The Dales Highway – A Video Walk
A Dales High Way is an exhilarating 90 mile walk across the glorious high country of the Yorkshire Dales. The walk starts in the historic World Heritage village of Saltaire, and following ancient trade routes, green lanes and packhorse trails wherever possible, heads north to Appleby-in-Westmorland.
Each day brings new experiences, from the darkly mysterious Rombalds Moor with its many examples of Stone Age rock carvings, to the dramatic limestone scars of Malhamdale. The route meanders along the banks of the River Ribble, where in autumn salmon can be seen leaping up the waterfalls of Stainforth Force. It climbs mighty Ingleborough, and in a breathtaking six-mile ridge walk crosses the velvety folds of the Howgill Fells.
This is a challenging walk but although you will spend your days in the splendid isolation of the hills, each evening the route takes you into market towns and villages where you can enjoy our Yorkshire hospitality.
The route crosses six distinct sections: Rombalds Moor, Malhamdale, Ingleborough, Dentdale, Howgill Fells and the Eden Valley. Seasoned walkers might tackle one section each day but most people will find the first two sections too long. It is better to break them and take your time to explore along the way.
Dales High Way Souvenirs
Walkers finishing the Dales High Way can now pick up souvenir mugs and Certificates of Completion, at the Appleby Tourist Information Centre. The TIC is located on Boroughgate in the town centre and is open every day through the summer, from 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 10.30am to 2.30pm on Sunday. The knowledgeable team will help you make the most of your visit and can provide you with all you need to know about where to stay, where to eat and activities in the area.
Most popular itinerary
A convenient way to undertake the walk is in eight days. The short first day gives you time to get to the start at Saltaire.
Day 1: Saltaire to Ilkley – 7.5 miles. Leave historic Saltaire along the canal towpath then climb through ancient woodland to the open moors. The going is generally good across the long whaleback of Rombalds Moor, before you head down a steep, rocky drop into the elegant spa town of Ilkley.
Day 2: Ilkley to Skipton – 11.4 miles. The start of day 2 takes you out of Ilkley to return to the route with a climb up onto the escarpment. Once there it is a long easy walk above the Wharfe valley past some spectacular examples of prehistoric Rock Art. There is an option for a break in the pretty mill village of Addingham before heading over Skipton Moor along a centuries-old track.
Day 3: Skipton to Malham – 12.9 miles. Today is a day of two halves. The climb up to Sharp Haw and later to Weets Top covers more of the grassy terrain of yesterday with a fine riverside walk in between. At Weets Top you cross into limestone country and the views towards Gordale Scar and distant Ingleborough are some of the finest on the walk. Leave the main route at Gordale Bridge to head into Malham village via the waterfall at Janet’s Foss.
Day 4: Malham to Stainforth – 10.3 miles. A shorter day with plenty of time to explore Settle on your way through. Leave Malham up the Cove Road and rejoin the main route again at the top of Malham Cove. From here the walking is most enjoyable past vast limestone outcrops, most spectacularly at Attermire Scar where you can take time out to inspect Jubilee and Victoria Caves. Leave Settle along the riverbank for an easy stroll to Stainforth. Look out for salmon leaping up the waterfalls in autumn.
Day 5: Stainforth to Chapel-le-Dale – 11.6 miles. Today is dominated by Ingleborough. From Stainforth the way climbs onto the limestone plateau then follows the beautiful, secluded valley of Crummack Dale before heading for the summit of Ingleborourgh via the southern flank of Simon Fell. If the ascent was long and easy the descent is just the opposite – a startlingly steep drop to Humphrey Bottom and the tiny hamlet of Chapel-le-Dale.
Day 6: Chapel-le-Dale to Sedbergh – 15.7 miles. Today is the longest day. You follow an ancient packhorse route, the Craven Way, all the way to Dent. Before you leave Chapel-le-Dale take a moment to visit the church and the memorial to the people who died building the Settle-Carlisle railway. The route around Whernside is lovely and the views as you head into Dentdale are spectacular. From Dent, climb over Frostrow where for the final few miles you can see the Howgills beckoning.
Day 7: Sedbergh to Newbiggin-on-Lune – 10.9 miles. The steep climb out of Sedbergh up Settlebeck Gill takes you onto the Howgills where you enjoy a stunning six-mile ridge walk over these open, rolling fells before dropping into tiny Bowderdale and a short stretch of road walking on country lanes to reach Newbiggin-on-Lune. Look out for the famous Howgill ponies roaming wild on the fells.
Day 8: Newbiggin-on-Lune to Appleby – 12.7 miles. The final day of the walk brings one last surprise. As you pass Sunbiggin Tarn to climb up beside Great Kinmond, the vast expanse of limestone pavement that is Great Asby Scar is revealed, framed by the towering skyline of the Pennines. This view accompanies as you follow Hoff Beck and after a short final climb, you see Appleby Castle ahead. Your walk may be over but the pleasure is not as you return with a breathtaking ride along England’s most beautiful railway, the Settle-Carlisle line.
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