The Gill and the Seat
– 10 miles
Simon’s Seat, Troller’s Gill, and Appletreewick (10 miles – one climb and a scramble down)
This isn’t a hard walk physically but can be challenging for those less fit or able. However, it is one of our favourites as it has a bit of everything.
From the barn hop over the stile next to the courtyard down to the road. Follow the road down to the river and cross the bridge turning left. From there, follow the river path upstream for about one and a half miles. Easy, relatively flat walking and you should be able to make out the height the river reached in the floods in early 2020, from the flotsam left on the accompanying fence and trees….
When you reach the farm, the path veers away from the river until you hit the road. Cross over and take the stone path immediately opposite until you reach another road. On your left further along the road is the “Love Brownies” Brownie Barn for those who like their chocolate and feel they have earned their “brownie points” … we will see ourselves out.
“The views here are excellent…”
However, our mission is to cross the road again and follow the forestry track. Before long this starts to incline steeply and even the excited kids will begin to slow…once above the treeline follow the path marked for Simons Seat, a mix of sand, rocks and slabs. You will see the trig point on the rocks (elevation 485m). The views here are excellent, being able to see North right along the Wharfedale Valley. To the West there is Barden Moor, a walk for another day.
Now the excitement begins. Before the trig point is reached, there is a path off to the left which takes you down the steep side. Initially it has been stepped, but eventually it becomes a mix of rocks, mud and grass. At points you will need to use hands to help descend so care needs to be taken. Eventually you come down to a road. Turn left for about 100 yards and then follow a path across the fields following the yellow markers, before coming out in someone’s garden! Follow the road left until a right turn at the stream takes you to Parceval Hall, which has a superb flower garden and cafe! You’ve earned a brew and a cake at this point.
Before reaching the Hall you may have seen a footpath next to the stream on your left. You now follow this upstream, until it opens into the most stunning valley, with overhangs, caves and scree slopes. Keep ahead until you scramble up and over the stream and take the last gill on your left. This is Troller’s Gill. The name is old Norse and translates as ’The Troll’s Arse Ravine.’ How delightful! In addition to its association with trolls the ravine is also the legendary home of a barguest, a black spectral hound with large eyes that can turn people to stone. One website also claims Troller’s Gill is home to boggarts, imps and pixies….
During dry weather the stream goes underground but when very wet, the path may become tricky to follow. Most of the way becomes a rocky affair with the sides narrowing in vertically, a great place for rock face climbing. Eventually the way becomes easier and opens up where you eventually come to a wooden footbridge over the stream. Take this path and follow it West over the moor until you hit the “New Road”.
Turn left and walk along the road until you come across the bridleway to Appletreewick on your right. Follow this over farmland until you reach the village where you have a choice of pubs to chill out in. You have just over 2 miles to go. Follow the road uphill until you turn right heading for Barden. You reach the point where you crossed the road previously. You can either walk back along the river, or just follow the road, but be careful if you choose the road, it is narrow and there are no footpaths.
So, you’ve had a good day out, with some river walking, bagged a peak, a steep descent, fought off some Trolls, had a pint and some road walking. Not bad!