Date - 6th February 2008 Distance - 6 miles
Map - OL2 Start point - Dent car park (SD 702872)


The Walk

For the first time in what seemed to be weeks the day dawned with blue skies and sun, so it was great that Dad had arranged to walk with Uncle Eric. Our start point was the village of Dent, which we reached via the Lune Valley to the hamlet of Barbon and then along the narrow road through Barbondale with the steep slopes of Middleton Fell on our left.

Dad was soon ready and we leaped into his rucksack and settled in. The route was along the road immediately opposite the car park. This soon petered out and became a track that climbs up beside the stream. This is known as Flintergill. Initially we could look back to Dent backed by the slopes of Aye Gill Pike bright in the winter sunshine…

A little further on dad spotted a sign that read "Dancing Flags". We were all mystified, and to us conjured up visions of flags flapping in the wind. With the help of the lady at the café and research by us on the Internet we were able to establish exactly what the sign referred to.

The "Dancing Flags", are a large expanse of flat natural rock slabs that were used for centuries by local weavers for "waulking" their newly-woven lengths of cloth, or "webs" as they were called. This was done by first wetting the fabric thoroughly and then treading it with bare feet, causing it to shrink slightly and "felt up" to create a much thicker and therefore much warmer material. At one time this was a universal practice and in many places became known as "dancing the web" - hence the name of the stones.

Further on another sign caught out eye this reading "The Wishing Tree".

As you can see the trunk and roots have formed it in such a way to create an arch. The story here is that you make a wish and then go round through the arch three times in a clockwise direction. Your wish is then supposed to come true. Further on we next saw a lime kiln that had been used in the 17th century to extract from limestone, quicklime that had many domestic and agricultural uses. It was nice to see that it had been restored for people to view. Soon after we came to this pretty waterfall…

This was in fact the site of the quarry where the limestone was dug out for use in the kiln.

It had been quite fascinating seeing all this. Soon we were clear of the trees and on the open fell side and rewarded with a superb view over the valley. To the left the Howgill fells, Aye Gill Pike in front and to the right two tops that we recognised as Great Knoutberry Hill and Wold Fell. These we had climbed a few weeks earlier with Uncle Bob and we remembered then that Great Knoutberry Hill had been covered in cloud. Soon we reached a t-junction and we turned left along the Occupation Road or "Occy" as the locals know it. Originally a drovers road it was rebuilt as an access road in 1859 at the time of the Enclosures. It was once a smooth road but now is deeply rutted in places and very muddy after the wet weather. With glorious views we walked along under the slopes of Great Coum, another hill we had recently climbed, until we reached the signposted junction with Nun House Outrake. This we took to start our descent to the valley.

Here the Howgill Fells back the signpost and below Uncle Eric looks back with Great Knoutberry Hill behind…

A little before reaching High Nun House, we climbed the ladderstile to the right and crossed the fields to reach the road passing the house called Hollybush. Above Whernside towered over us dividing the valley. We were now in Deepdale and at the next farm turned left and followed the track to come beside Deepdale Beck. It was now delightful walking across the fields with the beck to our right rushing by. Just before Mill Bridge it came to its confluence with the River Dee that runs through Dentdale…

We had been here before in July 2005 when amazingly the river was completely dry!

At Mill Bridge we joined part of the long distance path called the Dales Way. It runs from Ilkley in Yorkshire to Bowness in Cumbria See - for more information. We followed this over more fields towards Dent, seen here with Middleton Fell behind…

You may have noticed that our photograph has not featured so far in this walk and we can’t have that we perhaps hear you say, so dad kindly took us sitting by the Adam Sedgwick memorial fountain in the village…

Born in Dent he was a professor at Cambridge and at the time one of the pioneers of modern geology.

It was just a short walk to the car now and we enjoyed our picnic while Uncle Eric and Dad went for a nice meal at the nearby Stone Close tearooms. Well they deserved it after taking us on a most interesting walk.

And finally Dent is also famous for the tale of the "Terrible Knitters". The village was once a powerhouse of hand-knitting the profits often providing an essential addition to their meagre farming income. They employed a technique where by one needle was in a wooden knitting stick protruding from a belt and the other held in the right hand.

The left hand was thus free to do another job, such as churning the butter or wrapping the cheeses.

For more information about Dent and the Heritage Centre visit -


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