Simon’s Seat is a heap of gritstone rocks on the edge of Barden Fell, which spreads along the north side of Wharfedale between Bolton Abbey and Appletreewick.
They form a landmark that’s visible from a wide area of the southern Yorkshire Dales National Park, and are usually visited by walkers starting from the car parks at Bolton Abbey. That involves a nine mile walk, whereas this route from picturesque Barden bridge is two-thirds as long. Early in the walk the route passes the ornate Barden Aqueduct, built in 1899 to carry water from reservoirs in Upper Nidderdale to the city of Bradford. Look out for dippers, kingfishers, goosanders and mandarin ducks on the river, common buzzards, little owls and red kites on higher ground.
1. From the car parking area walk past Barden Bridge, on the right, and go through a gate into the field. Immediately bear right to follow the riverbank to Barden Aqueduct. Turn left here on an uphill path signposted to Coney Warren. Cross a stile and walk with a wall on your right to another wall stile which leads onto a tarmac lane.
2. Go over a ladder stile on the other side and follow the clear path uphill towards Lower Fell Plantation. Swing right to walk with the trees on your left. The path here is rough and overgrown in places. Beyond the plantation the path bears right to Simon’s Seat.
3. After admiring the fine views take the well-used path which zigzags downhill. It eventually joins the start of Howgill Lane near Dalehead Farm. Follow it past Eastwood Head and beyond the campsite turn right downhill to reach Stangs Lane.
4. Turn left for a short distance then fork right on a track which passes a farm to reach the River Wharfe. Follow the path, part of the Dales Way, along field edges to emerge on a road. Walk downhill with a wall on your left to return to the car park.
Difficulty rating: 3 star.
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 2 1/2 hours
Maps: OS Explorer OL2 (1:25000) Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas or OS Landranger (1:50000) Sheet 98 Wensleydale and Upper Wharfedale Sheet.
Parking: Barden Bridge (limited at weekends)
Public Transport: 74 bus from from Ilkley drops off at Barden Tower on B6160. Ilkley is on the Wharfedale Line from Leeds & Bradford. For all times check www.wymetro.com, 0113 245 7676 or www.dalesbus.org
Refreshments: Mobile kiosk at Barden Bridge
Toilets: Nearest at Burnsall and Bolton Abbey.