Conistone Dib is a limestone gorge which at one point narrows to allow walkers to pass through it one at a time.
Thousands of years ago it would have carried a raging torrent of water, but today it is bone dry. There are also a couple of limestone steps similar to those that form the cataracts at Aysgarth Falls. Worth a visit in Conistone village is St. Mary’s Church, where there’s a memorial to the six potholes who died in Britain’s worst caving tragedy at Mossdale Caverns above Conistone in 1967. The walk is mostly easy going, with some classic limestone scenery on display. Great care is required after rain when the rocks in Conistone Dib are very slippery. Birds to look out for include meadow pipit, green woodpecker (near Bastow Wood), plus flocks of redwing and fieldfare in October and November.
1. From the centre of Conistone walk south, passing the hostel. On the left look for a signposted footpath to Grassington next to a cottage and walk up the track. The path is clear on the ground and passes through several gates before bending left beneath a limestone scar to a large wall stile.
2. Cross the stiles and follow the path into and out of a small dip. Continue ahead to a junction of paths and turn left into the open pastures on the other side of the wall. Look on the ground for the path which bends left to join the Dales Way trail coming up from Grassington.
3. Cross the stile into a field and continue northwards on the path, passing through a gate and crossing two stiles. At a third stile the Dales way continues ahead but our path forks left.
4. Follow the path as it gently descends into a dry valley and then enters the limestone gorge of Conistone Dib. Be very careful if the rocks are slippery. Leaving the gorge behind, carefully climb down two large limestone steps and continue ahead through the gate back into Conistone.
Walk: Conistone Dib
Difficulty rating: 1 star.
Distance: 3 1/2 miles
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Maps: OS Explorer OL2 (1:25000) Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas or OS Landranger (1:50000) 98 Wensleydale and Upper Wharfedale
Parking: Conistone village; also roadside spaces on Kilnsey side of River Wharfe.
Public Transport: 72 bus service from Skipton to Buckden stops at Kilnsey, just off route. Skipton is on the Airedale railway line from Leeds and Bradford. For all times check www.wymetro.com, phone 0113 245 7676 or visit www.dalesbus.org
Toilets and Refreshments: Kilnsey (off route).