Inspiration

Day Walks

Three world-famous National Parks, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, wild moors, rolling hills, rugged coastline and stunning views around every turn. Yorkshire is made for walking.

The Three Peaks & the Yorkshire Dales

For those who like a real challenge, Yorkshire' superstars, the Three Peaks beckon. The Yorkshire Three Peaks walk is a famous challenge walk in the Yorkshire Dales, taking in three of the highest summits in the area; Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. 

Each of these hills is worthy of spending a day on but each year many walkers attempt to walk all three in less than 12 hours. The route is 24.5 miles (39km) long and has over 5,000 feet (1,600m) of ascent. If you make it in 12 hours or under, you can join the Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club, provided you've clocked out and in again at the Pen-y-ghent Café in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.  Horton-in-Ribblesdale is a popular starting point and has a train station, so save your energy for the walk and leave your car at home.

Keeping the Three Peaks beautiful - with a little help from our friends

Around 250,000 visitors explore the Three Peaks area every year, putting heavy demands on its footpaths and wildlife habitats. The Friends of the Three Peaks are individuals and organisations who want to protect and enhance this special area.  Anyone wanting to become a 'Friend' can join for a small fee. You'll receive regular newsletters, invitations to Friends walks and have the opportunity to get involved in looking after the Three Peaks paths.

Other walking suggestions for the Dales

For the classic Dales landscape of drystone walls, barns and wildflower meadows, head to Gunnerside, in Upper Swaledale. The traditional hay meadows bloom magnificently in late spring and early summer. 

While in Wensleydale, Great Shunner Fell is often overlooked by walkers as they head for the classic Three Peaks further south. Higher than Pen-y-ghent, and one of the few summits traversed by the Pennine Way, there are a number of routes up the Fell and the views from the top are well worth the effort. Try walking up from Hawes.

Combine a trip on the Settle-Carlisle Railway, England's most scenic railway journey with walks from stations along the line featured in the book DALES Rail Trails. The book includes 18 circular routes from stations and are a further 14 linear walks from station to station. What better way to enjoy a holiday than to base yourself at a village on the line and use the train to explore the stunning western Dales? Or reach the heart of this fabulous walking country from Leeds or Carlisle in little over an hour. The book also includes a guide to the Three Peaks Challenge Route and the 48-mile Six Peaks Trail. A proportion of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of this book will be donated to the Friends of the Three Peaks.

The Coniston Hotel and Country Estate is ideally located as a base to start and return from a days walking around the Yorkshire dales, with many local landmarks and sight seeing points of interest reachable by foot. The following walks are located nearby: Gordale Scar, Walking amongst the limestone scenery of the southern Dales is a real pleasure. As this walk crosses the Craven fault line the drama of the landscape is enhanced. Gordale Scar, Janet's Foss and Malham Cove are spectacular examples of what has happened on the fault line.

Finally, here's five classic walks which reveal the variety and beauty of the Dales:

  • Ingleton Waterfalls - a deservedly popular walk which explores a series of waterfalls on two separate rivers
  • Gordale Scar from Malham - this classic walk visits Janet's Foss, Malham Cove and Gordale Scar from Malham
  • Middleham Gallops - remarkable castles, abbeys, rivers, thoroughbred horses and great views in this 5 mile walk
  • Muker Hay Meadows - a short stroll through some of the most memorable hay meadows in England, at their best in May and June
  • Buckden Pike - as well as climbing one of the best fells in the Dales outside the Three Peaks, this walk explores Upper Wharfedale

North York Moors National Park

The walks are as stunning around the North York Moors National Park, with around 2,300 km of paths and tracks, it's a walker's and cyclist's paradise. Hidden in the heart is the sublime village of Rosedale, where time apparently stopped a century ago. Above it, on Spaunton Moor, wide paths scamper amongst heathery tufts, medieval crosses mark epic viewpoints.

The Hole of Horcum is Britain's answer to the Meteor Crater in Arizona. It may have been caused by glacial action rather than a cosmic impact, but you get the idea. Known locally as the "Devil's Punchbowl", local legend has it that the ampitheatre was made by a giant, who scooped up a large ball of earth and tossed it aside to create a nearby hill. There are some great options for getting here: make the most of the Moorsbus service or catch the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Newtondale and walk through the Hole to serene Levisham.

There are plenty of waymarked wildlife and riverside trails around the Moors National Park Centre at Danby too.

Other Day Walks Ideas

Yorkshire's chunk of the Peak District includes many areas of open moorland.  Enjoy a magnificent walk across peat moorland from the lovely Walkers are Welcome village of High Bradfield to reach Back Tor. Along the way you'll encounter gritstone stacks, clear flagged paths, and spectacular views over Agden Reservoir and Howden Edge.

The Meltham Way is a 9 mile circular route taking walkers through sites of scientific and scenic interest including Royd Edge, Blackmoorfoot Reservoir and Honley Wood. Or explore the National Trust's Marsden Moor Estate on the northern edge of the Peak District National Park, spreads across 6,000 acres of open moorland, peaks, crags, and reservoirs.  With a wealth of industrial and archaeological remains, it's easily accessed by public footpaths and the Pennine Way. Take one of their Trails, 5 or 8 miles long, or climb Pule Hill for a fantastic 360° view.

The Standedge Trail is also close by. A challenging 10 mile circular trail covering open moorland and reaching an altitude of 425 metres, this route gives you an insight into the county's industrial heritage and follows some of the original roads across the moor. The trail begins at Standedge Visitor Centre car park - walking boots and an OS map are essential on this route.

The walks are as stunning around the North York Moors National Park, with around 2,300 km of paths and tracks, it's a walker's and cyclist's paradise. Hidden in the heart is the sublime village of Rosedale, where time apparently stopped a century ago. Above it, on Spaunton Moor, wide paths scamper amongst heathery tufts, medieval crosses mark epic viewpoints.

The Hole of Horcum is Britain's answer to the Meteor Crater in Arizona. It may have been caused by glacial action rather than a cosmic impact, but you get the idea. Known locally as the "Devil's Punchbowl", local legend has it that the ampitheatre was made by a giant, who scooped up a large ball of earth and tossed it aside to create a nearby hill. There are some great options for getting here: make the most of the Moorsbus service or catch the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Newtondale and walk through the Hole to serene Levisham.

Get your walking boots on for the Penistone Hill Geology Trail, where sculpture and geology combine to create a fascinating walk through a long forgottenchapter of the South Pennines industrial heritage. This short circular trail from Haworth Parish Church, tells the story of the heritage of the area through its rocks, from their formation millions of years ago to the men who quarried and mined the land, to where we stand now. A booklet guides you around the 2 ½ mile trail taking in two quarries and various geological features as well as four sculptures by Stevan Tica. The booklet is available from visitor centres in Haworth and Hebden Bridge and costs £2. www.pennineprospects.co.uk