Highwayman Hikes: Leck Beck to Ease Gill Kirk

One of the best things about creating these walking guides for you all is discovering what amazing walks we have on our doorstep. Being located where we are, it is so easy (when we are not in lockdown) to jump in the car and go exploring in The Lakes or The Dales. Having this opportunity to really discover where we live is wonderful. So this week’s walk gave me an opportunity to walk up to Ease Gill Kirk, a new walk for myself and one I will be returning to do again. There is a lot to explore around here which we will be covering on other walks. . I do a lot of circular walks with my guides and this one you will return mainly on the path that you walked up but what’s lovely about that is you get a completely different view once you turn around.

I hope you enjoy and remember even though it is tempting to go exploring about this amazing area please stick to the paths, a lot of it is surrounded by privately owned lands and we must respect the Farmers, Owners and the Gamekeepers who look after it and it’s wildlife. A good pair of boots is needed as it can get muddy! There are a lot of stiles so may not be suitable for dogs but you will know their ability.

Distance: 6.4 miles

Starting point: Started at Cowan Bridge Team Rooms Car Park but you can start from the pub to create a 10 mile walk

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 3 hours

  1. Leaving the car park turn right back on to the A65, then turn right passing in front of the tea rooms ( a great spot to pick up some refreshments and homemade sandwiches). Keep walking until you meet the footpath sign on your right. Go over the stone stile. Keep following this path for just over ¼ of a mile until it turns you on to a path heading towards the houses on Low Lane.  Follow the path and through the hole in the wall where you will join the road.

2. When you reach the road turn left and make your way past the houses. I like this part as some of the houses and cottages are absolutely beautiful. Keep going until you reach the end of the road and you will see a ladder stile on your left, pop over here.

3. Once over the style turn right and follow the path . Keep to the path trekking through fields, eventually the path will split at a tree. Don’t head up hill, follow the path the left towards the gate and Spring Wood.

4. Follow the path through the wood , eventually meeting another wooden gate, continue on following the path through the field until you eventually meet another ladder stile. Pop over the stile and follow the path along the beck. Eventually the path will begin to climb up hill and after a short distance you will meet the wooden pole with a footpath arrow.

5. At the footpath arrow follow it’s direction and turn right and after a short distance you will reach another stile to climb over. Keep to the directions the arrow is pointing and follow the path up hill alongside the stream to another stile . The stile as two arrows on it, we will be turning left ( we will return to this point and take the path on the right to return back to Cowan Bridge)

6. The path will split as you can see from photo number one but keep to the right hand side of the tree. Keep following the path across the moors and you will meet a hole in the wall to pass through.

7. The path will lead you down hill and then up again crossing over quite a boggy patch so be careful here. You will meet a wood gate on the other side of the field DON’T go through here, instead follow the fence line keeping it on your left.

8. Keep following the path and you will reach another ladder stile with a footpath arrow to help and then another hole in the wall. We are nearly there now, this part seemed to take ages but then on the way back went really quickly!

9. Keep on going along the path and you will reach another wooden gate to go through (last one on the way there I promise!) Keep on the path and you will reach a gate on your right, do not go through the gate instead follow the path as it eventually begins to lead you downhill, passing trees and rocks and (finally it becomes worth it ! ) you reach Ease Gill Kirk. Be REALLY careful as the rocks can be slippy.

Ease Gill Kirk

Ease Gill Kirk is one of the most atmospheric places in the Yorkshire Dales. It is a steep sided limestone gorge found towards the lower end of Ease Gill before it joins with Leck Beck. For the most part the gorge is dry, only after a prolonged period of heavy rain does the waters of Ease Gill make it as far as Ease Gill Kirk.


The walls of the ravine are absolutely peppered with caves!


The Caves under and around Ease Gill on the Cumbria/Lancashire of border of the UK form part of the longest and most complex system in Britain, the Three Counties System .The system extends beneath Casterton, Leck and Ireby Fells around the western and southern flanks of Gregareth Hill, with around 89Km of passages. The caves are formed in the Carboniferous (Dinantian) Great Scar Limestone. They contain a wide range of passage types, sediments and speleothems


Hopefully you have enjoyed a good explore and a rest here as we will start it head back. There is so much to discover around these parts and I will cover it in another walk with even more facts I promise!


10. Now time to head back. We will follow our path back up to the wooden gate (again don’t go through)and then along the fence line continuing along the path, through the gates, over the stiles and holes in the wall until we eventually meet the stile we crossed over with the two arrows. We will not be going over the stile if you remember I mentioned we would be following the path in the other direction here so head up hill.

11. Follow the path up the hill. ( I find the walk back an absolute pleasure as on a clear day the view is spectacular) . The path will lead you to a drystone wall (in the second photo you are pretty much heading towards those trees in the background) on your right, here you will see a wooden fence. Don’t go through as the sign has been broken but I believe to be private land. Instead keep on the path , keep the wall close on your right and you will meet ANOTHER ladder stile. With the wall to your right go through this field to another stile….. and then the same again …. to another stile.

12. Head straight through this next field and you will reach a metal gate. Go through here and head through the next field downhill until you reach a ladder stile on your right. Pop over here and head towards the well defined path. This is where you walked earlier. Turn left along the path heading back towards Leck. Eventually meeting the ladder stile you crossed early on in the walk. This is the last stile I promise.


13. Now head back through the houses back along the route you took earlier. This time you will just stay on this road until you meet the crossroads.

14. At the cross roads turn right and head down the road, you will go under a bridge where you will meet Cowan Bridge and the car park.

15. Now you can pop to The Highwayman and pick up your well-earned click & collect!


By Aimee Sharples

Click & Collect

Click & Collect orders are available from The Highwayman every weekend:

Friday 5-8pm
Saturday 4-8pm
Sunday 12-7pm

Order online here or call 015242 73338