Also with a visit to the source of the River Ribble and involving a km of pathless moorland. The Snaizeholme valley is a southern offshoot of Widdale, between Ribblehead and Hawes.
The red squirrel refuge in the Snaizeholme Woods, and the trail and viewing area were set up by the owners of Mirk Pot with the YDNPA. The trail is 2.5 or 3 miles, but we decided to make a day of it with some new ground to explore up the valley. They prefer you to park down off the lead-in road by the farm, and for here you must pre-book. The number is the Dale’s Countryside Museum in Hawes, 01969666210. We parked off the B6255 opposite the old chapel, currently being converted, right by the road up the valley. As this is a ten mile walk, you could park off the road at Newby Head where the road from Dent joins, or where the Pennine Bridleway(PB) leaves the Dent Road.
From the Mirk Pot car park follow the trail signs down and along the valley through Norway Spruce, occasionally spying the red darlings, which are not at all shy or rare at the viewing area, marked as a short diversion off the public footpath near West Park. The trail and footpath continue to Stone Gill Foot, where go up the track to join the track continuation from the road. Follow this, eventually becoming a wet path, which leads to the right of an enclosure with a sheepfold at it’s lower end, although you can’t see the enclosure till you’re nearly at it. The “paths” on the OS and Memory maps are ruined walls, but the one running up the Fell side in line with the wall of the enclosure pointing south-west is a good marker to follow, now pathless, and at the top follow the Sike on its left and head in that line for the green green grass of limestone, and the good path of the PB. Follow this through Gavel Gap, looking back up left when through the gate to see, if you will, the source of the Ribble exiting a short limestone scar. At the B6255 go across and down the Dent road, turning right up the PB 500m further on. This leads up and along, now a grassy path, then down the limestone hill of Wold Fell to a “crossroads” of Bridleways. Turn right, and soon it becomes a track with Public access to various vehicles, leading down the Fell with a long view of Widdale, through a plantation and back to Widdale Bridge.
Just under 10 miles, with 1900ft of ascent.
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