Dentdale was looking its best on this glorious late summer day as our group of walkers set off from Dent village up the steep and stony track of Flintergill. This verdant and atmospheric track led us above the beck, past the Dancing Slabs (a flat shelf of rock once used by weavers in their cloth processing), past a misshapen oak tree which invited wishes, and past a barn ‘museum’ of early farm equipment overlooking a vast breadth of impressive agricultural land. At the height of the gill is a toposcope from where a broad sweep of the magnificent surrounding fells is identified, and we joined the Occupation Road (track) where we headed westwards.
Our progressive route reached the Dent-Barbon road which we followed right briefly before taking a left-hand grassy track on Stony Rigg. Looking back, Great Coum formed a long flat presence on the skyline. Bearing right, the track topped a scrubby bank, with many very old hawthorn and rowan trees, and with expansive views up Dentdale, a good place to enjoy a picnic lunch. We began a gentle descent through pasture with many old and heavy trees, to pass an interesting barn with a projected chimney, and reached the impressive Combe House, backed by the dark and rugged Combe Scar. The slate-layered chimneys of the House are very reminiscent of those in the Lakeland. Further on past Tofts we crossed a pretty, tree-lined beck, and eventually approached Bower Bank farmhouse on a progressive descent past Raw Bank and Dillicar to reach the River Dee and the Dales Way.
Now heading eastwards, we followed the River and Way for almost two miles, through interesting and beautiful countryside which returned us to the village of Dent. The many field crossings, gates or beck-bridges, offered small metallic symbols which we took time to identify, all representing historic or natural features of the area. There were still many colourful varieties of wayside flowers to be seen, and flocks of small birds, all of which added to the excellent diversity of interest and pleasure of this walk, organised by Ann Shaw and Kay Greenhalgh, led by Kay with Dave Knight, and shared with good friends.