Nidderdale, Colsterdale and Masham Moor - Sat 19th June 2010
Area: Nidderdale, Yorkshire Dales  -  Distance: 26km / 16miles  -  Total Ascent: 802metres / 2631ft.
Start/ Finish: Scar House Reservoir / GR: SE 06988 76628  -  Grade: Moderately hard, Map reading skills essential.

A lengthy walk starting and finishing from the car park at Scar House Reservoir. The route takes us east partly along the Nidderdale Way before striking off north over rough moorland to reach the summit of South Haw. A little further north we reach Steel House Gill then turn east to follow the gill as it flows into the River Burn and winds it's way down through Colstersdale and on to Gollinglith Foot.

At this point the route turns south climbing past Pickersgill House and Towler Hill before descending past High Southmire and through Grimes Gill Wood before climbing again to join Pott Moor High Road heading S.W. We then pick up the track heading west over Masham Moor to rejoin the Nidderdale Way heading back towards Scar House Reservoir, branching off before reaching the Dam via Low Woodale we then follow a track back up to the south side of the valley and the car park.


Scar House Reservoir was completed in 1936 and took 15years to build.

We cross the dam and immediately take the path rising diagonally to the left, turning right at the signpost we join the Nidderdale Way heading east



Shortly after crossing Woo Gill, seen here in the picture, the Nidderdale Way leaves the track and branches off to the right descending further down the valley.


Woo Gill

We stay on the track for a further 0.5km passing through a gate with a shooting house on the right, eventually we join a bridleway heading east.

Looking back to the reservoir from the shooting house


    Looking back to the reservoir from the shooting house  

Leaving the bridleway after a few hundred metres we take a bearing and head north over rough moorland to reach:-

South Haw 499m / 1637ft


The inscription on this side of the boundary stone refers to the Danby family who were in possession of the land and estates of Mashamshire until the mid 1800's.



After descending the embankment from Little or South Haw we pass through the gate and head for Steel House Gill.

Although the ordinance survey map clearly shows a bridleway running across this moor we never found much trace of it until we reached Steel House Gill.


We join the old miners track at Steel House Gill and head east

The track crosses Beldin Gill, then Long Gill [all tributaries of the River Burn] then it crosses to the south bank and follows what has now become the River Burn through Colsterdale.

Eventually we pick up the Coal Road heading towards Gollinglith Foot.

    Crossing Beldin Gill  

Gollinglith Foot - A small hamlet situated at the end of Colsterdale.

  Turning immediately right before the ford we pass through a stile and pick up a path heading south.

Leading through a small wood


We cross the footbridge over Spruce Gill drainage channel.

We are now near the site of the Breary Banks camp, built in 1904 to house the workforce who were building the nearby reservoirs; Leighton and Roundhill.

The camp was also used by the Leeds Pals - 15th Battalian West Yorks Regiment during 1914-1915 while training, then later used as a prisoner of war camp housing German Officers.


Pickersgill House.

We pass through the gate, around the house then through another gate to join the drive leading up to the road.

We turn right and walk up the road as far as Towler Hill before heading across the fields past High Southmire and down to a wall at the edge of Grimes Gill Wood.


We spot a wooden stile at the other side of the wall so we climb the wall and cross the stile following a path through the wood until we cross a track.

According to the map the path carries straight on, yet it seems to vanish then Gerry spots an arrow on a nearby tree and we are back on course!

We carry on down the hill crossing a footbridge over the gill at the bottom before climbing to reach Pott Moor High Road.



Still heading in a southerly direction we follow the road for about 1km then take the track leading in a westerly direction across Masham Moor.

After about 2.5km we reach Nidderdale once more and spend a few moments taking in the splendid view backup the valley.

Rejoining the Nidderdale Way we follow it as far as Low Woodale, then cross the valley and climb up to the road, it is then just over 1km to drag our aching limbs back to the car!!