Map based on Ordnance Survey mapping by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. © Crown Copyright.
Distance: 31/2 miles /5.5km
Height gain: 195ft/60m
Walking time: 2-21/2 hours
Type of walk: Easy paths and tracks
Start/Finish: Linton Falls car park
This short, charming and easy walk visits the unique Linton Church, the village of Linton itself, and the neighbouring community of Threshfield before concluding at Linton Falls, the largest waterfall on the River Wharfe. Along the way you will encounter some splendid examples of early cultivation terraces, thought to date from the 13th century. Leave the car park and enter the church grounds. Whether you intend to visit the church now or at the end of the walk, you should allow ample time to look around it.
St Michael and All Angels’ Church must be one of the most individual of Dales’ churches. Like Bolton Priory, it occupies a bend in the river, though Linton Church is much nearer the water, its churchyard valiantly clinging to the riverbank. It dates from the 12th century, possibly during the period of church building that characterised Henry II’s reign (1154-1189), and is very squat without a tower. The church was extensively altered in the 14th century, but it still retains parts of the earlier church.
Exit the churchyard at the far corner by a path leading to the stepping stones across the Wharfe by means of which parishioners used to make their way to church. Turn right, along the riverbank to cross a stile, and climb behind a small woodland, then cross two fields to reach the B6160. Cross the road and follow a signposted way up the ensuing field to a wooden gate. On the way you get a good view of some ancient cultivation terraces ‹ lynchets ‹ in the adjoining fields. These were constructed to improve the condition of the land. When you reach Thorpe Lane, a quiet country lane, turn right for about 100yds/m to a step stile on the right. Over this you follow a signposted route down through the lynchets to a ladder stile, beyond which a track runs down to Linton village.
Linton Beck flows through the village green, which can be crossed by one of three different bridges ‹ a clapper bridge, a packhorse bridge and a modern road bridge. Leave the village along the left bank of Linton Beck, heading for Threshfield. The footpath leads down to an old lane that rounds Linton House and crosses fields to reach a humped bridge over a disused railway line ‹ part of the Yorkshire Dales Railway from Skipton to Grassington, which was completed in 1902. Keep ahead from the bridge, alongside a wall. Then, at the next field, head diagonally across to reach Threshfield, there turning right over Threshfield Bridge.
The village of Threshfield used to have a reputation for making ‘besoms’, i.e. brooms made from twigs of heather.
Go along the road opposite the Old Hall Inn to reach the B6160 again. Turn right for a short distance, and take the second path on the left, signposted to Threshfield School. The path follows the line of a lynchet to another footbridge, also spanning the disused railway. Turn left for 200yds/m and then take the riverside path on the right to Linton Falls. Cross an in-flowing mill stream by Little Emily’s Bridge, when a left turn brings you to the Wharfe and soon its splendid falls.
Little Emily’s Bridge is a small packhorse bridge on the original church path from Threshfield. It dates from the 14th century, and is thought to have been named after a member of the Norton family, who took refuge nearby at the time of the Civil War. There is another suggestion that it is purely the invention of novelist Halliwell Sutcliffe whose works during the early years of the 20th century drew from the rich seam of life that inhabited this region, and introduced many people to places they had never known or knew existed.
Go onto the bridge across the Wharfe for an excellent view of Linton Falls, and then go back and continue the short distance down the road to the car park. Linton Falls are a fine spectacle and occur along the Craven Fault line. The present bridge is the fourth to occupy this position. The first, known as the Tin Bridge, was built in 1814 by the Birkbecks for workers at Linton Mill. It was covered with sheets of metal from old oil drums, and this is what gave it its name. A second bridge replaced the original in 1860, and a third in 1904. This became dangerous and was closed in 1988, being replaced by the present bridge a year later.
The information given in this walk has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a general guide. Whilst all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that details were correct at the time of publication, the author and Country Publications Ltd cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies. It is the responsibility of individuals undertaking outdoor activities to approach the activity with caution and, especially if inexperienced, to do so under appropriate supervision. The activity described in this walk is strenuous and individuals should ensure that they are suitably fit before embarking upon it. They should carry the appropriate equipment and maps, be properly clothed and have adequate footwear. They should also take note of weather conditions and forecasts, and leave notice of their intended route and estimated time of return.