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A winter scene in the Dales. Looking towards Ingleborough from Sulber Nick. Climbs of Ingleborough start from Horton or Ribblehead. We run these walks throughout the year.

Wharton Hall in the valley visited on walks from Kirkby Stephen. A favourite venue for many easier walks.



Weekends & Holidays 2008


Please click the links below to view further details:

Llangollen, North Wales- March 2008
Mendips, Somerset - August 2008
Ashbourne, Derbyshire - October 2008


Ashbourne Weekend 17-20 October 2008



1. 'A' Walk, Wolfscote Dale
2. A Heron on the River Dove
3. 'A' party coffee break in Wolfscote Dale
4. Thor's Cave
5. Alstonefield

Photos above by Moya McNamara (1-3 Sunday; 4-5 Monday)

6. I'll show you mine if you show me yours!
7. David picks a route
8. Christina leads us through the tunnel under Ashbourne
9. Where does the footpath go?
10. Mud
11. More Mud

Photos above by Carola Maddox (6-7 Sunday; 8-11 Monday)

Ashbourne, home of the famous water, proved remarkably free of it hurtling earthwards but very abundant underfoot. On Saturday the 'A' party struck out north towards Waterhouses and made their way to the Manifold Way. This proved a good start, the walking equivalent of a motorway. However, all good things come to an end and soon they were in the thick of it, so to speak. The Hulme End area provided a splendid opportunity for a little(!) diversion and also a lovely picnic spot. The going became sticky and the route finding skilful. Electrified fences, slippery stiles and glorious mud all made for an exciting walk. But the fun has to stop sometime and eventually they made their way back to Onecote and the safety of the pub.

The 'B' party started from Onecote, making sure they knew where the pub was first. They moved in a circular, anticlockwise fashion and this was not due to bad route finding but the condition of the ground which was so slippery with mud that straightforward walking was impossible. They made their way steadily uphill to the mighty height of 425m, encountering a menacing gun on the way, before sliding out for Butterton. Up-to-the-knees mud, frisky cattle and dodgy stiles were the order of the day and the skill of leaping from grassy clump to grassy clump improved no end. At last, after crossing a remarkable mud-free field which also served to clean the boots Onecote was reached.
The 'C' party, unlike the 'A' party put their extra miles on at the beginning. However, knowing a thing or two about mud, they made for the delights of the Manifold Way and stuck there. A comfortable break was made at Wetton Mill where the café definitely came up to scratch and then the road to Butterton was followed. Plunging south they entered Onecote with enviably clean boots and plenty of time to drink their fill.

Sunday dawned slightly less bright and a bit more windy. The 'A' and 'C' parties debussed near Alsop. The 'C' party immediately made for the heights of Milldale at the top of Dovedale and then followed the River Dove south, enjoying the colourful trees, the watchful herons and the superb path. A gentle stroll along Halldale followed until Stanshope was reached and the field paths began. 'C' party luck still held though and saved them from a muddy end as they made their way to Wetton and thence to Alstonefield.

The 'A' party made their way to the site of the old Alsop station to meet the Tissington Trail. Their journey on this splendid highway did not last long, however, and soon they were slithering muddily downwards to the River Dove. A relaxing and beautiful stretch ensued as they moved via Wolfscotedale to Hartington - what no mud? From Hartington they made their clean-booted way to Hulme End and the Manifold Valley. Lulled into a false sense of security - they should have known better - they suddenly found themselves going steeply upwards to Sugarloaf Hill and its associated copper mines. Musings on how long one could survive at the bottom of a disused mine were not tested out and they moved seamlessly on to Wetton Mill where a friendly cat joined them for tea. Wetton Hill was tackled next and then the sting in the tail, the final heave to Alstonefield to catch the coach.

'B' party started from Alstonefield and made their way up to Shining Tor providing entertainment for the 'C' party who had already made the journey. They, too, walked along Dovedale on the way to Hartington, searching in vain for the cheese shop, before diverting into Biggindale where the Waterloo pub welcomed them with a blazing hot fire and soup. Beresford Dale was visited next, hunting or rather fishing ground of Isaac Walton of 'The Compleat Angler ' fame. And just to complete the dales came Narrowdale where the party left the road to the sheep and took to the fields to return to Alstonefield.

Monday saw a scattering to the winds of various groups to do various things such as going home, cycling, walking round Carsington lake and other activities not recorded. A small but perfectly formed party of nine set off from the hotel to do a Sherborne Special. Just how special they were soon to discover. If they had thought Saturday's walk was muddy they were mistaken. It paled into insignificance when compared with the swirling chocolate blancmange-type paths which they walked that day. The Olympic medal for the muddiest walk can definitely go to Christina and we do not want anyone to try and do better! But I digress. The walk started on suspiciously good ground as we dived into the tunnel beneath Ashbourne (missing the trains) and picked up the Tissington Trail for a short time. Then the fun began with acrobatic greasy stiles always hiding from us, giddy cattle hurtling towards us and confusing footpath signs which led into impenetrable hawthorn hedges. Much gardening was done on the way before we trudged up Madge Hill to face a group of llamas/alpacas? They clearly knew what was coming next. It turned out to be a 'track' which became limb-threatening mud and seemed to go on for ever. The reward was a lovely view of Carsington Lake. Good paths followed for a while and Ashbourne was in sight when, failing to find a suitable stile we decided to go through a gate. To the left we caught sight of a herd of cattle complete with bull and calves stampeding down the hill towards us in front of a tractor. Hurriedly we shut the gate to the anger of the bull who bellowed at us and to the puzzlement of the dog who came to round us up. The bull was right and we were wrong but the farmer was very forgiving and let us escape before diverting the cattle into 'our field.' That excitement over we made our way back to the hotel without further deviation by crossing the airfield(no planes spotted) and the industrial estate and arrived before the promised time feeling that we had had a real adventure.
Many thanks to John and Moya for organising the weekend and congratulations to all the leaders who managed to find routes which were not obviously there and coped with innumerable hazards with their usual cheerfulness and optimism.

Report by Diane Exley

Mendips Holiday 14-19 August 2008




Hotel Webbington
Hotel Terrace
View from the Terrace
Mendips AONB Marker Stone

Photos above by Pat Wilson


Coffee stop, near Pen Hill

Photos above by Moya McNamara


Munchies 1
Munchies 2
Munchies 3
Munchies 4

Photos above by Pat Wilson

The top of Cheddar Gorge
Descending from Cheddar Gorge


Leaving Wookey Hole
At the top of Ebbor Gorge

Photos above by John Crouch


Millennium Marker Stone
Wookey Hole Village
Gathering outside the caves
Gardens 1
Gardens 2
A site for sore eyes!


Wells Cathedral, exterior
Wells Cathedral, interior
Wandering through Wells 1
Wandering through Wells 2
Wandering through Wells 3

Photos above by Pat Wilson


Beacon Batch
View from Crook Peak

Photos above by Moya McNamara


Early Lunch at Axbridge
House in Axbridge
Up through the Woods
Trig Point, Wavering Down


National Memorial Arboretum 1
National Memorial Arboretum 2

Photos above by Pat Wilson



There was a time on Thursday when we began to think that we should plan circular walks from the M1. However, the traffic cleared and we sped on our way from motorway to ever-narrowing roads and bridges until, thankfully, the Webbington Hotel hove into view. Swimming pool and sauna visited and a good meal inside us we were ready for anything.

Next morning dawned relatively bright for this year's August and we all set out with enthusiasm to discover the Mendips; 'A' party beginning at Coscombe, 'B' at Wells and 'C' at Wookey Hole. The going was muddy, especially in the sun-deprived gorges, and the signage not always what one would have hoped for even when we reached the West Mendip Way but the walking was not arduous except for the very solid stone stiles which stretched the legs and tested the balance. 'B' party went the extra mile or so at the end and gazed into the depths of Cheddar Gorge. The rest of us hightailed it back to Cheddar to enjoy the delights of pub and café.

Saturday saw us speeding to the Quantocks. Unfortunately, the weather reverted to rainbucket mode. 'A' and 'B' parties tried to follow part of the Macmillan Trail where signs were available; 'A's' starting from North Petherton, where they enjoyed the Visitors' Centre, and 'B's' from Broomfield. The route took us to the heights of Cothelstone Hill and down again before climbing to the Quantock moors full of the mauves and yellows of heather and gorse and from where we would have had a wonderful view of rolling hills on all sides if it hadn't been for the rain. However, well girded with umbrellas and waterproofs we said goodbye to the moorland ponies and descended through the woods to West Quantoxhead and a welcoming pub. 'C' party pursued a different course, following the Coleridge Trail leading from his one-time house in Nether Stowey through very attractive villages (and no stiles!) to meet up with the other parties in West Quantoxhead.

Sunday saw the coach making for Wookey Hole where the majority of the party explored the intricacies of the caverns there. Others strolled on to Wells where the various delights of the Bishop's Palace, the cathedral and Vicar's Close were tasted before the coach party arrived. A bonus on the way back was a drive through the awe-inspiring Cheddar Gorge.

Monday was the usual cool and windy day which we have come to expect this August but we set out in hope, as usual. 'A' and 'B' parties did a linear walk with 'A' starting at West Harptree and 'B' further along, after a steep hill climb, at Blagdon. Parts of the Limestone Link and the West Mendip Way were followed as we conquered the highest point of the Mendips at Batch Beacon and strode off across the moors. Mud filled lanes and woods followed until we reached the broad acres of Waverley Down and the superb viewpoint of Crook Point before plummeting down to the hotel. 'C' party took a circular course from the hotel to the very attractive Axbridge, followed the Strawberry Line (railway not cream teas) and ascended Waverley Down to contour gently back to the hotel.Tuesday's journey home was enhanced by a visit to the village of Alrewas and the nearby National Memorial Arboretum.

A very enjoyable weekend with interesting walks led by competent leaders who deserve a great deal of thanks for all their efforts. Thanks also to those who planned and devised the maps for the walks. What would we do without computers and GPS's! Let us also not forget Andrew, our driver, who remained happy and smiling however wet and muddily we returned to the coach and wherever we asked him to go. Last but not least, of course, we thank John and Moya for all their hard work in organising the weekend so that it ran smoothly.

Report by Diane Exley




The A party had shrunk by the second day, whether due to one male leaving or another joining, I cannot say; but just 5 foolhardy members left the coach at North Petherton to try to follow the MacMillan Way into the Quantocks. Our start was enlivened upon meeting a local, who on asking us where we were going responded by saying, that it was far too far and that we should catch a bus. Very encouraging! Especially according to her hand shape the hills are vertical. Anyway, we quickly found a signpost and with Moya studying the map soon made good progress, after just over an hour we reached near where the B party had started and took a break within a nature reserve; what was better was that it was still not raining!

However soon after this break the signs disappeared and we all had to start searching for the wanted paths; about this time the rain started but we managed to find the paths along the edge of the Quantocks which were sheltered by the trees and even had some good views. This path included passing Great Hill and Beacon Hill. After that we miraculously found a hidden track direct to the pub where the rest of the group were waiting. Thanks to Moya and the GPS lady!


After a days "rest" around Wells, it was a larger A party that left the coach last, to make for the Chew Valley Lake, at first the track was easy to follow; however it was harder to catch a glimpse of the Lake!

It then become harder to find the elusive Limestone Link, but we finally succeeded and from then on there was no holding us as we tried to keep up with the leader up to the top of Beacon Batch, the highest point in the North Mendips (as the plaque said on the trig point).

After leaving the Batch we picked up the West Mendip Way and stuck to it like glue over hill and main road until we left it to climb the final summit of Crook Peak and look down on the motorway (and the rest of the world!). From there it was downhill all the way to the hotel. Thanks to our intrepid leader, Yvonne, and I hope the 18+ miles was nearly long enough for her and she did not have to walk too far in the evening to make up her quota.

Report by David Sherborne


Llangollen Weekend 28-31 March 2008

Photo above: Pistyll Rhaeadr by Moya McNamara



1. Ready for the Off
2. Up and away
3. Our original objective
4. Sheltered lunch
5. Pistell Rhyder
6. At the top
7. At the bottom
8. Up again
9. Hoods up
10. Where's the coach?

Photos 1-10 above by Martin Housley

EXTERNAL WEB LINK - click here to view more photos from this walk



11. Coffee stop
12. Aran mountains, Wales
13 . Group photo
14. View from above
15. Approaching the top, Aran Fawddwy
16. Lake Bala

Photos 11-16 above by Moya McNamara

17. Our Base
18. Following like sheep
19. Cader Idris
20. River hopping
21. Bog trotting
22. River jumping
23. Gathering our strength
24. Aran Fawddwy
25. On Drysgol
26. Scrambling up
27. Der Kapitan
28. Hardly the S & C

Photos 17-28 above by Martin Housley

EXTERNAL WEB LINK - click here to view more photos from this walk


29. Bran Castle, Llangollen
30. Trevor Aquaduct

Photos 29-30 above by Moya McNamara

31. Another b.... hill to climb
32. And only to an old ruin
33. Escaping
34. Striding out
35. Traversing
36. Hanging on by our fingernails
37. Staggering up
38. Well met
39. The splinter group
40. Barging through
41. Don't jump Alan

Photos 31-41 above by Martin Housley

EXTERNAL WEB LINK - click here to view more photos from this walk


1. On the way to Cadair Bronwen (Saturday)
2. Leaving Bala (Sunday)
3. At Nant Cwn-da (Sunday)
4. Creigiau Wood (Sunday)
5. On Trevor Rocks looking to Bran Castle (Monday)

Photos 1-5 above by John Crouch


Through the wind, rain and sun we travelled from various directions to the Wild Pheasant Hotel, Llangollen. A visit to the Spa was essential for de-stressing bodies in advance and we took full advantage. Replete with good food and company we geared ourselves up for the sortie into the Berwyns.

It emerged, however, that the weather had other ideas. Saturday will probably go down in the annals of the Friends of DalesRail as the first time that all walks had to be abandoned. At least those of us who were there thought this was the first occasion. You may know better!

'A' party began at Pen Craig intending to make for the Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall and thence steadily up to the ridge and equally steadily down to Llandrillo where their companions would be waiting for them. In the event, a river swollen with its own importance, barred the way. As one would expect the leader was undaunted and quickly devised a circular walk which brought the party back to Llangynog.

'B' party started from Llandrillo and climbed steadily towards Cadair Berwyn and Cadair Bronwen. Their gait became less steady as they encountered wintry blasts of scything hail driven by a galeforce wind. Nearing the ridge it became clear that we should soon all turn into Mary Poppins and float away. The leader, being sensible, decided that down was the only way and we retreated thankfully clinging on to each other. The coach shone like a beacon of hope in the car park and we clambered very gratefully aboard.

'C' party also started from Llandrillo with a spring in their step as they headed for Coedydd Branas woods. Their excitement was not to last for long. The rain and wind began to buffet them as they crossed open ground towards Mynydd Mynyllod and Coed Gaerwen. The stream proved uncrossable and all hope of reaching Braich Ddu was abandoned and all speed was made to the very welcoming pub in Llandrillo where good food was consumed, phone calls made and a meeting with the 'B' party achieved. Very few of our waterproof garments passed the test but at least we survived the day intact.

Sunday looked more hopeful and we all travelled to Bala to see if we could manage some proper walks. 'A' party set off from the south east of Llyn Tegid ( Bala Lake to the uninitiated) intent on conquering Aran Fawddwy and Aran Benllyn (not to be confused with the cough mixture). This they did with their usual consummate ease and arrived back at Llanuwchlyn in plenty of time for the coach. Two of the party opted for a trip on the railway but all met up in Bala.

'B' party remained at the north end of the lake and took a very pleasant way through fields and moors in sunshine to arrive in the valley of Nant Cwn-da where we settled down for lunch only to experience rapid drops of rain which, remembering the day before, sent everyone scurrying for their rainwear. It was, in fact, a false alarm and heavy gear was quickly discarded in the warmth of the sun. Back down from the valley and ankle deep in mud we then left the lowlands to climb steadily up Garw Fynydd. From there a seemingly pathless yomp led us into what looked like the forest of desolation, an almost lunar landscape of dead trees rotting in various positions. Familiar green fields followed and gave splendid views of Bala and its lake. A slide downhill led us back to the comforts of the White Lion (or the teashop according to your preference).

'C' party began from the northern end of the lake making their way to Llangower Forest over the railway line. From there they worked their way down to Glyn Gower and followed the river to walk back along the railway line to Bala. For one member of the party it was her first attempt at stiles for a long time. Well done, Kath.

Monday dawned even brighter and for some the trek home began. Others visited tourist sites or did short walks from the hotel. The 'A' party conquered Dinas Bran amd went on to the famous Froncysyllte aqueduct at Trevor before looping round to follow a hillside trail on the south side of the valley back to Llangollen. The 'B' party climbed towards Dinas Bran and then took a right turn to follow a low level valley route round to Trevor rocks and superb views of Dinas Bran and the Dee Valley. They returned to Llangollen round the back of the castle, although two energetic members returned via the castle.

A very good weekend with varied walks and a comfortable hotel. Many thanks to all the walk leaders and their helpers. It is not always easy to translate map to ground as I know only too well. Many thanks also to John and Moya for organising the weekend and ensuring that everything ran so well. The coach driver also deserves our thanks for rescuing us on Saturday and going above and beyond the call of duty. We hope his boss forgave him.

Report by Diane Exley


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