On the long westerly ridge of Whernside heading towards Ingleton is the fine limestone pavements above Twisleton Scar. The walk from Chapel-le-Dale evokes memories of the industrial past, combining well with the natural beauty of all times.

The start of the walk is in the small hamlet of Chapel-le-Dale, midway between Ingleton and Ribblehead. There are only a handful of houses in the hamlet but the main attraction is the small but attractive Norman Church of St Leonard. The graveyard was used to bury many of the "victims" of the brutal construction conditions when the Ribblehead viaduct was built.

The viaduct is magnificent but it would be wrong not to acknowledge how "navvies" lived between 1869 and 1875. More than 200 died from both accidents and smallpox.

Start the walk by heading uphill on the road for a few metres until it turns into a track which climbs steadily alongside a small stream to the farm and old quarry at Gill Head. Continue climbing along the lane (part of both the Pennine Journey and Pennine Bridleway long distance paths) through a gate to Ellerbeck Gill.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Twisleton Scar looking west

You are now midway down the broad shoulder leading from the summit of Whernside to Ingleton. Turn left and head on the downhill path towards Ingleton. After three quarters of a mile the grassy, moorland surroundings become interspersed with areas of limestone rock, the start of the limestone pavements. Keep walking for further half mile, the best of the pavements are to your left.

The limestone bedrock of this entire area was formed millions of years ago when the whole area was a tropical sea, and dead marine life sank and solidified. The rock became exposed 15,000 years ago when the glaciers were retreating after the last ice age.

Since then acid in the rain has created the distinctive look of the rock, the pavement effect where cracks have widened and eroded leaving blocks of solid rock.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Twistleton Scar walking map

After a mile of walking through the areas of pavement there are some large boulders. These are of harder granite and have been carried along by the glaciers and dumped on the limestone. They are known as erratics. A large one near the boundary on your right signifies the time to leave the path and head left towards Ingleborough. There are no better views of this fine mountain than here.

On crossing the shoulder soon reach the sharp edge of Twisleton, turn left to return. There is a wall alongside the top of the steep scar. From here there is a choice of return.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Twisleton Scar

Either stick to the wall at the top of the scar for one and a half miles and join the track leading into High Scales farm or drop down a suitable place on the scar and return to Chapel le Dale by contouring the slopes of the scar.

There are many gaps in the dry stone walls to walk through and it is great fun to pick your way through the exposed rock. All of the walking is on access land until meeting the minor road near Chapel-le-Dale, so simply avoid climbing any walls and enjoy the walk.

Walk facts

Distance: Roughly six miles.

Height to climb: 170m (560 feet).

Start: SD 738722. There is some parking on the small road leading in to Chapel-le-Dale.

Difficulty: Medium. When wet the limestone rock can be very slippery to walk on.

Refreshments: The Old Hill Inn is on the main road at Chapel-le-Dale.

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.

  • Jonathan Smith is the owner of Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written three books on walking in the Dales, The Yorkshire 3 Peaks, The Dales 30 mountains and Walks without Stiles. 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 next available date is Sunday, June 30. Join our “Dales 30 Weekenders” in Hawes (June) and Sedbergh (September). Where2walk.co.uk also features hundreds of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.