On a small road outside Kirkby Stephen, a sign at a turn-off warns the motorist that this is the last petrol for 22 miles. Here the B6270 leaves Nateby to traverse some of England's remotest countryside. A tedious road leads up through Birkdale, in Cumbria before reaching the North Yorkshire border and the boundary of the National Park.
There is nothing but total isolation here. No houses. No civilisation. Eventually near the summit, a small road turns off for Ravenseat, an isolated settlement. The main road descends into Swaledale passing a camp site on the way down before meeting the fledgling River Swale. The road passes a roack outcrop and waterfalls before arriving at another junction. Here a road leads up through a hairpin (unsuitable for caravans and large vehicles) towards Tan Hill. A few yards further on is Keld. There is a camp site at Keld featuring yurts adjacent


to the Tan Hill turn-off. Running the length of Swaledale is the Coast to Coast Walk, a 140 mile trek from St. Bees in Cumbria passing through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks before arriving at Robin Hood's Bay on the Yorkshire coast. At Keld the Coast to Coast Walk intersects the Pennine Way, a 260 mile long-distance footpath starting at Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District heading north through the Dales before passing through Northumberland National Park arriving at the Scottish border village of Kirk Yethom.
The village of Keld is truly at the crossroads of rural Britain, as it is near the halfway points of both footpaths.
Swaledale turns south for the next two miles before arriving at
Thwaite. A delightful village, featuring in All Creatures Great and Small, Thwaite has a shop and a hotel, Kearton Country Hotel which has a tiny bar, open to non-patrons.
A popular route into Swaledale is via Buttertubs Pass. This road is the main through-route from Wensleydale and passes through some of North

Buttertubs Pass

Yorkshire's most interesting scenery. Recently the road was voted the favourite by motorists in a poll carried out for BBC TV's Top Gear programme. Departing from just outside Hardraw, near Hawes, this six and a half mile road acsends the north side of Wensleydale before reaching Buttertubs Pass. Below the road are some interesting limestone features including the Buttertubs, caves which can only be explored using special equipment.
The Buttertubs road arrives in Swaledale, just outside Thwaite. A mile to the left is Muker. An interesting village with craft shops and the first pub in Swaledale, the Farmers Arms. The Swaledale Show is held here every year on the first Wednesday of September and includes craft stalls, farm produce, sheepdog trials and other displays.
Muker, the road zig-zags over a bridge then follows the southern flank of Swaledale before re-crossing the Swale and arriving at Gunnerside.


Here at the foot of Gunnerside Ghyll is a pub, the Kings Head. The village also boasts an interesting Literary Institute, built in 1877 and featuring a clock. There is also a working blacksmith's museum and a Methodist chapel. After Gunnerside the road passes through woods and fields before reaching Low Row
An interesting community based mostly on the northern flank of Swaledale, Low Row features an interesting pub, the Punch Bowl which unfortunately has been closed for some time and may not re-open as a pub but National Park planning regulations may prevent a change of use for the building.
Two miles further on is Heulaugh, a small satellite settlement of
Reeth, the main village in Swaledale and home to several good shops, a National Park Centre, three pubs and an excellent folk museum about life in the northern Dales.

Swaledale near Low Row

Serving the 750 inhabitants of this large Yorkshire Dales village are three pubs, the Black Bull Inn, King's Arms and Buck Inn. The first two pubs are next door to each other and The Buck Inn only a few yards away. Reeth is at the hub of the annual Swaledale Festival, helf every May/June and features arts, crafts and music.
At Reeth a road leads off through Arkengarthdale on it's lonely route up to Tan Hill via Langthwaite.


After Reeth is Framlington then Grinton with it's pub, the Bridge Inn. Swaledale broadens out here and a few miles further on is Marske, in the most north-east extremity of the National Park. Here are some beautiful gardens which can be viewed from the road (there is no access). Soon after is Richmond, the fine Georgian market town with it's many shops, pubs, castle and sights.