales Brewery – Light and tasty

Map of Walk (approx)


View Walking Photographer Penhill Walk in a larger map

What’s awesome about walking is that every walk is different (even the ones you do again and again). Each walk offers the opportunity to see and learn something new. On this walk in particular, I discovered that you should only wear shorts when certain of the terrain and know that you’re not going to be wading waste deep through patches of stinging nettles!

The stingers were worth it though… This walk is spectacular! It has everything: wildlife, expansive views, archaeology and an award winning pub to boot! The walk starts fairly gently through various environments: fields, woodlands (where I saw my first shrew!), country tracks and a nice looking race course on a moor. The time of year also meant an occasional encounter with young wildlife. This included nearly treading on a sleepy young curlew chick and spotting a family of fledgling wrens!

By the time you make the climb to Penhill Beacon you’re quite out of breath and regretting that night cap from the previous evening! However, your exertions are immediately rewarded and all woes forgotten as you turn around to see the stunning views that overlook Lower Wensleydale, the North York Moors and Darlington. I loved walking along Penhill, taking in the giant boulders scattered across slopes and valley, the sheer cliff faces and dramatic viewpoints in every direction. I could’ve stayed there all day!

Following the natural and literal high of the day we made our way down towards the Templar’s Chapel. This ruined building was constructed around 1200 by the Knights Templar and is a small but fascinating place. The immediate area has a real sense of history about it and it’s hard to stop your imagination running wild as you envisage all sorts of historically inaccurate scenes, taken mainly from low-budget crusade films and TV dramas!

As you leave the Templar’s Chapel the pace quickens at the thought of a tasty pint, and before you know it you’re sitting back supping on a locally brewed beer in a CAMRA award winning pub! NICE!

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