Greenhow Lead Mines from the Coldstones Cut

We drive past the Coldstones Cut all the time on our way to walk in the Dales. A huge sculpture of a ram’s horns which can be explored on foot, I’d never stopped here, so when Sam suggested that we start a walk from here I was excited to look around. The walk we did also took us past some of the remains of Nidderdale’s industrial heritage, with the ruins of lead mines and lime kilns scattered across the landscape. We quite often explore Swaledale’s lead mining past so it was great to venture a little further afield to see remains of the industry further south in the Dales.

Sam found this route on the OS maps app. It’s a 3.8 mile circular starting from the free car park at the Coldstones Cut, following grassy paths to pick up the Nidderdale Way for a short while, before returning via the remains of Greenhow lead mines and Toft Gate Lime Kiln.

When we started this walk mist obscured everything further than 10 metres away and there was a fine drizzle coming down. I have to say I was less than enthusiastic and Sam had to borderline drag me out of the car! However, within a few minutes of setting off the drizzle evaporated, and half an hour later the mist had lifted and there were pockets of blue sky peeking out through the clouds.

This was a perfect stroll for a Sunday afternoon. Not too taxing and with panaromic views across Nidderdale on the second half of the walk – luckily the sun had come out by this point so we got to enjoy them!

The paths are a mix of grassy and surfaced tracks which cut through fields, enclosed tracks and quiet roads. Towards the end of the walk you pass the solemn remains of the lead mining industry in Nidderdale: it was fairly strange walking through here and imagining what it must have been like with all the miners at work.

While the remains of the mines are undeniably the star attraction, there’s plenty more to look out for on this walk. When we were here the hills and valleys were a riot of oranges and browns and we passed charmingly crumbling dry stone walls and a small waterfall. Not bad for a short Sunday stroll.

Overall, this the terrain on this walk is gently undulating, and should be manageable for most people. Generally you are walking vaguely down hill or along the flat – this does mean that by the time you get to the end you have to climb all the way back up to the car park! It’s not a horrible long climb though and there are plenty of panoramic views to enjoy while you stop and catch your breath.

Dog friendly rating – 4/5. I ummed and ahhed about this rating and hovered over the 3.5 rating for a while, but really, I think this walk deserves a 4. While there are sheep in many of the fields, there are also a few enclosed tracks where your dog can have a run off the lead, and the road sections are extremely quiet (we didn’t see any cars). There is one small stile at the start which our dogs easily managed to get over on their own. The highlight for our dogs though was when we crossed the bridge around the half way mark – there was an opportunity here for them to have a splash in the river and a drink. There’s a second opportunity later on where you ford a small stream – which was slightly deeper than normal after all the rain we’ve had recently!

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