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Aye Gill Pike – 360 views of the Southern Fells

Start/Finish: Dent    Distance: 10 Miles      Time: 4 Hours 

Aye Gill Pike is a Marylynn in the Yorkshire Dales Southern Fells. Although it doesn’t conform to the usual image of a rugged pike that would spring to mind, neither does it quite sit in the category of the Dales mountains with a height of 556 metres (1,824 ft).  It is still worth the hike as from the top you are surrounded by 360-degree views of higher fells such as Great Coum and Whernside and the Howgills.

The Route:

The walk starts from the pretty village of Dent. Parking can be found in the centre of the village next to the Tourist Information Centre. At the time I did this walk the price of the car park was £4.50 for stays over 3 hours, worth bringing some change as the ticket machine is cash only.

Once parked, walk out of the car park and turn right through the village in the direction of Sedburgh. You shall walk past a couple of cafes and Mill Beck Farm Camp Site which is on both sides of the road.

Just after the campsite, when the road begins to bend you will see a footpath leading back towards the village on the right. Walk past this a few metres around the bend and you will see an iron gate that leads you onto a distinctive river side path which is part of the long distance walk The Dales Way.

The path continues through four fields alongside the River Dee divided by stiles and gates. At the end of the last field you shall reach a gate and some steps that take you up onto the bridge.

Once on the bridge turn right and follow the road around the bend. Ignore the first footpath signposted High Barth, instead follow the road a little further and you shall see a road on your right with a Dales High Way / public bridleway sign.

Follow this road up the hill, after a short time you shall reach another bend, take the footpath which is about 100 metres around the bend labelled Hining Hill ¼ mile. This footpath will take you past a house on your left-hand side. Walk through the iron gate immediately in front of you, then there is also a second gate to go through which will lead you into a field.

In this field it is may be hard to see the footpath depending on what time of year you are completing the walk. So, if it isn’t obvious, ignore the metal farm gate directly ahead, instead turn right – straight up the steep bank. Remember to look back at this point as the view makes the steep climb worth it!

At the top of the bank you shall see a wooden stile through the stone wall which takes you onto the narrow track. Immediately opposite the stile you just came through is another stile into the next field. Walk across this corner of field towards the next (third) gate. Once through this gate you shall be on the Dales High Way…which at this point is a narrow tarmac track.

Continue along the Dales Way until you reach the farm. When you reach the farm you will turn left in between the two walls of the farm house. The footpath will curve round to the right where you will then be able to see the Dales High Way – which is the grassy track between the two dry stone walls. To reach this track you will need to navigate yourself through a couple of farm gates.

This section of the Dales High Way will lead you onto open access land. Whilst on the open access land follow the stone wall, keeping it on your left. You will pass a footpath on your left signposted Helm Side, don’t turn off, continue on The Dales High Way with the wall on your left.

Eventually you shall reach two gates; one metal gate and one wooden gate – pick a gate and walk through. The Dales High Way goes to your left and there is a footpath to your right. Take the footpath to the right across more open access land keeping the stone wall to your right.

On this footpath there are a few ladder stiles to climb to reach the summit of Aye Gill Pike. You will recognise the peak as it is marked with a white trig point. It will be on the opposite side of the wall that you are on.

Other walk descriptions guide you directly down the steep banks back to Dent. But I didn’t fancy this. Instead I retraced my steps back to the Dales High Way, through the gates and back down to the footpath I mentioned earlier signposted to Helm Side.

This footpath is fairly obvious but if in doubt keep the stone wall to your right. When you get towards the bottom of the field you shall see two green metal gates for quad bikes. Head towards these gates and go through the one on the right keeping the woods to the right of you.

The footpath will lead you into Helm Side, a very small hamlet consisting of mainly the farm. You will need to walk through the farm to reach the road.

When you reach the road turn right in the direction of Sedburgh. Walk along the road until you reach Mire House. Opposite Mire House you will see a footpath sign saying 1 ¼ miles to the monument. Follow this footpath across the fields towards the river.

At the time I did this walk I didn’t find the footpath very obvious, but basically the footpath is diagonal across the field.

Once at the riverside path follow it left with the river on your right back into Dent. There is a short time you will need to walk on the road by the monument but once you reach the bridge you will just retrace your steps from the beginning of the walk across the fields and back to the village and the car park.