The Handy Guide To Reeth, Upper Swaledale and Arkendale
Printed and published by CE Cookes & Son, High Row, Richmond
[Partial content relating to Upper Swaledale only]


Healaugh is a small and somewhat straggling village, about a mile and a half beyond Reeth. The famous John of Gaunt,—"Time honour'd Lancaster," is said to have had a hunting-seat near this place. The Gaunts were the owners of the Manor of Healaugh, which, in those far-off times, was one of the best boar hunts in the North. THIERNSWOOD is charmingly situated in a lovely wood to the west of Healaugh. This wood is one of the sweetest sylvan walks in this neighbourhood. Through it winds a babbling brook, and here in the summer months grow flowers and ferns in luxurious profusion. Not far from Healaugh is a spot known as "Scabba Wath," where the level of the road is below that of the river. Here, consequently, in the winter time, it not infrequently happens that the road is well-nigh impassable through floods.

Feetham. Along the hill side on which Feetham stands we have a commanding view of the Dale, which here is seen at its greatest breadth. The Parish Church of Melbecks is situated in this village. Good hotel accommodation at the "Punch Bowl" and excellent fishing may be obtained close by.


Joined to Feetham is Low Row, where there is a Congregational, and also a Wesleyan Chapel. Some two centuries ago, Philip, Lord Wharton, founded a Presbyterian Chapel here. It was this same Lord Wharton who willed that the income from certain of his lands should be devoted each year to the purchase of Bibles and other books, for free distribution. On leaving Low Row you may cross ISLES BRIDGE, and take a peep into the charming little glen called CRACKPOT GILL, with its two pretty waterfalls, in the vicinity of Melbecks Vicarage. Just about a mile beyond Crackpot there is a curious cavern of an extensive character, although the approach to it is somewhat cramped. While on this side of the river the antiquary or historian will find much to interest him if he wanders down dale again to HARKERSIDE MOOR, where there are several entrenchments and ancient earth-works.'The chief of these is an old camp about 100 yards square, known as MAIDEN CASTLE, whose circular mounds and deep ditches are still plainly visible. There are also numerous large barrows and cairns existing here, and recent excavations have brought to light many decayed bones.


The next village that we encounter up the dale is Gunnerside. The grey stone buildings sit almost by the brink of the river, for the valley has narrowed down to a marvellous degree and huge hills rise precipitously on each hand, while right in front, blocking up the head of the dale, as it were, is the giant hill of GREAT SHUNNOR FELL. In the centre of this village is an old fashioned hostelry, on whose sign-board is displayed a coloured portrait of King George IV. Here visitors may always be sure of finding every accommodation and the most obliging attention from the landlady. The Wesleyan Chapel, a handsome, commodious structure, was erected in 1866, and is surrounded by a burial ground in which "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." A Literary Institute stands prominently in the centre of the village and is well supplied with current literature.

Leaving Gunnerside we cross the Swale bridge, which has been twice destroyed by floods and again re-built within recent years, perhaps again to be swept away by one of those rude deluges which sometimes, on the briefest possible notice, hurl their destructive


torrents down the dale. Continuing westward we come to what is known as "SATRON SIDE," which separates us from Wensleydale. On the North side of the dale is the steep ridge called the "Barff," and beyond that are the wild moors which extend towards Arkendale. A mile's walk from Gunnerside, passing Dyke Heads, where was born the poet Close, brings us to IVELET GILL, in which may be seen a most charming waterfall. It falls from three successive ledges of limestone rock, 100 feet into the stream below. Passing up the ravine we see YEW SCAR, another romantic fall.

We may now descend and go through the hamlet of Ivelet. Crossing the river by a most remarkable bridge, and pursuing a walk along a shady lane by the side of a quickly running brook, we arrive at Mill Bridge. Up this stream are to be found two or three pretty little waterfalls, known as OXNOP FALLS.

About three miles beyond is Muker, the highest village of any importance in the dale, 800 feet above the sea; and beyond this we enter upon those wild mountainous districts that boast of but a few scattered


farm houses, excepting Thwaite and Keld. MUKER stands on a slightly rising ground, at the junction of, and between the Muker Beck and the Swale. This old stone-built country town possesses neither regularity of construction nor architectural beauty, and its sole object of immediate interest is the ancient Parish Church of St. Mary, which was consecrated on August 3rd, 1550, and was, in 1890, restored by Col. Metcalfe, at a cost of £500. The register dates from 1638. The church contains several monuments to the Knowles and Calvert families. The Swaledale Agricultural Society's Show is held here every year in the month of September. At Swinnergill Kirk, distance 1¾ miles, there is a huge cavern some sixty yards long, where the early Nonconformists, when prevented by law from worshipping in public, met in secret worship.

Leaving Muker, we proceed along the high road, passing the Wesleyan Chapel on the right, and after crossing a rustic bridge we suddenly come to a charming waterfall, near to Scar House. At a short distance we branch off into the Hawes Road, which passes between two great mountains—on the


west, GREAT SHUNNOR FELL, 2,329 feet,—on the south, STAG'S FELL, 2,213 feet. After a climb of about two miles we come to THE BUTTERTUBS. These grotesque holes present one of those strange freaks of nature occasionally met with in limestone districts, and are amongst nature's greatest wonders in this locality. They lie on the slope of the mountain, and are unique natural formations. The so-called Buttertubs are five or six deep caverns varying in depth from 50 to 100 feet, with vertical columns running down their sides like actual masonry. From the Buttertubs or Muker Pass, as it is variously called, there is possibly the finest view of a wild mountain district that can be experienced in Yorkshire. North of Muker the Swale winds round the mountain KISD0N, 1,636 feet, and down the rugged rocky valley. A rude path leads almost by the river's brink, and if we would enjoy the weird, wild stern beauties of this time-wasted, pine-clad ravine, and view the rush of waters that flow down Kisdon Force to the river's darksome bed, we must follow this path; but a better road is the highway which runs to Thwaite by Muker Beck, one of whose tributaries, Cliff Beck, is crowded with multitudinous little water-


falls. From the junction of the Hawes road above Scar House there is an excellent view, and we get our last glance at Muker, and the valley below, with the giant ridges of hills between which we have journeyed.

Thwaite nestles sweetly in the hollow at our feet, and passing by Angram (a village standing some 900 feet above sea level), we drop leisurely down to the "Cat Hole Inn," an oasis in a wilderness of mountains. The village of Keld lies below. It is an old fashioned country village with nothing of interest in it beyond, perhaps, the chapel, which in Leland's time was a place of worship belonging to the Established Church. It was restored or re-built in 1789, and Mr. Stillman, the minister, in order to raise the funds for this purpose walked to London and back soliciting subscriptions, his expenses by the way amounting to the marvellous sum of sixpence. In an easterly direction, along a narrow by-path we obtain a lovely view of East Stonesdale Beck and proceeding a little further, we come to the famous KISDON FORCE. At the height of nearly 50 feet from the stream, there is a terrace of rock which is densely covered


with trees, and from the crevices creep ferns, moss and ivy. Retracing our steps we may keep to the river, for along its course many pretty pieces of scenery are encountered. Behind the village of Keld is CATRAKE FORCE. The rocky bed here forms a grand amphitheatre composed of a succession of falls. Higher up on our right hand are Currack Falls; a little ahead, we see Remby Falls, consisting of three parallel columns; 500 yards further brings us to Hoggart's Leap, a long range of perpendicular or slightly hanging Scars, crowned with elm and mountain ash. After leaving Keld, the wildness of the country and the few signs of human habitation that appear give the traveller the impression that he is now approaching the lonesome moorlands. He certainly is approaching the limits of Swaledale, for a little beyond, the dale parts into two branches, called Birkdale and Great Sleddale, from the conflux of whose waters we may consider the Swale to take its rise. We make the return journey by taking the road which runs through West Stonesdale, passing and turning in an easterly direction to what is called Arkendale Head, and travel by the Arkle Valley down to Reeth.

Text ©CE Cookes & Son, High Row, Richmond, Yorks

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