A Family Staycation in Gunnerside Gill

I like the term ‘staycation’, which of course is trending right now. With a map, the right equipment and some imagination, you can whisk up a proper little adventure that you and your family won’t forget for many years to come. Here’s one Staycation that the Wulf family dreamt up and carried out, starting in Gunnerside. Armed with foam mats, good sleeping bags, bivvy bags (breathable recommended), light weight camping food, stove, hot chocolate and of course teddy, we set off mid-afternoon with plenty of daylight and a good weather forecast as nature’s companions.

Now, this was pre-pandemic, so I will happily talk about the little café called Mary Shaw’s that this trip revolved around. You see, it’s a café where all the cake is gluten free, well why not? And that is perfect for some of the members of my family, so talk about a carrot at the end of a mini expedition!

So the plan was to walk into Gunnerside Gill, which gets deeper and more wild looking, the further you get. Yet you can picture busy, productive scenes as you wander among the industrial relics nestled against the valley side. What’s more simple that to walk in as far as you like, select a sheltered spot near a water source, camp for the night and then walk out again? Total adventure on a mini scale – which you need when you’ve got kids – something achievable that feels real, but that is within everyone’s limits. Oh yes, and that cake afterwards… or was it breakfast? Or both?

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Planning your October half-term staycation in the Yorkshire Dales?

How about this Ribble Valley walk with a twist? If you’re going to be in the Yorkshire Dales, book a guided walk for your family with plenty of fun along the way to keep the kids moving. Kids need incentives when out walking. How does leaping salmon, hot chocolate and a giant’s pizza oven sound to you? With experienced walking guide, Jo Wulf to keep you safely on track, you can relax and soak up this iconic Dales landscape whilst enjoying the health benefits of a walk in the stunning Ribble Valley.

Every October you’ll see a small, quiet crowd at a certain beauty spot along the River Ribble. The walkers are all watching and waiting, and every now and again, for those who didn’t take their eye off the ball, there is a flurry of excitement amongst watchers as a splendid, glittering fish leaps out of the turbulent waters in an attempt to conquer the waterfall.

Stainforth Force where you may just spot a leaping salmon in October or early November

Reaching Stainforth Force from Settle takes around an hour. The riverside path is pleasant and easy enough, but the mud, slippy rock and tree roots make sturdy footwear a must. After a cafe stop at The Knight’s Table in Little Stainforth to warm little (and big!) fingers and toes, we return to Settle on the other side of the Ribble Valley, following a path that takes us through an interesting, historical site, once a hub of activity as man and beast worked hard to drag limestone and coal into a Hoffmann Kiln and produce lime on an industrial scale.

The Langcliffe Hoffmann Kiln – bring a torch!

Right on the Settle-Carlisle railway, the lime extracted from the stone in the quarry above, would then be transported country wide by rail and used in a surprising number of ways. The Langcliffe Hoffmann Kiln is the best preserved example in the UK, and as it has 22 firing chambers, I like to tell kids it’s where giants hold pizza parties! Imagine the excitement when we switch our torches on and take a look inside, spotting cave spiders and perhaps even treasure! We then pass through fields, crossing dry stone walls via stone or wooden stiles and enter the charming village of Langcliffe with its lovely village green. I love this green in the autumn when the leaves are turning. There is always time for a quick swing or a slide if that’s what’s needed, and a final easy stroll along an old lane that descends right into Settle Market Place, the heart of the town where the shops, cafes and pubs await.

The walk (including all the fun stops) requires up to 4 hours; Price £80 for a family group.

A longer route lasting up to 5 hours is also available, stopping in Feizor at Elaine’s Tea Rooms and taking in the views from the top of Giggleswick Scar on the way back to Settle. Cafe stop is at walkers’ own expense, but a picnic and hot chocolate is also a great option on a fine day, whilst we watch the salmon leap!

Please email to book your experience.

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