Whilst this area does not belong to the Forest of Bowland it is so close by to warrant an inclusion. Nevertheless even so the rolling hills of Craven are worth a visit.
The walk itself is relatively easy. From East Marton to Gargrave over beautiful open countryside it follows the Pennine Way. The return trip mainly follows the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. At 6.76 miles this is a little longer than intended for a short walk but the going is relatively easy. The Masons Arms and The Old Swan Inn are found in Gargrave, and The Cross Keys in East Marton.
The Old Swan Inn, Gargrave Open all day
walk starts by the side of the canal in East Marton (steps lead down from the A59). Shortly after the path joins the little road for a few hundred yards before the waymarker for the Pennine Way is seen on the right. From here on the path is well waymarked to the signpost at where paths cross. (50 min.)
From the signpost carry straight on towards the bridge crossing the railway; the church in Gargrave can be clearly seen dead ahead. After the bridge the sign for the Pennine way points to the right over the field. The path ends close to the church. The Masons Arms is opposite the church. Carry straight on over the bridge over the River Aire. Turn right along the main street for about 400 yds to find The Old Swan Inn (20 min.)
The return route follow the Pennine Way back to the signpost at where the path now turns due west. The path is initially along a raised bank (possibly an old road) and then follows a series of stiles. On reaching a stone wall there is an impromptu stone stile topped with barbed wire. At this point turn right along the wall for 20 yds to the double gate and turn left to walk down to the lock gates at Bank Newton. (40 min.)
From here on the path follows the towpath back to East Marton. Cross the canal by the locks to the western side initially and then recross the canal at the next bridge. A pleasant meander to East Marton along the calm waters of the canal now ensues. (50 min)