📍2.5 Miles - Approximately 1 hour

📍Easy footpaths and local lanes

📍137ft/42m Elevation

📍No stiles, just farm gates 

The walk begins in Helwith Bridge, approximately 5 miles from the market town of Settle in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  Quarrying has a very long history within the Yorkshire Dales, dating back hundreds of years.  Within yards of each other are Dry Rigg and Arcow Quarry, both gritstone quarries, producing a stone with exceptional wearing and skid resistant properties used across the country 

Parking in the Helwith Bridge Quarry car park turn right out of the entrance onto the main road, and left before the Helwith Bridge Inn onto a lane.  Care is needed as the lanes you will be walking on are heavily used by quarry traffic.   A short way down the lane there is a gate on the left to a footpath to avoid the quarry traffic, this follows the lane to the large bend.  

Reaching back onto the lane at the corner, its a great vantage point to see steam trains from as the track runs parallel to the lane. 

The Flying Scotsman photographed from the walk


Following the lane heading towards the quarry you pass a barn on your left and continue bearing left as the road forks. Pass a collapsed barn and Foredale working farm on your left, open the farm gate on the right to avoid the cattle grid and continue up the hill.

The cottages up on your right, nestled between two working quarries were built for a now disused quarry above, and were also the location for the film Lad: A Yorkshire Story.  The landscape is simply stunning, and very rugged.


Foredale Cottages, Helwith Bridge

Foredale Cottages   


Upon reaching the crest of the hill, the lane turns sharp right up towards Foredale cottages but continue straight on the marked path through the farm gate, down the hill with a clear view of the working Dry Rigg Quarry ahead.                                          
During weekdays, it is possible to see the huge yellow trucks carrying quarried rocks down to the awaiting trucks to continue their journey around the UK.    

Footpath towards Dry Rigg Quarry

The Quarry produces a rock called gritstone which is dug and crushed on site and shipped out by lorry or train. It is a very hard-wearing rock which is anti-skid so is used for motorways and aircraft runways.

Continue following the path around the outskirts of the quarry.  It may look dog friendly, however as you will see as you walk the path around, many rabbit burrows behind the fences.  Minny Bear would actually love to investigate further, however you also have the dangerous quarry just at the other side of the fence so if your dog is liable to want to adventure, then they are best kept on leads.


On the left and all around the bend is Swarth Moor.  A lowland raised peatbog and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  With the land now protected for the important wildlife habitats that are home to many rare and scarce plants and animals such as bog rosemary, small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies and great crested newts.  On the dryer land, deer are often to be found. It also offers a great view of Pen-Y-Ghent.
Swarth Moor with Pen-Y-Ghent in the distance

 Swarth Moor with Pen-Y-Ghent in the distance


After following the footpath around the quarry perimeter, the entrance to the quarry is on your right, and as you reach the bend in the road, cross the road and in front of you is the path leading up to the viewing platform.  It may be a little slippy if there has been rain, but will be worth the view.  I'll not share any photos, as I'll let you explore.  

On retracing the path down to the road again, you will have two options to return to the car park.  We usually take the slightly longer option 2 as there is less on road walking, and the lane is much quieter without quarry traffic.


When you reach the crossroads, simply turn left and follow the lane back to where we started.  There is no footpath until you reach the houses in Helwith Bridge on the left.  The car park will be on your right hand side.


This route is slightly longer but avoids a lot more of the busier lane and quarry traffic.  

Cross directly over the road at the crossroads and take the quieter lane up the hill.  It's only a short detour of about 500m.  Upon hitting virtually the brow of the hill and as the lane takes a turn to the right, and a dry stone wall in front of you you will see a well trodden track to your right.  This track will lead you back down to the main lane closer to Helwith Bridge, with less lane walking without a footpath.  The are also really good views of the valley of Ribblesdale and Pen-Y-Ghent as you head down the hill.

Turn right onto the lane and the car park will be on your right. 


As with all our walks in the Yorkshire Dales, please remember The Countryside Code and always keep dogs under control and in sight.  As responsible owners we always recommend keeping your dogs on a lead on our walks.


  • Posted by Chris Ellison on

    Unfortunately Dry Rig and Arcow quarries are a disaster for all the local area and the wider environment. A multi billion American company blasting out 4.5 million tons at each of them, of a UK National Park and leaving a changed landscape forever. I could not support any walk that nods to legitimise what they are doing. You do some great things. This sadly is not one of them

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