Nidderdale & Washburn Walks
How Stean Gorge
Date: 1st May 2005
Distance: 3.4 miles
Ascent: 549 feet
Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SE097733
A short walk visiting the impressive How Stean Gorge before heading upstream along How Stean Beck and returning via Middlesmoor.
Route Summary: How Stean Beck - How Stean Gorge - How Stean Beck - Middlesmoor - Park House - How Stean Beck
1. A rather obliging peacock showing off its feathers
2. A view down into How Stean Gorge
3. How Stean Gorge
4. Another view of How Stean Gorge
5. How Stean Force
6. Sat alongside the modest How Stean Force
7. St Chad's Church, Middlesmoor
Walk Detail: This short but quite delightful walk was the result of a last minute decision to go out in the afternoon. I'd wanted to visit How Stean Gorge for some time and the idea for a more extended visit to How Stean Beck was courtesy of one of the ever-reliable Hannon walking books. My initial impressions however were not particularly favourable mainly because of the number of people and families milling around the café and shop. Some exotic colour was provided though by the resident peacocks.
Considering the number of people near the entrance I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of people in the gorge itself, which was quite a good thing considering I felt a bit foolish with the hard hat on.
I was also surprised by how green the gorge itself was. I was expecting something very steep and rocky like Gordale or Troller's Gill. Instead it was really quite a lush environment and the way some of the rock had been formed by the flow of water in the gorge was quite amazing.
After a good look at the gorge we decided to have a go at Tom Taylor's Cave. It was here that we were very glad to have had the hard hats on. It was pitch black apart from the shared torchlight and I would have cracked my head open a number of times without hat protection.
After traversing the cave and returning the hats we left the gorge area via the car park field and took a path that headed upstream further along How Stean Beck. Along the way we passed some delightful beck scenery and a few nice stretches of woodland. After viewing the pretty though modest waterfall that Hannon calls How Stean Force we made our way to Middlesmoor, a lovely little village.
This was one of those days that proved you don't have to walk a long distance or climb a great height to have a really good time.