Yorkshire Dales Walks
Aysgarth Falls & Ivy Scar
Date: 7th Feb 2015
Distance: 8.4 miles
Ascent: 1132 feet
Time: 4 hours 5 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE011887
A walk in Wensleydale visiting the popular Aysgarth Falls, the much less well known Disher Force and the dramatic edge of Ivy Scar.
Route Summary: Aysgarth - Aysgarth High Force - River Ure - West End Farm - Woodhall - Disher Force - Ivy Scar - Peatmoor Lane - Carperby - Low Lane - Freeholders' Wood - Aysgarth Low Force - Aysgarth High Force - Aysgarth
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: The series of three stepped waterfalls on the River Ure below Aysgarth are one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Yorkshire Dales. Back in 2004, during one of my earliest walks in the Dales, I visited Aysgarth Falls on a walk that included a visit to the impressive remains of Bolton Castle. That was over ten years ago and as I hadn't been back since I thought it was high time I visited them again. On this occasion I decided to combine a visit to the waterfalls with a visit to Ivy Scar - one of a number of limestone scars on the northern side of Wensleydale.
It was midday when I arrived at the National Park car park above the river. The sun was out and there was plenty of blue sky as I set off to visit the first waterfall of the day - Aysgarth High Force. The bright sun actually made photographing the waterfall quite tricky - the best spot I found was while standing on Yore Bridge.
From Aysgarth High Force I followed a hedge side path into a short section of pleasant woodland before passing through the grounds of of Bear Park. After following a faint path through a few pastures alongside the embankment of the old Wensleydale Railway I was able to enjoy a stretch on the embankment itself. This was a really enjoyable section, over all too soon, with the old railway lined with hawthorn trees.
The next couple of miles following the Ure upstream were pleasant enough but by the time I arrived at Woodhall I was glad to escape the pastures of the valley floor and begin to gain some height. Climbing out of the village by a good track I took a small detour before crossing Eller Beck to nip through an open gate to view Disher Force. Unnamed on the OS map this was a super little spot with a twin waterfall dropping down a limestone scar on the side of Haw Bank. In fact it was such a lovely scene that I decided to stop there and have a bite to eat.
Back at the bridleway I crossed the beck using a footbridge just above the waterfall. Instead of continuing along the bridleway, called Ox Close Road, I left the path to pass through a gap in the wall to the north and made a beeline for Ivy Scar. Ivy Scar is not marked as access land on the map but there were no problems walking along the top of it and all I startled were a few rabbits. As with other limestone scars in the area, such as Ellerkin Scar and Wegber Scar, the walk along the edge of Ivy Scar was superb with fine views of Wensleydale. Needless to say the drop on one side is quite precipitous so care does need to be taken.
Just to the east of a small cairn marking the 'top' of Ivy Scar I climbed a gate leading into access land marked on the map as 'Carperby'. Passing by a mast I dropped down on a good track to meet Peatmoor Lane. All along this section I could distinctly hear the sound of distant gunfire - presumably the army were out practising on the Bellerby Range to the north of Leyburn.
Peatmoor Lane led me gradually all the way down to the village of Carperby. After making a minor detour to visit the war memorial and an old market cross on the western side of the village I passed through a number of fields and across Low Lane to reach Freeholders' Wood. Instead of returning directly to the car park I concluded the walk with a visit to Middle Force and Low Force. The latter is probably my favourite of the three Aysgarth waterfalls, probably because one can get right up close to it.
This was another enjoyable trip into Wensleydale, my third in just over a month. After a gap of over ten years it was nice to revisit Aysgarth Falls. Disher Force proved to be a really nice spot and the section along the edge of Ivy Scar was also very good. I hope to be seeing a lot more of Wensleydale in 2015.