Follow in the footsteps of this indomitable woman, whose life and work still influence the Yorkshire Dales and the Eden Valley, 400 years after her birth.
This walk commences at Skipton Castle at the southern end of the Yorkshire Dales, passing many fine old houses and historic castles in its northerly progress towards its completion at Brougham Castle, just south of Penrith in Cumbria, a walk distance of 100 miles, which can be comfortably undertaken in six days. However, it is probably worth considering extending this time, in order to do justice to the many interesting buildings to be encountered en-route!
The walk retraces the journeys regularly undertaken by Lady Anne Clifford during the mid-1600s, when, in her sixties she set about rebuilding her castles at Skipton, Pendragon, Appleby, Brough and Brougham, as well as several churches, alms-houses, and other important buildings in the area. It passes through some of the finest scenery in England!
Lady Anne Clifford was the last in the line of that great family, the Cliffords who owned vast estates extending from Skipton in Craven, to Brougham in Westmorland. Much of the land included wild and rugged country at the head of Wharfedale and Wensleydale, including the Mallerstang valley in the Vale of Eden.
Lady Anne’s Way – Video
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Day 1: Skipton to Grassington (14.4m) Leaving Skipton,a gentle walk over Embsay moor via the villages of Embsay and Eastby, to Barden Towers, and its historical associations. Progressing along the River Wharfe, the day ends in the attractive village of Grassington, with its cobbled streets and interesting alleyways.
Day 2: Grassington to Buckden (11.8m) Entry into limestone scenery via the fellsides, passing Iron-age settlements,climbing steadily towards the disused lead mines on Conistone Moor. From here, a gradual descent to the village of Kettlewell, and on to Starbotton, and another gentle stroll along the banks of the River Wharfe to Buckden, and a second overnight stay.
Day 3: Buckden to Hawes (17.5m) The route takes to the high ground initially, with a steep climb to reach the top of Stake Moss, and then some walking on good tracks with extensive views all the way down to Carpley Green, on the slopes of Addlebrough. Passing into Wensleydale and Nappa Hall, with its associations with Lady Anne, we now commence a valley walk to the delightful town of Askrigg, and then through fields and pastures to reach the market town of Hawes, to end day 3.
Day 4: Hawes to Kirkby Stephen (16.5m) Another walk of great beauty, encompassing a high route over the fells from Wensleydale to Mallerstang, and known as the “Lady Annes Highway”, but commencing through the meadows to the west of Hawes, and following the course of the River Ure. There follows a stiff climb up Cotter End, where the delights of the “highway” begin to unfold. Excellent walking with magnificent views all the way to Mallerstang, and the start of the Upper Eden Valley. Following the course of the Eden downstream, we end the day in the picturesque market town of Kirkby Stephen.
Day 5: Kirkby Stephen to Appleby (15.3m) Leaving the Mallerstang valley and its wild and dramatic scenery, we enter the Eden Valley, where, on reaching Brough, we head westwards towards our journeys end. There is much of historical interest in todays walk, which encompasses the ruins of Brough Castle, Ormside Cross and church, and finishes in Appleby with its splendid castle, church, and alms-houses.
Day 6: Appleby to Penrith (19.9m) A low-level walk today, with superb views of the North Pennines, passing through delightful red sandstone villages, which have changed little for generations. Eventually, the magnificent ruins of Brougham Castle are reached and the end of the Lady Anne Walk, and then a short stretch of riverside walking to arrive at the outskirts of Penrith.