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A nice walk in a great pub: the Green Dragon, Yorkshire Dales | Walking holidays


Start Green Dragon pub Hardraw
Distance 9½ miles
Time 3-4 hours
Total ascent 490 meters
Difficulty moderate

An important truth was established some time ago when this famous bar expert, Aristotle, proved beyond a reasonable doubt that any decent stroll undertaken in the British Isles must end in a good pub.

Its formula, never refuted, goes like this: the protagonist (you) makes a fatal error (going for a walk despite uncertain weather) which leads to a reversal (it was a circular walk) in difficult conditions (torrential rain after a start illuminated), which leads to the nearest temple (pub). Arriving there, shivering and tucked away (Yorkshire only), you remain dripping in the doorway, wondering if such a desperate traveler could be welcome. But you are indeed, and before too long, fed with divine nectar (any real ale will do), and before a holy fire (logs or peat, no electric flame stuff) you will be blessed. with a mystical insight, part of which the belief that you have had a great day and need to plan for the next.

Google map of the route

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Obviously the pub is the most important element here, so let’s start with a great one: the Green Dragon at Hardraw in the Yorkshire Dales, a former cave-like inn. As you walk in, your eyes adjust to the dim lighting, catching the glow of brass and glass amid all the dark woodwork. Laughter and voices are heard from far away hidden corners, then you glimpse the bar, like a beacon of hope and friendliness, calling you to move on. However – Aristotle’s ghostly hand grabs your arm – before you sit down, let’s put things in the right order: the catharsis of the bar room cannot be done without a prior effort, namely walking.

Near the start of the Pennine Way walk

What really sets the Green Dragon apart is one of its most unusual features: Hardraw Force, a waterfall over 30 meters high, the longest single waterfall in England. Sadly, health and safety madness dictates that this water attraction is not allowed inside the building, but must be kept a short distance from the pub, on a winding path into a mysterious green cave in its own right. own manufacture. In wet weather, and they get a few, the force is an awesome sight. (After a period of drought, it’s hardly worth it.)

Previously, the only path to the waterfall was through the public bar, meaning JMW Turner and William Wordsworth passed that way, as both were visiting the waterfall.

Hardraw Force - England's tallest single drop waterfall.
Hardraw Force is England’s tallest single drop waterfall, but it’s much more spectacular after the rain.

Hardcore green dragon buffs will say this modest walk is a perfectly sufficient amount of exercise before settling inside, but there are those hiking fanatics who need a longer stretch. Fortunately, the whole area is rife with tattoo opportunities. Deep in the valley is the town of Hawes, where you can stock up on vittles such as Wensleydale cheese, sausage rolls and pies at Elijah Allen’s grocery store. The town has become a pit stop for bikers and can get a bit hectic on a summer day (there is certainly no shortage of little cafes and knickknacks). The Wensleydale Creamery tours and sells a myriad of flavored varieties, none of which match the superlative delight of the original.

Quick guide

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The great geographic division is located here at about 400 meters. Below this elevation lies the valley, where most of the locals live and where long lines of traffic processions are often driven unawares by an unruffled tractor. Never imagine that you will go far in a hurry to Wensleydale: it is possible to come here in search of rural tranquility and beauty and spend all your time staring at the back of the car in front, cursing motorized transport . The only sane solution is to dump the car ASAP, then walk over that 400-meter divide into a very different world, a place of tufted grass, sheep, grunting grouse, and massive scenic views. .

Walking the Pennine Way
In the “upper magical realm”.

From Hawes, the quickest route to this magical upper kingdom is to take the Pennine Way south to the long, slow ridge via Ten End to Dodd Fell, which will bring some awesome views. Continue south, descending to the Roman road which will turn you east, to Wether Fell, where it is a short descent to Hawes.

Even better, however, is to start with the Green Dragon itself. Look at it for a long time, because entering this beautiful temple of beer is the end goal of your walk. Now head west across the bridge and you will soon see the Pennine Way sign. From there, an old green trail for herdsmen climbs above the treeline, where the trail becomes a nicely laid stone slab heading north on the flank of Great Shunner Fell. The panoramas open as you climb. You will reach the top after about five miles (although Black Hill Moss halfway would have finished early). At 716 meters, the Great Shunner is not to be underestimated: there isn’t a day in summer when gloves and a warm hat might not be welcome here, but there is a windbreak in dry stones with benches. The vistas of great Yorkshire peaks such as Ingleborough and Great Whernside – and High Seat in the Lake District – are stunning.

Coming down from Great Shunner Fell, with Wether Fell in the distance.
Coming down from Great Shunner Fell, with Wether Fell in the distance.

The way back depends on the weather and endurance: seasoned hikers will want to loop back to the west or east. If there is a hoolie blowing, I recommend a safe return by the way you came and quickly into the green dragon. Ignore the sign at the door sending hippies in the back: it’s a typical bit of eccentricity. In fact, everything here is idiosyncratic: New owners Ann Rennoldson and Chris Robinson were regular visitors before they took their seats, so they know it.

“It’s been a steep learning curve,” says Ann, who was a teacher in Leeds until recently, “but we love it. A special feature is that musicians can show up at any time and start ticking, knocking out a tune that someone else will join. Soon the bar is tilting. There are also regular organized music weekends to watch out for. Find walking notes on mudandroutes.com

The bar

Guardian Trip - Yorkshire Walk.  Green Dragon Inn, Hardraw
A pub full of nooks and crannies… the Green Dragon Inn.

Taproom aficionados love the cozy nooks and crannies of the Green Dragon with their antique seats and tapered back chairs: the maze of rooms dates back seven centuries in places. You’re never far from a roaring log fire or beer pumps: Butter Tubs bitter (from Askrigg), Timothy Taylor’s Landlord (from Keighley) and Semer Water pale ale (from Wensleydale Brewery near Leyburn) are regular offers in this free house. Fish and chips can be enjoyed and curries are another specialty, but Yorkshire pudding is a notable missing from the menu. (Connoisseurs are headed south to the Crooked Billet at Saxton, whose Yorkshire Pudding Challenge promises three courses all containing heavenly dough.)

The rooms

The Green Dragon has en-suite bedrooms (from £ 100 B&B) close to the pub or a bit further for countryside views. There are also rooms with bunk beds which can accommodate between four and eight people (from £ 30 per person). Chris and Ann have some rejuvenation plans, but the accommodation is comfortable, if a bit old-fashioned, with quilted bedspreads and soft colors. It will never be a chic boutique experience: it’s all about the vibe and vibe in a friendly old inn.

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