Thoralby to Gayle Ing round

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North Yorkshire is England’s largest county and one of the most rural comprising of the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Vale of York and the coastal regions and they all have their own distinctive natural beauty. The county covers an area of 3,341 square miles and 40% of this area is covered by National Parks and with stunning moorland, beautiful dramatic to rolling hills, ancient woodland, a spectacular coastline, splendid waterfalls, many attractive villages and hamlets and many historic sites such as abbeys, castles, priories, stately homes and traditional pubs there is something for everyone of all ages to explore.

The Yorkshire Dales is an upland area of Northern England spanning westwards from the Vale of York, over the Pennines and into Cumbria. Known mainly as The Dales it has outstanding scenery, a diversity of wildlife habitats, a rich cultural heritage and peacefulness. The Yorkshire Dales National Park, created in 1954 and one of fifteen National Parks in Britain, has over twenty main dales each with their own unique character and atmosphere.  Most of the dales are named after their river or stream except Wensleydale which is named after the small village and former market town of Wensley rather than the River Ure. The Northern Dales are rugged and the Southern Dales are less remote but the dales, so beautiful, are littered and scared with ancient settlement sites, disused mineral workings, dry-stone walls and barns. The U and V shaped valleys, formed by glaciers, are mainly grazed by sheep and cattle and provides the hills for walkers and climbers and the valley bottoms for strollers and amblers.

Wensleydale lies within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the River Ure runs through the valley for 74 miles from its source at Ure Head on Abbotside Common in the Pennines into the River Ouse at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire where the river changes its name to the River Ouse. The River Ure is a typical clean river of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and is rich in wildlife, insect life and many species of birds. Fishermen love this river for its brown trout, grayling and it also has the nationally rare native white-clawed crayfish. Wensleydale is perfect walking country with many way marked footpaths and open landscapes giving spectacular scenery all year round. Wensleydale is also renowned for hill farming, rearing many types of Sheep and cattle and the meadow grass for hay and silage is vital to the system. Its industrial past was water powered mills at Gayle, Hawes, Bainbridge, Askrigg, Thoralby, West Burton and Aysgarth which were variously used to grind corn, produce textiles (wool, cotton, linen, silk and flax), generate electricity or saw wood.

Thoralby is a village in beautiful Bishopdale in the Richmond District of North Yorkshire. The village is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park just south of Aysgarth and close to Newbiggin and West Burton. The George Inn set in the heart of the village was built in 1732 and offers B&B accommodation. The pub with its original features is full of character, serving food every evening and Saturday and Sunday lunch time.

Gayle Ing is a very remote old abandoned farmhouse. The lady farmer, who owned the farm, died in her 80’s and the farm and garden has since been left to rack and ruin over the years.

Bishopdale is a very beautiful side dale on the south side of Wenesleydale. The dale extends for six miles south west from Aysgarth to Kidstones Path. There are three villages in the dale Thoralby, Newbiggin and West Burton. Bishopdale Beck flows through the dale to join the River Ure about a mile east of Aysgarth.

The Walk

Starting at the village green we walk to the right of the telephone box and continue on the lane past the George Inn then at Old Hall Farm we turn right on to the Bridle Way and follow the track uphill. At the y-junction we turn left and continue along Haw Lane (Track). We keep following the track slightly uphill through a gate and keep ahead on a grassy track with the wall on our right. After passing through two more gates we head forward on a stony track still slightly uphill for about 200 yards to a pile of stones, we turn right here and follow the grassy track to cross over a stile in the wall. We then bear slightly right steeply downhill to cross over a little footbridge. We then head steeply uphill to cross a stile then turn left to view the old farmhouse of Gayle Ing. We then retrace our steps steeply downhill to cross the little footbridge again and climb steeply up the other side to cross the stile in the wall back to the pile of stones. At the pile of stones we turn left uphill along the track. The track starts to descend and we turn left at the signpost. We head downhill on a track and turn left at the footpath sign just before the wall. We now head forward with the wall on our right but soon bear left away from the wall on a faint path in the direction of a large white building in the village down below in the valley. We soon pass through a gate in a wall and head straight forward slightly downhill on a wide grassy path. We come to a wall and a gate we do not go through but keep the wall on our right downhill. At the end of the wall we turn right through the gate to pick up the track and cross over a stream. We continue to follow the track, called Side Road, downhill crossing over a cattle grid and through the fields to cross a second cattle grid next to a stone barn. We keep following the track which becomes a tarmac road at Old Hall Farm in Thoralby.


This is an easy to moderate walk on grass/gravel tracks and paths also some short distances of minor tarmac road. There are some gates and stiles.

Elevation: approx lowest point 165.50m (542.98ft) approx highest point 427m (1400.92ft) approx ascent 366.60m (1202.76ft)

Distance and Start Point

Approx 5.7 miles allow 2½ to 3 hours using OS Explorer Map OL 30, Yorkshire Dales, Northern and Central areas, Wensleydale and Swaledale.  This walk is done anti-clockwise.

Start point: the village green.


Thoralby is south of Aysgarth in the valley of Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales.

Directions and Parking

From the A1(M) take junction 51. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit. At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit. Continue on the A684 to Layburn. At the roundabout take the 1st exit continuing on the A684 through Wensley and West Witton. Just before Aysgarth village, on a sharp right hand bend, take the small road on the left to Thoralby.

Parking: free roadside parking and the car park at the back of the church hall, donations welcome.

Toilets and Refreshments

There are no public toilets the nearest ones are at Bainbridge or Layburn. For refreshments there is a pub the George Inn and a shop/post office. There is a pub and a few shops in nearby Aysgarth, West Burton and Bainbridge. For more choice there is plenty to choose from in Layburn and Hawes.

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