Walk the James Herriot Way

Fan of All Creatures Great and Small? Then, you’ll love this walk. The walk is a 52 mile circular route starting in Aysgarth and taking in majestic sights such as Hardraw Force, Aysgarth Falls and Bolton Castle.

Barns in beautiful Swaledale

Route

  • Distance: 52 miles
  • Start location: Aysgarth, Wensleydale
  • Finish Location: Aysgarth, Wensleydale

OS Walking Map & GPX Download

Our OS map below shows the full route. Under the map, you can find a GPX file download for your navigational device.

Download file for GPS

Walk Description

This walk is inspired by the walking holiday that vet and author James Herriot took with his son Jimmy around the Youth Hostels of Aysgarth, Grinton and Keld. There is no wonder Herriot loved this area so much and chose it for the location for many of his books.

This 52 mile long route takes four to five days to cover and combines gentle walks through valley bottoms with energetic climbs on the skylines. It takes you through parts of Swaledale and Wensleydale, and includes big sights such as Hardraw Force, Aysgarth Falls and Bolton Castle. The 52 miles can be broken into four 13 mile days, each one ending in a village with plenty of local amenities where you’re sure to get a warm Yorkshire welcome. 

The walk begins in the village of Aysgarth in Wensleydale where you can marvel at the spectacular Aysgarth Falls before following the River Ure to Askrigg. The village was used as the fictional Darrowby in the BBC TV series All Creatures Great and Small, based on the books by James Herriot. Just along from here you can visit the fantastic Mill Gill and Whitfield Force Waterfalls. Continue along the route to the village of Hardraw where you’ll find the epic Hardraw Force Waterfall which is England’s highest single drop waterfall, falling some 100ft.

The route then heads to the market town of Hawes before climbing Great Shunner Fell which is the highest point in Wensleydale and commands wonderful views over Ribblesdale to the south west and Swaledale to the north.

After descending the mountain to Thwaite the route then takes in the village of Keld and Gunnerside Moor before passing the beautiful valley of Gunnerside Gill.

Following the River Swale into Reeth. The route continues along to the inspiring 14th Century Castle Bolton passing through open moorland with it’s stunning heather (in the Summer months). 

The final section takes you back to Aysgarth, where you’ll be needing a much needed rest after a fantastic route taking in the very best of the Yorkshire Dales. 

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