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
Walking towards Burnsall
Malham Cove (photo: Phil Simnett)
Curious sheep on the slopes below Ingleborough
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
Thursday 9th May | Posted by On Foot Staffview article
It was a magnificent walk through beautiful countryside.
We really appreciated the high level of organisation and support that the staff of On Foot provided.
Francine Oates, Cowaramup, Australia - August 2019
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
I very much doubt that this trip could be improved.
Walking up to Simon's Seat on the first day was exhilarating and the views when reached were worth the climb. Walking along the riverside with masses of wild buttercups, bluebells and garlic flowers beneath huge chestnut trees in flower was memorable. The whole Malham day was full of surprise, and the Cove when we finally scrambled down to the bottom was an awesome sight.
Terry Fripp, Singapore - May 2018
We really enjoyed Yorkshire. Beautiful countryside, lots of interesting places to see, industrial history, fascinating geology, very friendly people, great beer and fantastic food. No weight lost despite the exercise!
Like flexibility of hiking options and the taxi drivers were all punctual and interesting to talk with. We were very glad we booked this holiday. By the way, we reckon we climbed at least 100 stiles, probably many more!
Anne and Frank Coppinger, Brisbane, Australia - May 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.
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, our third in England and our first in the north of the country, 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.
TRAVEL ADVICE: To find the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for UK citizens travelling to France, click here. Citizens of other nations will also find it useful, but should always check their appropriate local agency.
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, 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).
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?
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, 20½ km, CUSs 580m or Medium: 4½ hrs, 16km, 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: 6½ hrs, 24¼ km, CUSs 870m, or Medium: ride-with-luggage start to Parcevall Hall gardens then walk the rest – 3 hrs, 11½ km, 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, 15 km, 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, 18½ km, CUSs 700m, or Easy-medium: 3¾ hrs, 14 km, 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: 5hrs, 20¼ km, CUSs 680m, or ride-with-luggage to Settle, and walk the rest – easy-medium: 2½ hrs, 10½ kms, 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: 6hrs, 19½ km, CUSs 820m, or easier option avoiding Ingleborough itself Medium: 3½ hrs, 14km, 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 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. In all cases a final taxi transfer (pre-bookable) from Leeds, Harrogate or Skipton to your first accommodation would be the easiest method of arrival (note for the full version of the route that there is a good half-hourly bus service from Harrogate to Ripon).
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.
ARRIVING BY TRAIN
Train to Harrogate (best) or Leeds is the obvious way to get to the route from other parts of the UK, followed by bus or taxi. Skipton is the nearest station for 4- and 5-night versions starting in Hebden or Kettlewell, both requiring taxis from Skipton.
Nearest railway station:
Start: Harrogate (or Skipton as above)
Finish: Settle or Clapham
Sample journey by rail:
Via London: King’s Cross to Harrogate, then bus ~4 hrs
Settle to London: Via change in Leeds ~ 4 hrs
We suggest thetrainline.com for times, ticket booking and other 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 (shuttle to Leeds plus train to Skipton then included taxi for shorter options)
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 (c.2 hrs) then then half-hourly buses to Ripon (total allow 3 hrs) OR pre-bookable taxi to first hotel (train to Skipton then included taxi for shorter options).
Return: Taxi to Clapham, train to airport via Lancaster (total 2½ hrs) OR pre-bookable taxi direct to airport.
Outward: Half-hourly train to Harrogate via Leeds or York (c.3 hrs) then half-hourly buses to Ripon (total allow 4 hrs) OR pre-bookable taxi from Harrogate to first hotel (train to Skipton then included taxi for shorter options).
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, including excellent B&B’s, a tea rooms, four pubs, and two country house hotels (as upgrade/alternatives).
Ripon – The Old Deanery (B&B)
Just beside the cathedral, a spacious former cleric's palace, now converted into an old-fashioned friendly B&B with good sized bedrooms.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
Pateley Bridge – Lyndale Guest House (B&B)
Lively walkers' B&B at the bottom of the High Street.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
Kettlewell – Belk’s B&B (B&B)
A well-known boutique tea room with three excellent bedrooms over (no twins). Zarina is one of nature's hosts.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
In Kettlewell, if Belks B&B is full (or if you need a twin room), and in Malham if River House is full, we do have some alternative hotels.
The Racehorses in Kettlewell is a lively pub with refurbished bedrooms. The staff are attentive and friendly and the food hearty!
The Fox and Hounds in Starbotton is another possibility if Kettlewell is full, with a little extra, but easy, walking to reach it.
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: From £210
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement: From £165
Large party saving: Groups of more than 2 people (on an identical itinerary, on the same booking and booked at the same time) – discount of at least £25 per person
Maximum party size: 10
Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK and Ireland: £10-£40 (per pack, location dependent)
Taxi from Harrogate (best), Leeds or Leeds-Bradford Airport to Ripon or Pateley Bridge: From £29 (1-3 pers.), £36 (4-8) (Harrogate)
Route designed by:
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.