Fremington Edge, or ‘Fermenting Pike’ as it was once mistakenly called by a friend of ours, is a five kilometre limestone escarpment which dominates the landscape to the north of Reeth. This dramatic swathe of scree and rock is littered with relics of the area’s mining history, with old shafts and openings sprinkled haphazardly along the ridge. Fremington Edge marks the boundary between two of the most northerly dales, Arkengarthdale and Swaledale, and being so far removed from the tourist hotspots of Wensleydale and Ribblesdale means that you can enjoy the spectacular views without having to give up your viewing platform for the next person in line!
From Reeth, Fremington Edge is an imposing silhouette to the north of the village, offering an impressive but not overly inspiring backdrop. This rapidly changes as you climb up the hill, with amazing views over Swaledale to Calver Hill appearing as soon as the climb starts to steepen – no shame in stopping to admire the view here!
The walk we did was a circular hike of just under eight miles from the Cicerone Yorkshire Dales: North and East guidebook. I really couldn’t recommend these books more, we have our own mini library at home with the guides for lots of different places, and the hikes are always a fantastic variety of lengths/difficulties and take in the best that any area has to offer in terms of outdoor exploration.
If you don’t own the Cicerone guide, an online alternative similar to the route we followed is available on Walking in the Yorkshire Dales, although this route is slightly longer and detours to include Langthwaite in the walk.
The walk starts from the centre of Reeth where you can park on the cobbles for a donation to the honesty box (£1 for half a day or £2 for a full day). We set off at lunchtime on one of the shortest days of the year and managed to get back to the car with daylight to spare – however it was very cold and snowy so we didn’t hang around for too long to enjoy the views!
After a short stretch along the river, the walk veers away from Reeth, to start the climb up Fremington Edge. While relatively steep, the path is on a metalled lane for the majority of the climb before passing through a gate onto a slightly rougher but still pretty level track. The climb offers spectacular views to Calver Hill, and once you begin your trek along the ridge, the panorama shifts to focus on the distinctively shaped Addlebrough fell in Wensleydale.
The wind up on Fremington Edge was pretty icy by the time we started to drop down into the valley for the return leg, so although we were sad to lose the birds-eye view across the Dales, we were quite happy to trade them for no wind and still decent views lower down!
Coming back along the valley you pass through fields and the odd farm yard before briefly passing through the woods by Arkle Beck. It is a lot soggier underfoot than on the ridge (where the ground was completely frozen) with plenty of mud in the woods in particular!
Given how lovely this walk was, and the winter wonderland the landscape was transformed into by the snow, I was really surprised we didn’t see many other walkers. In fact, you could probably count the number of other people we saw on one hand! Maybe it’s different in summer when the weather isn’t quite so bracing…
Dog friendly rating – 3/5. Ours absolutely LOVED this walk but I think that was largely due to the vast quantities of snow – it was Coal’s first time seeing deep snow and many Labrador zoomies were done! I’m only giving this a rating of 3/5 for a few reasons though. Apart from a few short sections, we kept ours on the lead, as we weren’t sure where there might be an old mine shaft lying under the snow. Below the snowline most of the fields had sheep in so we kept them on leads here too, although in the woods there was another opportunity for a quick sprint around. Merry in particular loved dropping down to the river to have a quick paddle, despite the temperature! There were a few stiles on this walk but only one where we actually needed to lift Coal over – Merry managed to wriggle through a gap under the fence!
If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog today, make sure you subscribe below. You may also be interested in my previous blog Super Swaledale which explores six walks in the area immediately surrounding Fremington Edge.