TROW GILL, GAPING GILL AND INGLEBOROUGH ESTATE NATURE TRAIL
A STUNNING WALK WITH AMAZING GEOLOGICAL FEATURES ALONG THE WAY. A THERE AND BACK ROUTE, WHICH ENABLES YOU TO STOP AND RETURN AT ANY POINT.
📍 5.45 Miles (approximately)
📍 407m Elevation
📍 Identifiable and clear paths, with some scrambling and unevenness along the route
INGLEBOROUGH ESTATE NATURE TRAIL
We start our walk from the entrance to the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail, and through the Old Saw Mill Cafe to pay an entrance fee of just £2.50 each (prices as of May 2023).
The Ingleborough Estate Nature trail is just 1.3 miles up a clearly marked track with information points throughout. It's an important habitat for many broad leaf trees, which make up less that 2% of the entire National Park, so on a warm day offers some shady relief under leafy canopies.
They do ask that dogs are kept on leads, and we did just that as we headed up a gentle incline.
After exciting the wooded area, the end of the Nature Trail, you come out into the open with a beautiful running beck on the right hand side. Just a few hundred yards up the path is Ingleborough Cave, first discovered by the Victorians, you can (for an additional cost) journey 500m beneath Ingleborough. We didn't stop this time round due to a little bad weather but will definitely be back to explore. It's even dog friendly below ground!
Following the path beyond the bridge and over the pack horse bridge through the valley, with Thwaite Scars on your right, the valley curves to the right and ahead of you will see the spectacular limestone gorge, Trow Gill.
Trow Gill was formed thousands of years ago as the ice water melting found a route from the plateau above. It's impressive to look at from the very entrance, with steep cliffs on each side towering above you and the narrow exit that was once a waterfall in front.
The exit from Trow Gill does require a little scrambling, but perfectly doable, there and back with a little care. In bad weather, allow extra care, as Limestone can get very slippery in wet conditions.
At the top of Trow gill, take a breath after your scramble, and don't forget to look behind, as it gives an impressive view of Trow Gill from above. The footpath becomes a little uneven from here.
Keeping the dry stone wall on your left, follow the well trodden path until you reach a double stone stile. Climbing over the stile, you will glimpse your first view of the majestic and unmistakable Ingleborough, the 2nd highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, with a height of 723m.
Following the footpath as it bends to the right and meanders towards Little Ingleborough, you will see a small rickety fence in front and to the right of you. Following the fence around leads you to some steps and the pretty Fell Beck along with the awesome Gaping Gill. WARNING: PLEASE KEEP DOGS ON LEADS.
Gaping Gill is one of the largest caves in Britain, reached by a 100m pot hole, and a waterfall said to be higher even than Niagra Falls! Inside the cavern (only to be accessed by professionals) is one of the largest caves in Britain, able to stand a St Pauls Cathedral inside.
If you are interested in venturing down to see the huge cave, the Craven Pot Hole Club opens a winch to the public twice a year.
It's most definitely worth a sandwich stop at the end of your walk before retuning the way you came. Keep your dog on a lead however, due to the dangerous entrance to Gaping Gill. The views themselves are pretty impressive, with Little Ingleborough, Ingleborough and Simons Fell all in view.
If you don't manage to visit, here is a very quick peak...bear in mind I'm about 1m away from a 100m drop at this point, so forgive my shakiness!
Once you have bathed in the glory of the scenery this walk has to offer, it's at this point you retrace your footsteps back to Clapham, taking care descending Trow Gill, especially in wet conditions. If, by chance, you have the energy to carry on, then you are already about half way up Ingleborough!
There are a couple of alternative return routes you can choose from, and the informative Walking routes leaflet at the entrance to The Nature Trail, details one, and if you were wanting an alternative to the Nature trail then there is a footpath to Clapham just before re-entering the Estate Nature Trail. Check out OS Maps for details.
This is the first of a series of Yorkshire Dales Walks we are aiming to do, if there is anywhere you particularly would like details of, let us know in the comments below.