I’d promised myself a country walk whatever the weather but where to go when it’s raining and the ground is sodden and boggy? Clapham, near Settle, that’s where.
This pretty village between Settle and Ingleton is just off the A65 and has a lovely walk on a man-made path that leads up to Ingleborough cave – and beyond, if you like. Start at the waterfall at the top end of the village and looks for a gateway flanked by signs that say “Ingleborough Estate Natural Trail”.
There’s a machine where you pay £1 for a ticket to walk the trail. Some people dodge it but it’s a small price to pay and the owners of the Ingleborough estate have clearly invested in upkeep and conservation. The path is a steady, 1.3 mile climb through a wooded valley and by a beautiful lake to the open dale and a stream. At the end of the trail is the cave. It has a fascinating history and some impressive stalagmites so is well worth a visit. Tickets are £9 for adults and £4.50 for children.
Having been in the cave before, quite a few times, my other half and I headed back down the path for lunch in the Clapham Bunkhouse Cafe/Bar.
I can’t say we’d earned it after a 2.6 mile stroll but it was exactly what we needed – a cosy, characterful, friendly place with hearty, homemade food and big portions.
Soup and a sandwich set us up for an amble round the village, where we cooed at the cute cottages, wondered what it would be like to live there and had a pleasurable half hour browsing in the vintage shop. At the end of a very hard week at work and feeling a bit depressed and weary, Clapham was just what we needed to put some roses in our cheeks and a smile on our faces.