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Circular from Aysgarth Falls via Castle Bolton


A circular walk from the National Park Centre at Aysgarth in Wensleydale taking in three flights of waterfalls. The waterfalls have been a popular attraction since the early 19th century, when Wordsworth used to visit. Turner and Ruskin have painted the falls and they were even the setting for a fight scene in the Hollywood film Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves. A woodland walk is then followed to head on to the ruins and gardens at Bolton Castle. There you can stop for refreshments before returning back to Aysgarth via Carperby.



Parking: Aysgarth Falls car park and National Park Centre (grid reference SE 011 887).
Directions: Google Maps: get directions here / What3words: bloodshot.height.blotches
Walk distance: 6.75 miles (10.8 Km)
Estimated walk time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Height climbed: 215 metres
Grade: 2-B: A medium length walk that requires modest uphill walking
Peaks / summits: None
Wainwrights: None
Map: Ordnance Survey - Explorer OL30 (Yorkshire Dales - Northern & Central Area)
Buy this map from Ordnance Survey
Walk features: Birds, Café, Church, Flowers, Geographic feature, Pub, Toilets, Views, Waterfalls, Wildlife, Woodland
Facilities / refreshments: Toilet in car park. Nearby café. Pubs in Aysgarth. Restaurant / café at Bolton Castle
Nearest town: Aysgarth, nearest larger towns Leyburn and Hawes
Local accommodation: View accommodation close to the start of this walk from Sykes Holiday Cottages
Walk Tags: Aysgarth, Yorkshire Dales, Aysgarth walk, walk, YDNPC, National Park Centre, Yorkshire Dales National Park, Aysgarth Waterfalls, Middle falls, Middle Force, Lower Falls, Lower Force, Upper Falls, Upper Force, High Force, Freeholders' Wood, St Josephs Wood, Hollins House, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Yore Bridge, Wensleydale, Castle Bolton, Bolton Castle, West Bolton, Carperby


Upper Falls
Upper Falls

Exit out of the far car park following the sign left for Upper Falls. Follow the graveled path down towards the falls. On reaching the road turn right onto the road and almost immediately through a gate following a sign for "Askrigg 4 miles". A few yards through this gate go through another gate on the left and follow the path up to the falls (approximately 100 yards).

Middle Falls
Middle Falls

Return back to the road. On entering onto the road turn left and follow the road along the straight and round to the left. Just before the entrance for the car park is reached turn right through a gate at the sign for Middle and Lower Falls. Follow very well marked out gravel path. After about fifty yards, turn right and follow the path down to the viewpoint overlooking Middle Falls.

Lower Falls
Lower Falls

Return back up the hill to the original path. Upon reaching the path, turn right following the sign for the Lower Falls continuing along the graveled path. Pass through the kissing gate and continue straight ahead passing a gate on the right-hand side through which the walk returns from the Lower Falls. Continue through another gate and then the path starts to descend. Upon reaching a split in the paths you can continue straight ahead for a more frontal view of the falls, but then return to this point and take the right turn following the sign for "Viewpoint Lower Falls". Almost immediately the falls can be seen from a viewpoint, next to which are pictures etched into the stones making up the path. Continue along the path which shortly opens up alongside the falls and follows the river bank. Continue along taking the footpath off up to the right away from the river signed "return path". This path leads up hill to rejoin the path used to reach the Lower Falls. Go through the gate and turn right following path already used to reach the Lower Falls.

After approximately twenty yards, veer off left along the grass between a tree and the signpost, signed "Castle Bolton and Redmire". The grass path goes away from the other path to meet a fence. Continue along the path staying parallel and very close to the fence. Go through a gate-stile in the wall, again following the sign for Redmire and Castle Bolton. Continue ahead across the field heading slightly diagonally left up for a gate to the right of Hollins House Farm. Go through the gate and follow the farm track, and upon reaching the farm itself, turn right along a tarmac road through the farm buildings and proceed through a red gate. After approximately fifty yards, turn off along the footpath to the right signed "Footpath".

After about one hundred yards pass through a disused gate and continue along the path which is now heading in the direction of Castle Bolton. Go though gate-stile in the wall passing a sign pointing in the reverse direction to "Aysgarth Falls", and continue on well worn path across the field towards the farm buildings in the foreground with Castle Bolton beyond. In the corner of the field where the fence meets the wall, go over the stile and keep to the right-hand side of the wall, following the sign for "Castle Bolton".

After one hundred yards go over a stile by a red gate, followed twenty yards later by passing another gate, following the farmer's hand-written sign which directs walkers along the side of the wall and away from the farm. After one hundred and fifty yards follow sign straight ahead for "Castle Bolton" gradually leaving the wall only to be rejoined by it a little further down the path. Keep about five yards to the left of the wall, and continue ahead and over a stile, all the while Castle Bolton can clearly be seen up to the left. The path continues for about three-quarters of a mile lined for the majority of that time by hedges, fences and walls on both sides. Go through a red gate and out onto a road. Keeping the houses and farm buildings on the right, continue along the road for about fifty yards. On the bend in the road, by a large tree veer up to the left over a stone walkway over a riverbed, and go left over the stile away from the road. Continue ahead for ten yards over a fallen down wall and turn right following a sign "Footpath" along a grassy path following initially the line of the overhead electric cables.

Road up to Bolton Castle
Road up to Bolton Castle

Go across the field through a gap in the wall following sign again simply signed "Footpath". Continue onwards through the next field over the stile and onto the road. Cross over and take the road almost straight ahead up the hill leading up to Castle Bolton. The road is signed "Castle Bolton half mile".

Castle Bolton maze and gardens
Castle Bolton maze and gardens

The small village of Castle Bolton is built around the ruins of Bolton Castle. The gardens of the castle are free to enter and there is also a tea shop inside. To enter the castle itself there is a small entrance fee. There is a pleasant village green in front of the castle on which to picnic if you so desired. Bolton Castle was built between 1375 and 1399 by Sir Richard Scrope, Lord Chancellor to Richard II. The castle is made up of a high curtain wall, three stories high, with a tower in each corner almost 100 feet high. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here for nearly a year in 1568. A bar and restaurant are also now included within its walls.

Looking back at Bolton Castle
Looking back at Bolton Castle

The walk continues along the road down the side of the castle following the car park sign. Pass through the gate next to the car park entrance and immediately bear off diagonally left across the field, not following the track ahead which leads to Askrigg. At the corner of the filed, go through the gate-stile following the sign for "Carperby and Aysgarth". Twenty yards further go through the next gate-stile and follow the wall for a further ten yards before following footpath signed "Aysgarth" that heads diagonally down the left across the field.

View across to West Witton Moor
View across to West Witton Moor

Go through the gate in the far fence and continue straight ahead almost underneath the overhead power lines. Continue across the field and through the red gate in the far wall, then continuing in almost the same direction follow the path for one hundred yards over a footbridge. Once over the bridge, follow path up the hill back towards the overhead wires, and just before the pylon turn left over through the gate-stile in the wall. Cross this field in the direction of the farm buildings heading for the gate. Continue through this gate and on towards the farm buildings and plantation. The path veers to the left in front of the house. Go through another gate and continue straight ahead. Continue on and as the lane bends around to the left, turn off right and go through a swing-gate in the wall, then through another gate to head up the right-hand side of the tree plantation. Continue up the side of the fence around the trees. At the top end of the trees, go through the stile which is attached to the fence. Follow the path away from the plantation across the field heading downwards to the fallen down wall and then continue ahead in the same direction. The fallen down wall is at a junction with a small stream. Continue ahead heading for another wooden swing gate in the wall. Continue onwards with a line of trees on the right-hand side across a further field to another red gate. A further hundred yards on pass through another red gate and cross the next field containing a small farm building. Go through next gate and continue straight ahead. There is often an electric cattle fence bordering each side of the footpath for a while on this section. Continue onwards in the same direction following the well trodden path. The path turns into a reasonable stone track as it begins to descend to the farm below. Pass through the first few farm buildings, then through the red gate and follow the track round to the left before the main farm buildings down onto the road. Turn right onto the road and walk into the village of Carperby.

Take the footpath off the road on the left-hand side opposite the Wheatsheath public house. The pub serves bar snacks, if you want a break in the walk. Go through the gate opposite the pub signed "Aysgarth". After about thirty yards go through gate entrance in the wall, then immediately left continuing onwards directly away from the road. About three-quarters way down the field there is a small farm building built into the wall on the right opposite the ruins of another farm building to the left of the path. Twenty yards past these go through a gap in the wall and continue directly ahead. Through the next gap or the wooden gate you enter onto a road. Turn right onto the road (Low Lane) for ten yards then go left through the gap in the opposite wall following footpath for Aysgarth to continuing ahead in the same direction as the wall was approached. After fifty yards where the wall on the right meets the bushes, go through the gap between the wall and the bushes following the sign "Footpath". Head diagonally across the field in a line roughly for the two small farm buildings. Follow path to the gate-stile in the first wall. Continue on the same line through the next field for another gate-stile in the wall, and continue on a line for the large tree ahead. Go through a narrow gap in the wall immediately in front of the large tree. The walls around this area are also marked with yellow paint dots to mark the footpath. Continue with the large on the left heading for the gap in the wall ahead. Through this continue onwards for the next gap in the wall in the direction of the trees. Then shortly after this go through the gate into the trees. On entering the trees continue straight ahead for about fifteen yards on a soil track then turn right for a further fifteen yards before turning left down the track which leads back on to the road.

On reaching the road turn left and go down the hill under the 15'9" bridge and turn right back into the car park.


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