The long and winding road

Long distance trails are a great alternative for a short break. Set yourself a personal challenge and grasp that fantastic sense of achievement that comes with tackling it.

Take a look at our pick of the best….

Image name walkers roseberry topping credit nymnpa and mike kipling 1 the 1 image from the post The long and winding road in
Roseberry Topping a famous peak on the North Yorkshire Moors near Great Ayton. Taken from Little Roseberry in August with the heather in bloom. Image Credit: NYMNPA & Mike Kipling.

White Rose Way

Distance: 104.4 miles
Duration: 5 – 7 days
Start and Finish: Leeds City Square to the Harbourside TIC at South Bay, Scarborough.
Summary: Created over 2011 and published in 2012, this easy going yet beautiful walk was created by experienced outdoor enthusiast Paul Brown.

The route leaves the modern city behind via Victorian and Edwardian parkland to enter the countryside which surrounds Leeds. Passing the film set of Emmerdale, the deer park of Harewood House thorugh to the ancient market town of Wetherby. Pretty yorkshire stone villages come and go en route to Tadcaster and then following a countryside Roman Road into suburbs of York

The walk then follows the line of the River Derwent into the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, passing Kirkham Abbey and into Malton. The chocolate-box village of Thornton le Dale is next before entering the North York Moors and the impossible beauty of the Wykeham and Dalby forests. Remote Harwood Dale is passed en route to Cloughton and the North Sea coast before a clifftop meander into the North Bay at Scarborough. A beach and headland stroll sees the walk terminate at the Harbourside TIC in the South Bay. The walk is very easy going with no mountains or hills to conquer, but passes through stunning countryside with a marvellous range of wildlife.

You would have to go far and wide to encounter a walk with such variety as this one. 

Bracken Way

Distance: 95 Miles

Duration: 7 Days

Start and Finish: The market town of Settle is the best base for the walk

Summary: A fine multi day walk visiting many of the best sites in the Yorkshire Dales. The walk explores the villages of Malham, Kettlewell, Askrigg, Hawes, Dent and Ingleton as well as the iconic sites of Malham Cove, Ingleton Falls, Aysgarth Falls and many more. The length of walking each day is quite long and there are some options to climb the nearby mountains if you want. All in all the walk offers a wonderful exploration of the Yorkshire Dales on foot.

Brontë Way

Brontë Way
Distance: 43 miles (69 km)
Duration: 4 days
Start: Oakwell Hall (“Fieldhead” in Charlotte Bronte’s novel “Shirley”), Birstall, near Bradford
Finish: Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham, near Burnley
Summary: Soak up the atmosphere of the Brontë landscapes first hand, on this trail which links key locations associated with the Brontë family. Highlights include the Spen Valley (where Shirley was set), the ruins at Top Withens and the wild moorland scenes associated with Wuthering Heights, as well as the village of Haworth.

Calderdale Way

Calderdale Way
 50 miles
Duration: 2-3 days
Start and finish: Circular from Clay House, Greetland
Summary: A circuit of Calderdale on high moorland paths and ancient packhorse routes, passing close to Brighouse, Heptonstall, Todmorden, Ripponden and Hebden Bridge. Numerous link paths connect the Calderdale Way to the valley floor, making the route suitable for people of most ages and experiences.

Chalkland Way

Distance: 37 miles
Duration: 2-3 days
Start and finish: Circular from Pocklington
Summary: Discover this waymarked circuit of the Wolds chalk landscape starting in the Walkers are Welcome town of Pocklington. Chalk covers an area extending from Reims in the south, to Flamborough head, where it disappears under the North Sea.

Coast to Coast

Distance: 190 miles (challenging)
Duration: 10-14 days
Start: St. Bees Head, Cumbria
Finish: Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire
Summary: The classic walk devised by the late Alfred Wainwright in 1973 to link the Irish Sea and the North Sea via the hills, moors and valleys of northern England, this route crosses two of our National Parks, the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. An area of beautiful scenery and high-level settings, the route includes some fairly demanding upland stretches, and remains for the largest part in highly remote areas.

The route is traditionally walked from west to east (St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay), so that the prevailing weather will be coming from behind, but you may wish to begin on the rugged Yorkshire coast, so as to have the Lake District section as the final stretch. Similarly, the walk can be as long or as short as you want – walk it in weekend sections, or walk it continuously.

Scenery and terrain is varied with valleys and arable land making it more straightforward walking, but the hills are high and the gradients sometimes steep. Many stages are bare and exposed, such as the North York Moors, and help may not always be close to hand. The way is unmarked and unless you are an experienced long-distance walker, it is advisable to take a companion. And before you set off, make sure you have the necessary map and compass skills, fitness and stamina, clothing and equipment.

The iconic Coast to Coast has to be on your walking bucket – regularly voted in the top 10 long distance walks in the World! Crossing the country through unparalleled beauty of the fells, Dales and Moors, exquisite timeless villages and staying in wonderful accommodation sampling good Yorkshire food and ale.

A Dales High Way

Distance: 90 miles
Duration: 5-9 days
Start: Saltaire, West Yorkshire
Finish: Appleby, Cumbria
Summary: An exhilarating and challenging 90 miles of high level walking, beginning in the World Heritage village of Saltaire, before crossing the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales. 

The route covers some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in the Dales from the dramatic limestone scars of Malhamdale to the lush upland hay meadows of Dentdale. It climbs Ingleborough and crosses the Howgill Fells in a dramatic ridge walk, ending in Appleby-in-Westmorland where walkers can catch the train to return on England’s most beautiful railway line – the Settle to Carlisle.

The Dales Way

Distance: 80 miles (130km)
Duration: 5 – 7 days
Start: Ilkley, West Yorkshire
Finish: Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Summary: Follows riverside paths as far as possible, making for an easy to more moderate long distance walk. There are also links from Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate enabling you to sample some of Yorkshire’s finest city life, and contrast this to the quiet rural settings of most of the trails. From Ilkley you’ll still have the satisfaction of walking the full length of Wharfedale, climbing out onto the roof of England, crossing the great Pennine watershed with impressive views of the Three Peaks then heading for the Lake District.

In 1970 Colin Speakman wrote the very first guide book to the Dales Way. Over 40 years on and his original book is now in its tenth incarnation.  It is almost certainly the only guide book to a long distance trail that has been in continuous production for over 40 years, with a living author! This definitive guide features detailed full colour strip maps of the entire route at a scale of 1:25,000 and can be purchased online from Amazon.

The Ebor Way

The Ebor Way
Distance: 70 miles (113km)
Duration: 5-6 days
Start: Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Finish: Ilkley, West Yorkshire
Summary: A gentle walk over the undulating Howardian Hills and through the low-lying but attractive countryside and woodland of the Vale of York. Utilising York’s old city walls, it heads along the River Wharfe towards Harewood before following the gritstone edges of The Chevin and Ilkley Moor. It links the Cleveland Way and Dales Way making possible a long distance challenge route of about 310 miles.

The Inn Way

The Inn Way… to the Yorkshire Dales – 6 days, 76 miles, 26 pubs
The Inn Way… to the North York Moors – 6 days, 89 miles, 31 pubs
Summary: Weave fabulous routes between some of Yorkshire’s finest country pubs, the perfect places for an end-of-walk pint, with roaring fires and real ales on tap.

‘The Inn Way’ series of award-winning guidebooks chart long distance, circular routes via traditional country pubs. Written by highly-acclaimed outdoor writer Mark Reid, these books provide all the information you need to plan your walking holiday through the heart of these beautiful and fascinating national parks.

Kirklees Way

Kirklees Way
Distance: 72 miles (116 km)
Duration: 6-12 days
Start and finish: Circular starting at Marsden, West Yorkshire
Summary: Takes walkers through the quaint villages, moorland and woodland of Kirklees, including the Upper Colne Valley, and past many historical sites, some linked to the Brontës.

Herriot Way

Distance: 52 miles
Duration: 4 days
Start and finish: Circular from Hawes, Yorkshire Dales
Summary: Based on a holiday taken by James Herriot with his son, which he described in his book ‘James Herriot’s Yorkshire’, the trail winds along Wensleydale before following old miners’ track over East Bolton Moor, and descending into Swaledale. It picks up the Pennine Way at the head of Swaledale and includes an ascent over Great Shunner Fell, before descending back to Hawes.

Minster Way

Distance:  45 miles (72 km)
Duration: 2-3 days
Start: Beverley Minster, East Yorkshire
Finsh: York Minster
Summary: The Minster Way is way-marked along its 50-miles between the impressive Minsters of Beverley and York. It crosses the chalk hills of the Yorkshire Wolds and the Vale of York. Beverley and York both have railway stations.

Nidderdale Way

Distance: 50 miles
Duration: 4 days
Start and finish: Circular from Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire
Summary: An ideal way to explore Nidderdale AONB, leaving only for a short stretch to go through the picturesque village of Ripley. The walk takes you through beautiful and contrasting countryside – from the spectacular uplands around Scar House Reservoir, to more gentle rolling pasture and river valleys along the course of the Nidd. Some quite challenging climbs along the route are rewarded by spectacular glimpses of Nidderdale.

Ribble Way

Ribble Way
Distance: 71 miles (114km)
Duration: 7 days
Start: Longton, Lancashire
Finish: Gayle Moor, Nr Ribblehead, Yorkshire Dales
Summary: A beautiful riverside walk along the Ribble to reach its source high in the fells of the Yorkshire Dales, near Ribblehead, passing below the three peaks of Ingelborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent along the way. The Ribble Valley has a fascinating history with evidence of Roman roads, ancient abbeys, 14th century halls and numerous landmarks from the industrial revolution, many of which have been incorporated into the route. The route is fully way-marked with the Ribble Way logo making it easy to follow. At Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the Pen-y-ghent Cafe maintains a log book for those completing the walk.

A Pennine Journey

Distance: 247 miles (96 miles in Yorkshire)
Duration: 18 days
Start and finish: Settle, North Yorkshire
Summary: A Pennine Journey has around 96 miles of its 247 mile long route within Yorkshire. The Journey, which traces a 1938 walk by the Lakeland Fells writer and illustrator Alfred Wainwright from Settle in North Yorkshire to Hadrian’s Wall and back, has been adapted into a walk for modern walkers and passes through some lovely parts of the Yorkshire Dales.

Sheffield Country Walk

Distance: 54.5 miles (87 km)
Start and finish: Circular from Eckington, on the outskirts of Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Summary: This challenging and varied route around the outskirts of the city passes many sites and buildings of archaeological, historical and industrial interest. It follows woodland and riverside paths, crossing undulating farmland and the open gritstone moorlands to the west of the city. It passes through via Eckington, Burbage, Grenoside and Meadowhall, in ten sections of around 8km/5 miles each, linked by public transport.

Six Dales Trail

Six Dales Trail
38 miles (61km)
Duration: 2-4 days
Start: Otley, Wharfedale, West Yorkshire
Finish: Middleham, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire
Summary: The Six Dales Trail winds across the entire length of the superb Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Along its way it crosses the five watersheds that separate the six dales that give the trail its name. From Wharfedale it passes over into Washburndale, then into Nidderdale, Colsterdale, Coverdale and finally Wensleydale. Along its length is everything from steep pastures to high heather moorland, stretches alongside fast-flowing rivers to paths through 18th century parkland. A full route guide is available to purchase at local outlets and from the Otley Walkers are Welcome.

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