Hawes to Hardraw Circular
about 5 miles (8.05km)
An easy ramble taking in a spectacular tourist attraction and pleasant country walking. (An all weather walk)
From Hawes leave the car park by crossing the disused railway line. Pass through the gate to join the road. Turn right, taking a footpath on your left signposted “Pennine Way” and cross the field along a paved path.
Rejoin the road and follow it over the River Ure. Ignoring the path signposted to Hardraw, climb the hill to a Pennine Way sign on the left above the tree.
Take the path over stiles and through pastures, with a fine view of Wensleydale, entering Hardraw opposite the Green Dragon Inn.
The name Hardraw comes from the Old English and means “the Shepherd’s dwelling”. The church was rebuilt in 1680 by the Earl of Wharncliffe.
Pass through the inn itself (fee payable), taking the main path into the wooded gorge. The impressive drop of Hardraw Force comes into view.
With an impressive drop of 96 feet, Hardraw Force is the highest above-ground, single drop waterfall in England. The acoustics of the natural amphitheatre are so good that an annual band contest, begun in the 1880’s, has now been revived and takes place every September; surely one of the finest settings in Great Britain.
Retrace your steps back through the public house then turn left and take the steps on the left of the inn. Cross a stile and follow the uphill path. Climb the field to a stile and join a farm track which takes you to a road. Turn left and, where the road bends right, go straight ahead to join a walled path leading to a footbridge.
To explore the wooded stream above Hardraw Force, cross and follow the path upstream, recrossing at another footbridge. Once over, return to the first bridge and then the road. Follow the road to the hamlet of Simonstone.
Simonstone Hall Hotel is a splendid building, with glorious views over Wensleydale. It was built in 1733 and was originally the country home of the Earl of Wharncliffe, but has been a high class hotel for a number of years.
Proceed past the hotel to pass through a stile on the left just past a farm entrance. The path follows a straight line through several fields and over stiles towards Sedbusk. Two fields short of Sedbusk the path descends right, to a stile leading on to the road.
Cross the road to enter the next field through a stile and descend through further stiles to another lane. Again, cross into the next field and bear right, crossing a stile and an old footbridge. Follow the path to join the main road, turning left to cross the bridge.
Continue ahead, and re-trace your footsteps to the starting point in the old station yard. The arrival of the railway in 1877 brought the first tourists to this station; however in 1965 the track was removed. The Dales Countryside Museum and the National Park Centre which are both worth a visit.