Mossdale and Cotterdale

Starting from the sleepy village of Appersett, this walk visits two secluded valleys at the head of Wensleydale. The walking is easy and the views of the surrounding fells are impressive.

Mossdale is Wensleydale's smallest side valley, stretching from Appersett to the Mossdale viaduct. Appersett, lying in a sheltered position below the slopes of Widdale Fell, is a peaceful village with most of its cottages facing away from the main road. The green, enclosed between the road and Widdale Beck, is often crowded with ducks, geese, goats and children.

The road from the village is followed over Widdale Beck to New Bridge, where a stile descends to the bank of the river Ure. The path leads through pastures, woodland and meadows to the farm road near Birk Rigg Farm.

From here a detour to visit the most attractive waterfall of Cotter Force is highly recommended. A short and easy stroll along the tree-lined Cotterdale Beck leads to the secluded waterfall, which cascades over a series of limestone ledges on its way to join the river Ure further downstream.

After returning from the falls, the route leads back to the river, and then continues to Mossdale Head. The four-arched viaduct, crossing the ravine of Mossdale Beck, once carried a branch line of the Wensleydale Railway from Hawes to the Settle and Carlisle line link at Garsdale Head.

The area around here is much more peaceful now with only the cascading waterfalls of Mossdale Beck framed by the backdrop of the viaduct arches. The beck rises on Widdale Fell, whose summit stands at 2,203 feet and is called Great Knoutberry Hill.

At Thwaite Bridge a steep path leads up through a wood and over the ridge of Cotter End into Cotterdale. During the crossing of this ridge some of the finest views of the walk are to be seen. Lunds Fell to the west and Great Shunner Fell to the east rise up from this peaceful and secluded side valley.

Cotterdale, 'The valley with the huts,' is also the name taken by the lovely hamlet at the head of the valley. Being situated at the end of a narrow lane.

The route from Cotterdale traverses the lower slopes of Great Shunner Fell, with exceptional views of Cotterdale and Wensleydale. To the south Wether Fell, Dodd Fell and Widdale Fell dominate the landscape. Cotter End lies to the west and winding its way through the valley bottom is Cotterdale Beck.

After crossing Bluebell Hill, a section of the Pennine Way is followed before descending through the fields and returning to Appersett.

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