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Walks by Bus & Train in the Dales

There are numerous walks in the Yorkshire Dales that are accessible by public transport. By taking the train or bus you are being kinder to the environment, and you don't have to plan a circular walk to return to your starting point, so you can enjoy a wider variety of views.

This leaflet provides details of a small selection of the many walks that are possible:

  1. The Rim of the Howgills
  2. Dent to Ribblehead
  3. Low Level Swaledale
  4. Horton to Settle
  5. Crummackdale
  6. Over Bordley
  7. Kettlewell to Grassington
  8. Bolton Abbey to Grassington

Please note that due to the rural nature of the National Park some of the local buses only run infrequently. Make sure that you allow plenty of time for your walk and check the bus and train times carefully, especially the times of the last journey home.

For full details of bus and train services in the Dales:

  • Call into a National Park Information Centre
  • Telephone Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 for bus information
  • Telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 48 49 50
  • Visit or

Walk 1: The Rim of the Howgills

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A wide range of views with waterfalls, fells and pasture land on a walk from the Cross Keys Hotel back to Sedbergh.

Distance: 5¼ miles (8.4 km), mostly level or gentle slopes.

Walking time: about 2¾ hours

Getting There: Take bus service 564 from Kendal or Sedbergh (Dalesman Inn) and alight at the eighteenth century Cross Keys unlicensed hotel on A683, 1½ miles north of Cautley Church.

The Route: About 40 yds up from the Cross Keys is a sign and footbridge over the river. Cross and go leftwards. Shortly one joins the bridleway, go left. After 400 yards, follow the bridleway round a curve to the right. Then look leftwards for a footbridge over the tributary stream and a path leading to it - that is the way back to Sedbergh.

For the optional section to view Cautley Spout, stick with the well-defined path heading up the side valley for about two-thirds of a mile (say 20 minutes walking). By that stage you'll have a good view of the waterfall. Return on the same path almost to the main river and turn right over the footbridge mentioned earlier.

Walk forward about 80 yards with a wall on your right to join the track coming from the ford. Bear right ascending to the bottom edge of the moorland. Keep ahead on a well used track. For much of the first 2 miles it is just outside the fields, but occasionally passes through an enclosed section. After crossing a small stream this route become a road, but continue ahead. Pass the farmstead at Thursgill, through the next gate across the road and cross the dip created by a side stream.

Soon after that is the house at Ellerthwaite, and immediately after it look for a footpath sign on the right reading "Underbank 1m". Follow that field path passing farms at Hollin Hall and Stone Hall. Pass Underbank on your right bearing slightly left onto the track that, in about 400 yds, brings you to the edge of Sedbergh. Continue forward to the main road and then bear right on the footway into the town centre.

Walk 2: Dent to Ribblehead

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High hills, moors, valleys and views all the way (both outward and return). Walking from Dent Station to Ribblehead

Distance: 9.2 miles (14.7 km), Easy gradients after the first ascent. Good surfaces.

Walking time: about 4½ hours, plus any stops.

Getting There: Use the Leeds - Settle - Carlisle rail service from any point between Leeds and Carlisle. Alight at Dent station. See Railtrack Journey Planner for times.

The Route: From the platforms walk down the station approach to the surfaced road, turn uphill and walk on the verges, where possible, for one mile. The road starts to ease leftwards there, but look for the wide bridleway lane turning right. Take this and follow it round the contour for 2 miles to its junction with another wide track.

Turn right descending Arten Gill. After one mile pass under the railway and 10 minutes later you will meet the Dentdale to Newby Head road. Turn left along it walking on the right-hand side and watching out carefully for cars. This is about a ¾ mile (say 20 minute) stretch with the Youth Hostel just over half way along. At Bridge End look for the entrance onto the next section of path on the right. Cross the bridge, turn left and follow the path aiming at the old farm ahead. Continue beyond in the same general direction onto a slight ridge and shortly veer slightly right to the mouth of the railway tunnel.

From there follow the track south-westwards through conifers at first and then across open moor in a straight line over the top of the rail tunnel. Once the railway reappears, our route simply parallels it with the tracks near at hand on the right. Keep going to the viaduct and finally reach the pub and station at Ribblehead.

Getting back: Return by train on the same line.

Walk 3: Low level Swaledale

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Walking along lanes and paths close to the river from Gunnerside to Reeth in one of Yorkshire's most beautiful valleys.

Map: Outdoor Leisure Map No.30

Distance: Normal Route: 6½ miles ( 10½ km); Temporary Route: 7¼ miles ( 11½ km) Easy walking and virtually level.

Walking time: 3¼ hours, but temporary route about 25 minutes longer.

Getting There: Catch Monday to Saturday bus service 30 from Richmond, or Sunday bus 830 from Darlington and Richmond.

The Route: From the main square in Gunnerside head south on the B.6270 with Gunnerside Beck on your left and cross the Swale at New Bridge by its confluence with the Beck. Continue on the road as it rises a little and turns right, then left to a minor junction. Turn left there, over the cattle grid, and bear left straight after it, taking the lower of two alternatives. This old, enclosed lane continues for a mile and a half until it comes to a junction with a slightly wider road just after Haverdale House. Turn left.

After 300 yards, a road goes off to the left. Ignore it and continue straight ahead. In 650 yards, just after a curve to the left and the properties at Low Houses, take the left hand alternative at the fork. This is Low Lane which continues for 1½ miles where it meets another road. Joining that road go forward, pass the end of the road to Scabba Wath Bridge, and on for a further ½ mile. Leave the road there bearing left onto a bridleway close to the river. After almost a mile, the bridleway turns half-right away from the river for ¼ mile which brings you to a junction of paths.

In normal times, turn left there to the foot-bridge over the Swale. At the far end of that bridge turn half-right to another bridge over a minor stream. Bear left ascending up the enclosed path and follow it where it turns right. This leads into the edge of Reeth. Take the second lane left to reach the centre of the village. Unfortunately the bridge was washed away in the winter of 2000/2001 and is not expected to be replaced until late 2002.

As a temporary measure, continue straight ahead on the bridleway for a further two-thirds of a mile where you join a surfaced road. Bear slightly left along it into Grinton village. Turn left at the road junction and over Grinton Bridge. Immediately after the bridge, turn left onto a field path which soon curves gently right to the side of the Arkle Beck. Follow this upstream to re-join the road, then left along the road, over the bridge, and into Reeth.

Getting back: Return on the same buses.

Walk 4: Horton to Settle

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Part of upper Ribblesdale taking in both valley scenery and a taste of the higher country.

Map: Outdoor Leisure Map No.2

Distance: 6.8 miles ( 10.9 km).

Walking time: 3½ hours

Getting There: 3 buses per day Settle to Horton (one on Sundays). The Leeds - Settle - Carlisle railway line serves Horton and Settle.

The Route: From the station, head towards the village for 300 yards and turn right at the footbridge. If starting from the village, go through the main car park alongside B.6479, pass the toilets and over the wooden footbridge. Either way, take the path which descends a few steps into the field by the end of the footbridge, cross onto the riverside and follow it downstream for almost 1¼ miles to Cragghill Farm.

Stay on the riverside as the river starts to swing left. Where the path leads into a large open field, turn half-right initially across to a solitary tree, and then ease a little further right following a faint ridge and track to a gateway and ladder-stile on the far side of the field. Beyond the stile, follow an old walled lane until it passes under the railway and meets a surfaced access road. Turn left there to a T-junction at Helwith Bridge, left past the pub, over the river bridge, and right at another junction to the main road (B.6479).

Go left on the roadside for only about 50 yards. Where the road swings left, leave it and continue ahead into a unmade lane. This rises gently for 350 yards, bears right, then left and divides. Take the right-hand lane and follow it for just over half a mile. Cross the stile on the right there onto a path initially along the wall side. This path is well used and visible all the way down the slope with stiles at each wall acting as markers. When Stainforth village comes into sight it is to the left of the path line, but the path bears leftwards in the last 3 fields into the village.

Walk into the village and forward over the Stainforth Beck bridge to the Craven Heifer. Opposite their front door, turn left up a side street to the T-junction at the top, go right 7 or 8 yards, then left up an access between houses. Bear right at the top and over the stile into the end of a field. Walk forward and, as the field opens out, bear left following a track to the top gate opposite. Through that, keep easing leftwards following a line of yellow marker posts (do not follow wheelmarks towards the barn), then alongside the top fence. Go through a small gate in that fence and slant up the wood on the obvious path. Above the wood, continue forward for 400 yards and bear left as you approach Lower Winskill Farm to pass close to the farmhouse.

Continue up their access lane for almost 150 yards, then turn right at the sign and stile into a field. Cross the field bearing slightly left to a gateway in the far corner. Beyond that, the path goes right briefly to a fine viewpoint. It then descends quite steeply through woodland initially, skirts the edge of old quarry workings on the right, and forward as a lane to Langcliffe. After the first few houses in the village take the left fork to come out by the school, carpark, Village Institute, Church and Green in this attractive village.

Here one meets the road from Littondale, turn right, follow it through the village and out of the far end to the main road. At that junction, go right just 10 yards, cross the road (carefully) to the gap stile and narrow walled lane which goes down the slope, over the railway, to the cul-de-sac road serving the mill and caravan site. Turn left along that for a third of a mile to meet B.6479 again and walk along the footway, past Watershed Mill and into Settle.

Getting back: Use the same bus or train services as shown above.

Walk 5: Crummackdale

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A superb walk in the high limestone country of Craven, following old green lanes climbing out of Crummackdale over Moughton Scars where ancient junipers grow, into Upper Ribblesdale.

Map: Outdoor Leisure No 2 Yorkshire Dales Western area

Distance: 7½ miles Some moderate ascents so care needed.

Getting There: Take the Leeds-Morecambe line trains to Clapham. Also bus service 581 operates from Settle to Clapham and Ingleton and Settle to Horton (not Sundays).

The Route: From Clapham Station follow the road (with sidewalk) into Clapham village (shops, toilets, cafés, pubs). Continue to top of village and right by church along enclosed track, Thwaite Lane, under tunnels.

After just over half a mile, path left over stile leads over low fields to Norber Erratics - follow path around edge to Nappa Scar and Norber Brow. Left along lane, then take the field path at a stile at the junction which crosses fields before descending to Austwick Beck and along the old green way to Moughton.

Steep ascent up Moughton Scar - keep ahead over limestone pavements to wall, over stile then left alongside wall to join Three Peaks walk at stile. Turn right along the main path down to Horton Station. Pubs, toilets, cafes in village.

Getting Back: Return from Horton in Ribblesdale Station (Clapham Day Return tickets are valid from Horton) for Settle, Skipton, Leeds or 581 (infrequent) bus to Settle.

Walk 6: Over Bordley

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A beautiful two dale walk between Malhamdale and Wharfedale over high pastures and through woods, with some moderate ascents. Careful pathfinding required so a good map is essential.

Map: Outdoor Leisure No 2 Yorkshire Dales Western area

Distance: 9 miles Some steep ascents so care needed.

Getting There: Bus service 804 serves Malham from Leeds, Bradford and Skipton on Saturdays all year and also on Summer Sundays from Easter to the end of October.

The Route: From Malham (cafes, pubs, shops, toilets) follow the Pennine Way southwards, then the popular path eastwards to Janet's Foss. Turn right into lane to pass Gordale Scar entrance then steep climb up to where a track climbs to medieval cross at Weets Top (viewpoint). Take the stile, left, some 100 metres before Weets Top. Cross to woodland ahead with stile in the wall corner, then descend to Park House farm. Left past farm, bearing right past Bleak Bank and Low Laithe (barn) before path descends fields towards Bordley Beck, then left along path above Bordley Hall. Right over bridge the sharp left uphill to join track into the hamlet of Bordley.

Bear right through Bordley but as the lane climbs uphill, follow path right, signposted, which leads along wall climbing uphill before descending dry valley, then up again over stiles to Higher Height Holes past ancient field system. Path turns right at Heights Laithe, then left to Height House, descending alongside Cow Close Wood into Wood Nook Caravan site. Follow lane past quarry entrance, left at junction to Skirethornes, then path right through fields and alongside walls to Threshfield (village inn).

Continue past village green to Burnsall road (bus stop for services to Skipton and Ilkley), turn right for 50 metres to gate for fieldpath over old railway line to Threshfield School. Left along lane then first right to riverside path for bridge at Linton Falls and narrow enclosed way up to Grassington. Choice of pubs and cafes in the village.

Getting Back: Buses 67A and 72 for Skipton, 74 for Ilkley and 800 for Ilkley and Leeds all leave from Grassington Travel Interchange.

Walk 7: High level from Kettlewell to Grassington

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One of the loveliest section of the Dales Way with panoramic views along the whole of Upper Wharfedale.

Map: Outdoor Leisure No 2 Yorkshire Dales Western area.

Distance: 7 miles One moderate ascent, but once height is gained this is a relatively easy walk.

Getting There: Bus service 72 runs from Skipton and Grassington to Kettlewell - (connections off service 74 on weekdays from Ilkley) On Sundays take bus 800 direct from Wakefield, Leeds and Ilkley to Kettlewell (connections from Keighley and Skipton on bus 67A). Alight in Kettlewell.

The Route: Follow the lane to the east of village to the church. Turn right past the church, but then left through a gate along a track, turning right at the path which leads through a series of stiles (waymarked) which joins the quiet lane to the east of the Wharfe near Scargill House.

Continue immediately past Scargill, then up the track by stile and gate which climbs up through woods. As track levels out above the wood, turn right along the scar and follow a long level path along the limestone escarpment with superb views, above Swinber Scar and past Conistone Pie.

Where the path descends into a shallow ravine above Conistone Dib, go through pedestrian gates but keep the same direction, maintaining height along the clear path across high pastures over a series of stiles. Path goes through ancient pastures and limestone scars - keep same direction with main path across Lea Green behind Grass Wood, eventually descending though stiles towards Town Head Farm where the diverted path now turns sharp left before farm uphill over stiles to join an enclosed track.

Turn right here to reach Chapel Street in Grassington - left to village centre for shops, pubs, cafes. Toilets are by the National Park Centre and transport interchange.

Getting Back: Buses 67A, 72, 74, 800 all leave from Grassington Interchange outside the National Park Centre.

Walk 8: Strid Woods and Burnsall

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Another remarkably beautiful section of the Dales Way, this time taking in the romantic wood around the Strid Wood and the lovely village of Burnsall

Map: Outdoor Leisure No 2 Yorkshire Dales Western area

Distance: 9 miles Easy, level walking along popular riverside with few path-finding problems.

Getting there: Bus services 74 from Ilkley, 800/805 from Wakefield, Leeds and Ilkley.

The Route: From Bolton Abbey's main bus stop in the village centre take the "hole in the wall" which leads to the path down to the bridge and stepping stones below Bolton Priority, and follow the walk along the far side of the river to the wooden bridge and Cavendish Pavilion (refreshments, toilets).

Take the path along the main train through Strid Woods to the awesome Strid, keeping on the same side of the river along the rocky path which ascends through woodland before finally emerging near the Nidderdale Aqueduct and path to Barden Bridge (refreshments, return buses at Barden Tower nearby).

Follow the lane to where the path leads back to the riverside, and along the river to Howgill, the Dales Way continuing on the other side of the stream back along the river through to Burnsall (toilets, cafes, pubs). Path continues alongside the Red Lion Inn past Loup Scar to the suspension bridge.

Cross the bridge, continuing along the riverside eventually reaching the stepping stones to Linton Church. Turn right through the gate to the lane past the trout farm; look for stile on the left which leads to path across fields to Linton Falls.

Left up the narrow enclosed way ("Snake Walk") to Grassington National Park Centre and Transport Interchange - and toilets. Left to village centre for shops, pubs, cafes.

Getting Back: Buses 67A and 72 for Skipton and buses 74, 800/805 all leave from Grassington Interchange outside the National Park Centre.

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