England: Yorkshire Dales
From the vale to the peak in God's Own CountyBack to Routes
Perfect place for a short stop in Pateley Bridge
Malham Cove (photo: Phil Simnett)
The rapids of Stainforth Force (photo: Phil Simnett)
The Dales town of Settle
Field barn in the Wharfe valley (photo: Phil Simnett)
Ingleborough on the horizon
A clapper bridge at Austwick Beck
Stone barns and walls give the Dales their character
Monday 22nd June | Posted by On Foot Staffview article
Shaun touched base upon our arrival. He was very helpful letting us know what the options between the main route and the alternatives would be like. He was particularly concerned for our well-being as bad weather approached on the day we wanted to conquer Ingleborough Peak. Common sense prevailed and we were glad we followed his advice as the day progressed.
Randy & Kay Kolb, USA - September 2023
We really appreciated the options we had, whether routes or taking the taxi. We loved that we set our own pace and itinerary (after a fashion). We immediately latched onto the idea of slowing down and walking in the countryside instead of the bustle of the city.
Rebecca Knoll, Maryland, USA - June 2023
We thought the holiday was perfectly planned and we felt very supported. The area was beautiful.
Susan Warwick and Jay Didion, Seattle, USA - June 2023
The walk was great and a wonderful experience to explore the Yorkshire Dales. The accommodation was very good, the maps and walking notes were invaluable.
Philip Taylor, NSW, Australia - May 2023
I really enjoyed the chance to acquaint myself with a part of England that I knew little about previously. The walk course was very well thought out, beginning in the genteel Vale of York, and climbing slowly into the moors, visiting the historical industrial sites en route. Shaun was very engaged, both in looking out for my logistics, and most importantly being a source of local wisdom and culture. I can truly see why Yorkshire people consider their place to be God's own country.
Mark Heinicke, Denver, USA - May 2023
I'm biased having been born within 3 miles of Settle - but the countryside was absolutely outstanding, and Yorkshire folk as friendly and approachable as ever. There is an indefinable feeling to this part of the country which goes so well with a good day's walking, hearty meals and good ale.
My only comment on the downside is that, with hindsight, I am sorry that we hadn't made it a longer trip.
Leonard Cowking, Kingston upon Thames, UK - May 2022
MARVELLOUS Yorkshire Dales walk.
Being back on trail post pandemic was probably part of our overall state of mind, but the route itself, the spring greens in the dales, the sun over the moors, the lambs and calves and bluebells and primroses and wild orchids up high… and the eating, which we earned daily… were all among the best ever.
John Rosenberg, Cambridge, USA - May 2022
I loved the freedom and peace of mind using On Foot gave me. The walks were very well chosen, offering gorgeous views of the Yorkshire Dales, and I especially enjoyed coming across the Monk's Path to crest above Malham Tarn.
It was very reassuring being in communication with Shaun, making sure each day that we were doing anything necessary to adapt to the weather forecast, and knowing he was there if I needed help.
Helen Campbell, Southampton, UK - August 2021
The walk was really well put together and took us to fabulous places that we would never have found. We loved the range of walking on offer from riverside to the high moors. We fell in love with the Yorkshire Dales.
Lesley Fraser, Edinburgh, UK - July 2021
Shaun was excellent - first contact very good but then he was very balanced in how much ongoing contact we needed. Very proactive and helpful on the last day with weather update and guidance.
Beverley Picton, Richmond, UK - July 2021
Shaun was great; as a solo walker, he made sure to call me before I set out, and checked in by text each evening to ensure I made it OK, along with a weather report and brief overview of the next day's walk.
Overall, the holiday was great. In fact I was very impressed with On Foot and the detailed walking pack etc.
Thomas Sutton, Sherbrooke, Canada - June 2019
One of the best. The landscapes are gorgeous - richly green with the jigsaw fields and dry stone walls and the fine old stone farms and villages.
Ripon cathedral (where I listened to a choir practice) and Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey add variety. Fine dining along the way (Clarendon and the Traddock), which was unexpected. Enjoyed meeting and walking with Shaun.
Alan Willis, Ottawa, Canada - September 2018
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, as we have on all the On Foot Holidays we've done.
For us the highlights were stuffing ourselves with wild blueberries on the moor before Brimham Rocks, the rocks themselves, and the climbs up onto the moors from Arncliff and Malham. A special word for Gordon the taxi driver - he was great.
Marc Jeffery, Croatia - April 2018
At a glance
Yorkshire Dales 7-night option (6 days walking). The full version of the walk. Add extra nights (we recommend Ripon, Malham and Austwick) to ease you in, give you a rest in the middle and to celebrate the end. See 'Prices' tab for what's included.
Suggested route pairing: Peak District
How much walking?
Full days: 15-24 km per day, 3½-6½ hours walking
Using shortening options: 10-15km per day, 2¼-4½ hours walking using ride-with-luggage transfers at the start of each day
From Ripon to Ingleborough through the Dales
This route seeks to show walkers the two sides of Yorkshire’s rural heritage, and was designed by local residents and On Foot clients Shaun and Lynda Callaghan. Starting in the eastern lowlands, in the little cathedral “city” of Ripon, the first day takes you straight to one of the most important centres of medieval England, Fountains Abbey, which owned vast tracts of the county before Henry VIII decided that he would prefer them for himself and his barons. The setting of the Abbey is without parallel.
The route then starts to climb, gradually at first, through the sheep country of the Dales (sheep were as important in medieval times as they became in the 18th century when they were the basis for Yorkshire’s industrial growth). Linking the pretty villages of Pateley Bridge, Burnsall, Hebden, Grassington and Kettlewell, your route reaches limestone country via justly famous Malham “Cove”, before traversing the market town of Settle to your destination, Austwick village, nestling in the dale below the gaunt massif of Ingleborough, one of Yorkshire’s “three peaks”, and your final challenge.
Stay in country pubs and comfortable B&Bs, upgrading if you wish to smarter hotels, and eat well – the route boasts two French-chef-run establishments to supplement the hearty Yorkshire fare that will ensure you do not flag during these long days (though shortening options are available).
Walked by On Foot staff: Debbie, Simon and Emma
REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews of this route submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit AITO.com.
ARTICLES: Read an article about On Foot’s holiday in the Yorkshire Dales from The Daily Telegraph newspaper here.
- Ripon and its cathedral
- Fountains Abbey, the northern masterpiece
- Yorkshire pudding and Gallic flair in quintessential pubs
- Drystone walls and unspoilt villages
- The “Cove” and cliff of Malham
- Caves, kilns and erratics
- The ascent of Ingleborough on your final day
This route features the following characteristics and interests: Villages and farms, Archaeology, Drive to route, Food, History
Extra nights in Ripon and Austwick, and at Malham for an extra pretty walking circuit. Eating at French owned Clarendon Hotel in Hebden and the Gamecock (Austwick), or at the Kings Head in Kettlewell and the famous Traddock in Austwick (also available as upgrade accommodation)
Geologically speaking this is an important area, as it was the nursery training for the famous English geologists of the 18th and 19th century who in turn laid the foundations for the science of sedimentary geology (compare also our “Dorset” walk).
The limestone pavements around Malham and Ingleborough are fine examples and will challenge the adventurous walker as well (though can be avoided for those who wish to preserve their ankles).
How much Walking?
Using shortening options: 10-15km per day, 2¼-4½ hours walking using ride-with-luggage transfers at the start of each day
Clear paths in the main, though the signage lapses on occasions and so an understanding of maps, use of compass and close attention to the notes is sometimes needed. A walk for everyone courtesy of the (taxi) shortening options (see below).
Medium-hard: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 660m (300m-870m) per day.
Medium: CUSs 414m (250m-525m) per day using shortening options where available and/or riding with luggage for part of walk each day (shortening rides included in price).
Acrophobia/vertigo warnings: None.
GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for complete route.
Important note: Times given for each day are walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops. “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb. See “Walk Grading” for more information.
When to go?
The best months to walk: May to early October
Other possible months: late April, late October
The best walking is throughout the late spring, summer and early autumn, though be aware that during the summer holidays and weekends the hotels we use can be busy and accommodation less available – do note that a couple of hotels always request two night stays at weekends.
Day 1 - Arrive in Ripon
Check into your accommodation and have a good explore - the cathedral is a wonderful place to start and you will have fun finding the town square with its nightly horn call and choosing a restaurant for supper.
Day 2 - Ripon to Pateley Bridge
A pleasant day with two highlights – Fountains Abbey at the start and Brimham Rocks at lunchtime. The walk passes through a mixture of parkland, over babbling brooks and across typical Yorkshire drystone-wall-clad dales with views emerging the nearer that you draw to Nidderdale’s Pateley Bridge and a charming ‘panorama walk’ to end. (Medium-hard: 5¼ hrs walking (allow 7 hrs), 20½ km (13 miles), CUSs 580m or Medium: 4¼ hrs (allow 5¾ hrs), 16 km (10 miles), CUSs 470m with ride-with-luggage to Fountains Abbey at start (included)
Day 3 - Pateley Bridge to Hebden
Today’s walk takes you away from Nidderdale, and up on to the moor in the morning, with a fabulous (but optional) opportunity to bag Simon’s Seat before an easy rest-of-day downhill to walk alongside one of the iconic rivers of this area, the Wharfe. A long day of great variety. (Hard: 6¼ hrs walking (allow 8¼ hrs), 24¼ km, CUSs 870m, or Medium: ride-with-luggage start to Parcevall Hall gardens then walk the rest – 3 hrs walking (allow 4 hrs), 11½ km (7 miles), CUSs 490)
Day 4 - Hebden to Kettlewell
An easy walk, both in terms of terrain and navigation! Firstly, the pretty riverside walk to Grassington (you might see kingfishers en route). Spend time in this famously lovely village, before heading away from the River Wharfe for a few hours to walk on the Dales Way through a range of ancient landscapes – semi-moorland, remote dales and a beautifully-viewed descent to Kettlewell, nestling picturesquely in the Wharfe valley. (Easy-medium: 3½ hrs walking (allow 4¾ hrs), 15 km (9½ miles), CUSs 300m)
Day 5 - Kettlewell to Malham
The highlights of Malham Tarn and Malham Cove must be on anyone’s list who visits Yorkshire, let alone walking a bit of the Pennine Way too! After a pleasant leg stretcher of an ascent and a couple of pretty riverside villages on the way, your route climbs via the Monk’s Path to the remote, wild landscape above Malham before a descent to the highest upland lake in England and on to walk on the extraordinary lunar landscape above the Cove, before a night in attractive, busy Malham village. (Medium-hard: 5½ hrs walking (allow 7¼ hrs), 18½ km (11½ miles), CUSs 700m, or Easy-medium: 3¾ hrs walking (allow 5 hrs), 14 km (9 miles), CUSs 525m with ride-with-luggage start)
If the weather is poor, or you would just like an easier day, take a taxi to Malham and do one of two easier walks in this lovely valley (these can also form the basis of an extra day and night spent at Malham, a good mid-route resting place).
Day 6 - Malham to Austwick
Lots to see today, and choices to be made too. First a sustained, but fairly gentle, climb out of Malham with a good view onto the Cove. Then a remote section with fine views opening up into the valley where Settle lies – and a choice: either to include some additional walking (extra 2.3km, CUSs 70m) and a sneak preview of Ingleborough – your final walk’s goal – or take a more direct route along the Dales High Way to Settle, and lunch. In the afternoon you walk alongside the River Ribble – either right next to it, or, for more interest, via a fascinating and extensive, lime kiln. Finally a delightful entrance through the fields into the little village of Austwick. (Medium-hard: 5 hrs walking (allow 6¾ hrs), 20¼ km (12½ miles), CUSs 680m, or ride-with-luggage to Settle, and walk the rest – easy-medium: 2½ hrs walking (allow 3 hrs), 10 km (6½ miles), CUSs 250m)
This could also be a day for a ride-with-luggage into Settle and a trip on the Settle-Carlisle railway line - best when they are running steam trains (needs to be pre-booked and is expensive!), but lovely even when not. The Ribblehead Viaduct is a classic of Victorian engineering. Timetables in your Walker's Pack!
Day 7 - The Ingleborough circuit
A fitting climax to your walk. Taking in either the ‘Norber erratics’ or a medieval clapper bridge (or both with diversion) the day takes you up onto a limestone pavement, over Beggar’s Stile and off along a route up the easiest approach to Ingleborough, perhaps the most iconic hill of the Three Peaks range. The return takes you past Gaping Gill sink hole, through Trow Gill gorge and offers Ingleborough Cave as a distraction en route to pretty Clapham village and a final wander through grassy fields back to Austwick, nestling in the landscape. (Hard: 6 hrs walking (allow 8 hrs), 19½ km (12 miles), CUSs 820m, or easier option avoiding Ingleborough itself Medium: 3½ hrs walking (allow 4¾ hrs), 14 km (9 miles), CUSs 450m)
A couple of shorter, lower circuits around Austwick village are also offered, taking in a clapper bridge, and Clapham Village (lunch here seems right!), or just laze at your accommodation with a good book... we recommend an extra night here if you want to do everything!
Depart for home
A taxi is included back to Settle (or Clapham) station for your leavetaking of this quiet and beautiful region of England.
ARRIVING BY TRAIN
Train to Thirsk (direct from London); Harrogate (closest) or Leeds are the obvious ways to get to the route from other parts of the UK, followed by bus or taxi.
Nearest railway station:
Start: Harrogate or Thirsk
Finish: Settle or Clapham
Sample journey by rail:
Via London: King’s Cross to Thirsk, then bus ~3½ hrs
Settle to London: Via change in Leeds ~4 hrs
We suggest thetrainline.com for times, ticket booking and other information.
ARRIVING BY CAR
Leave your car in quiet Austwick. Taxi back to your first night.
ARRIVING BY AIR
The best “local” airport is either Leeds-Bradford or Manchester. Intercontinental flights use Manchester or one of the London airports.
Please contact us for transfer advice in view of the options available. A final taxi transfer (pre-bookable) from Thirsk, Harrogate or Leeds to your first accommodation would be the easiest method of arrival (note that there is a good half-hourly bus service from Harrogate to Ripon, less regularly from Thirsk).
Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.
For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.
See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for more detailed transfer information.
Getting to the start of the walk
Transfer times and methods are suggested from Leeds-Bradford Airport, Manchester Airport and London (centre).
Outward: Hourly bus shuttle to Harrogate, then half-hourly buses to Ripon (total allow 2 hrs) OR pre-bookable taxi to first hotel
Return: Taxi to Settle railway station (included), train to Leeds, then half-hourly bus shuttle to airport OR pre-bookable taxi direct to airport.
Outward: Half-hourly train to Harrogate (~2 hrs) then half-hourly buses to Ripon (total allow 3 hrs) OR pre-bookable taxi to first hotel
Return: Taxi to Clapham (instead of Settle – small supplement), train to airport via Lancaster (total 2½ hrs) OR pre-bookable taxi direct to airport.
Outward: Half-hourly train to Thirsk (2hrs+ direct) then two-hourly bus to Ripon (40 mins), or Harrogate via Leeds or York (~3 hrs) then half-hourly buses to Ripon (total allow 4 hrs) OR pre-bookable taxi from Thirsk or Harrogate to first hotel.
Return: Taxi to Settle (included), train to London via Leeds (total 4 hrs) OR pre-bookable taxi direct to airport.
Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.
Where You'll Stay
A lovely range of accommodation, from excellent B&Bs, through pubs to two country house hotels (as upgrade/alternatives).
Please note: Walkers bringing dogs may not be able to do all route versions (check the tabs at the top of the screen) or have the same choice of accommodation. Supplements will apply.
Ripon – Valentino’s (B&B)
Newly refurbished luxury rooms above well-established and popular family-run Italian restaurant.Website
Ripon – Royal Oak (B&B)
Award-winning food and excellent accommodation in this city centre inn.Website
Pateley Bridge – Talbot House (B&B)
A fine tea room doubling as a guest house in the centre of the town. Well appointed bedrooms.Website
Hebden – Clarendon Hotel (B&B)
Old coaching inn, now a pub-with-rooms and a tremendous award-winning kitchen presided over by Alsace chef Lionel.Website
Burnsall – Devonshire Fell (B&B)
Grand hotel on the edge of the village owned by the eponymous aristocratic family. Good food and comfortable, with some fine upgrade rooms.Website
Starbotton – Fox and Hounds (B&B)
Traditional village pub with local ales, a cosy bar, and refurbished rooms above.Website
Austwick – Wood View Guest House (B&B)
Sue and David Dewhirst run a first class B&B right on the green, and only a short walk for dinner at one of two great eateries. Upgrade to one of the de luxe rooms (doubles only) for your final nights.Website
Austwick – The Game Cock Inn (B&B)
Fine pub/restaurant with rooms over. Breton chef has earned a reputation in these parts for inventive dishes, served in a friendly pub ambiance,Website
Austwick – The Traddock (B&B)
Famous country house hotel on the edge of the village with an acclaimed kitchen and some lovely rooms. Good to relax in at the end of your walk.Website
The Fox and Hounds in Starbotton is a possibility if Kettlewell is full, with a little extra, but easy, walking to reach it.
In Malham, if River House is full, we do have some alternative hotels:
The Lister Arms (below) is the grand old daddy of accommodation in Malham, with decent bedrooms and good pub-style food.
Beck Hall (below), also in Malham, is a friendly riverside hotel close to the village centre, where dogs are always welcome.
Total 7 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, luggage transfers (and shortening rides if required) between all hotels on walking route; taxi to Settle station at the end, full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.
All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in May. Prices may vary seasonally and a fixed price will be given to you before you commit.
Single Room Supplement (SRS): From £335
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £225
Large party saving (LPS): Groups of more than 2 people (on an identical itinerary, on the same booking and booked at the same time) – discount of at least £30 per person
Maximum party size: 10
Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK: £20-£60 (per pack, location dependent)
Taxi from Harrogate to Ripon or Pateley Bridge: From £40 (1-4 pers.), £80 (5-8 pers)
Our local team
Shaun and his wife Lynda describe themselves as bilingual, speaking both broad Yorkshire and a Yorkshire version of English. They are obviously proud of their Yorkshire roots. A couple of years ago they took early retirement and moved to their favourite walking area of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire, living just a few hundred yards outside the National Park boundary and only four miles from the summit of Ingleborough.