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Walking paths less trodden in the Yorkshire Dales

The UK’s national parks may be overrun but vast swathes remain blissfully empty and ready to be hiked with expert local guides

‘Have you noticed anything?” my guide Jonathan asks me.

We stop for a moment. There’s a lot to notice. I gaze across meadows speckled golden with buttercups. Dry-stone walls carve the fields into tiny fiefdoms, each with its own stone barn. The low hill we’ve just descended is washed by a panoply of greens. Somewhere above us a skylark is singing its little heart out in a worthy attempt to fill the broad valley with song. Nothing strikes me as untoward.

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