The Crackpot Trail

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If you drive  through Kirkby Malzeard and take signs to Dallowgill, you’ll find yourself leaving rolling green Nidderdale countryside for a more open and bleaker moorland landscape.  There’s a place called Tom Corner where you can park, and that’s where you can start the Crackpot Trail.

The view at the start.
The view at the start.

The Crackpot Trail?  Well, back in 1996, Rural Arts worked with a group of villagers in Kirkby Malzeard to devise and make a series of 22 mosaic plaques to distribute over the route of this circular walk.  They chose subjects to celebrate what the walker might see en route: animals, birds and flowers such as  sheep, curlews, fungi: local features such as the Potato House, where potatoes used to be stored: and there right at the beginning of the walk, a Roman centurion, to commemorate the fact that many years ago, Roman bones were excavated at this rather wild and windy spot.

Our moorland path.
Our moorland path.

It’s a wonderful walk to see the varied landscape of this part of the Dales.  From the moorland, where at this time of year heather is just beginning to burst into bloom….

Early heather.
Early heather.

…. the path takes you back to gentler, farmed countryside, with views of  stone-built farms and hamlets across the hillsides.

The landscape opens out.
The landscape opens out.

You’ll cross peaty streams…….

A stream to cross.
A stream to cross.

….. and walk though ancient oak woods which at the right time of year are carpeted in bluebells.  There’s a bit of everything, even a lunch spot about half way round, at a former pub, the Drover’s Arms, which sadly burnt down in 2013.  But the fire didn’t get the picnic tables: they’re still there for you to sit and eat your sandwiches.

Our drama for the day.  This poor sheep was well and truly trapped.  Somehow, we extricated her.....
Our drama for the day. This poor sheep was well and truly trapped. Somehow, we extricated her…..
....while her companions looked on.
….while her companions looked on.
And this is their daily view.
And this is their daily view.

A perfect, easy and enjoyable day, because this varied, pretty and scenic walk is a mere six and a half miles.  You’ll be home in time for tea.

That's Ripon over there. We've just finished our walk, and it's about to rain.
That’s Ripon over there. We’ve just finished our walk, and it’s about to rain.

17 thoughts on “The Crackpot Trail”

  1. One of our favourite walks – love it up there. Once we were walking near Tom Corner and the Red Arrows flew over – surreal!

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  2. Wow–I envy you so! The combination of the beautiful walk and the mosaics to look for along the way–it’s all wonderful. That sheep has a lot to be thankful for! My husband and I saved one in similar fashion in Ireland once–he (the sheep!) had stuck his head through a wire fence and got his horns entangled.

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  3. Very lovely – you are blessed to live in such open country where there is open space for folks to enjoy. City folk don’t understand the need to have space to breathe or if they do they chuck it and move to places where there is space. Enjoy your walks – six and a half miles is a nice walk on a summer afternoon.

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  4. hello Margaret, sent you a personal mail, did you get it or do I have a wrong mail-address ? I’m fine, thanks, but missing the Ariège with it’s friends and landscape, think you can imagine……annaxx

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  5. What a fun walk! It’s nice to have a ‘purpose’ sometimes on a walk, in this case the mosaics. Although the vert worthy ones that have the additional activities (balancing on logs etc.) leave me cold. Can you do a post one day just of your sheep photographs – they always make me smile!

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    1. Oh, thanks. I’m glad you like the sheep. I sometimes feel I include too many. It’s nice somebody else appreciates them too. And yes, I’ll join you in not joining in those gym-type things on walks.

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