Pennine Bridleway National Trail Walks

in Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire Dales

Today’s Walk of the Day is the Pennine Bridleway National Trail, stretching a vast two-hundred and five miles from the Derbyshire Peak District all the way up to Ravenstonedale in the Yorkshire Dales.

Large parts of the trail are dog-friendly and wheelchair accessible as there are no stiles to clamber over. The surface of the trail is also well kept and so this a way for any individual to get active.

As the trail is so long, there are a number of different walks that you can do along the way. We’ve decided to highlight two circuits: The Settle Loop and The Mary Towneley Loop.

The Settle Loop

The Settle Loop is a ten mile circuit of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail. The route incorporates incredible views of the Yorkshire Dales and of the famous Malham Tarn (as seen in Harry Potter). The picturesque town of Settle is the start and end point for the loop, it has good parking options and is fairly easily accessible via public transport.

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The Mary Towneley Loop

This is for a much more experienced walker and will even take them a few days. At 47 miles in length, this mammoth route takes you across the south Pennine valleys. It will lead you to Todmorden and past Stoodley Pike. This loop is not for everyone but will surely leave you with a magnificent sense of accomplishment on completion. The route can be joined at any point though we would recommend Hebden Bridge as there are great things to do

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The Full Pennine Bridleway National Trail

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Walk Route

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  • Distance: 205
  • Start Location: Middleton Top, Derbyshire
  • Finish Location Name: Ravenstonedale, Cumbria

OS Route Map & GPX Download

The Ordnance Survey map below shows the full walk route, in pink. You can use this (try the full screen mode) on your smartphone to guide you where to go.

Download file for GPS

Download the GPX file for your GPS navigation device using the pink link above, and you’ll be able to use this walk on your own devices.

Walk Description

The Pennine Bridleway is a remarkable trail, standing alone as the only National Trail in the United Kingdom that welcomes not just walkers, but also horse riders and cyclists. Spanning a whopping 205 miles, this unique path meanders its way from the charming area of Middleton Top in the Peak District to the picturesque village of Ravenstonedale in the Yorkshire Dales. Not merely a pedestrian jaunt, the trail leads you through a mesmerizing tapestry of natural landscapes. It’s like a time machine on foot—or wheel, or hoof—as you follow historical packhorse routes, drovers’ roads, and ancient bridleways. These are paths with history in their very soil, trodden by traders and travelers for hundreds of years.

When you reach the section of the trail that slices through the Yorkshire Dales, you’re in for a feast of visual wonders. Here, the landscape transforms into a dramatic realm of limestone formations. Along this stretch, you’ll encounter unparalleled views of Malham Tarn—a glacial lake of remarkable scientific interest. As for the renowned Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough, and Whernside, they stand like ancient sentinels overseeing the land. Together, these peaks form a challenging circuit popular among hikers, known as the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Also, don’t miss out on the Settle Loop, a 10-mile circuit that offers its own array of scenic vistas and is a favorite among local outdoor enthusiasts.

What sets the Pennine Bridleway apart is its attention to inclusivity. A majority of the trail is devoid of stiles—those wooden or metal structures you usually have to climb over—making it easier to traverse. This makes it particularly accessible for those using all-terrain wheelchairs. It’s a trail designed to be enjoyed by as many people as possible, breaking down barriers to the beauty of the British countryside.

As you journey along the trail, you’ll pass through historical Yorkshire towns that seem to spring straight out of a Brontë novel. Hebden Bridge, for example, is a quaint town that was once a hub for textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution. Today, it’s renowned for its artsy vibe, independent shops, and lovely cafes. Amidst these urban pockets, you’ll also discover tranquil villages that feel as if they’ve been frozen in time, preserving the pastoral essence of Yorkshire.

To quench your thirst or fill your belly, you’ll encounter a plethora of welcoming pubs, charming cafes, and other convenient accommodation options. Each of these establishments is a potential chapter in your Pennine Bridleway experience, providing local flavors and warm hospitality. Visitor attractions pepper the route, offering glimpses into regional culture, history, and natural wonders.

Whether you’re planning a short day trip to absorb a specific segment of the Pennine Bridleway or contemplating a more ambitious multi-day expedition, this trail offers a flexible and enriching experience. No matter how you choose to engage with it, the Pennine Bridleway offers a panoramic lens into the diverse landscapes, historical riches, and local communities of northern England.

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