Middleham - River Cover - East Witton - Cover Bridge - Middleham

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The walk is best started in the shadows of Middleham's magnificent 12th century castle, home to King Richard III. Williams Hill can be seen on your right - it is the original motte and bailey. Keep your eyes open because in 1985 a precious gold and ruby pendant was discovered nearby and it was sold at auction for 1.3 million pounds!!

As you breast the hill you can appreciate the vast beauty of the area and on a clear day the views are stunning. Descending into the river valley look ahead -you may be lucky to see the buzzards leisurely gliding over Witton Moor. The steep grey rocky cliff walls on the far side of the river are more apparent in the winter and great swords of icicles hang over the swirling waters. But in the summer the river is dappled and gentle with a wealth of bird life and flowers to delight the nature lover. As you follow the river path look for bobbing dippers on the rocks.

Over the next stile you enter a beautiful bluebell wood. A few orchids in early summer stand sentry by the path. The dead elms are a haven for woodpeckers and tree creepers. The next aspect of the walk reminds me of the Everglades - damp dappled soggy undergrowth with old fallen trunks like sleeping crocodiles. The strong garlic smell of stinking helibore whets the appetite - a few miles yet before lunch in The Cover Bridge Inn!

Go down the steps and across the meadow - Kingfishers flash along this stretch of river. Over the next stile primroses, violets and wood anemones create the prettiest rockery you ever did see. Stride over the huge, ancient stepping stones and leave the river behind for a while.

Set course across ancient meadows with yellow, glossy marsh marigolds on the damp edges of the beck. The conifer copse, which you pass alongside on your left, is a sanctuary for breeding pheasants. Note the stone under your feet as you squeeze through the style on to the narrow tarmac road -generations of boots have worn a deep groove.

Tiny picturesque East Witton clustered around its shady green is worth catching on camera. Continue through the fields to the river bridge and The Cover Bridge Inn that sells the best ale in the area! Don't miss the style leading to the river walk back to Middleham!! Oystercatchers breed on the white stones in the river here and curlew can often be seen in winter and spring in the fields to your right.

A wooden horse in the spinney merits a pat or a ride-we have given him 2 tails to date and promise new reins each time we pass!! The short pull up the hill rewards you with that stunning view of the castle again with its beautiful green backdrop. A short walk back now - hopefully time to wander around Middleham's historical charms and sample one of the many teashops.

England - North England - Yorkshire - Yorkshire Dales - Wensleydale


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Castle, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Moor, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
9/8/2022 - Elaine Hoyes

Really beautiful walk with stunning views. It's easy to follow and due to the dry weather, the stepping stones were easy to cross. The stile after the Cover Bridge Inn was tricky with a large, older, wet Labrador. We stopped at the pub in the lovely beer garden for a cuppa. We cut off #6 & #7. Great walk

4/18/2021 - Pat Stewart

Stepping stones are more like leaping stones now! Huge gaps between with fast flowing deep water today (not in flood just normal flow) so I would not call this an easy walk.

9/16/2020 - John RICHARDSON

We stopped here as a half way interlude on our journey to Southerness. A delightful and well described walk followed by a lovely lunch in Richard 3rd. Highly recommended.

7/16/2019 - Fiona Dick

We did this walk from East Witton in July 2019. Absolutely delightful mixture of field, wood, river, historic castle (well worth exploring), two nice little villages, several cafes and pubs. Lots of stiles to climb!

5/9/2015 - gary rumble

Did this walk in May 2015. The stepping stones were completely submerged and no other way to cross the river. Could not complete the walk and had to find solace in a local watering hole!

3/3/2009 - Richard Neville

Unfortunately there has been serious erosion here and the footpath is temporally closed until August 2009. There is no safe or legal right of passage, and there is also an electric fence along side the erosion. This could well be a long closure as the Environment Agency has to be involved as well as some fairly substantial engineering works. We are working closely with the local RoW department and will keep you updated. In the meantime if the river is not in flood use the path on the south side of the river and cross back at the stepping stones. RN

3/1/2009 - Jim Shanks

Walked on 28 Feb 09. Path from WP8 (Coverbridge Inn) closed by council as it has fallen in river. No forecast available for reopening.

10/29/2007 - Paul Paintin

Combined this with 2676 to make a great days walking in the Dales, our first after a week in Skye. Thoroughly recommended.

5/31/2006 - Clive Dutson

Did this in constant drizzle (no wind though) and it was still a fantastic walk. as well as real ales, Cover Bridge Inn also good for well priced everyday food.

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