The Richmond Way starts from the main gate of Lancaster Castle and ends below the great keep of Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire. The walk encompasses sections of the Lower Lune Valley, the limestone country around Ingleborough and Whernside, the moorlands and fells of the central Pennines and the central and Northern Valleys of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The route is almost entirely along field, woodland and riverside paths, ancient tracks and quiet country lanes.
From the historic city of Lancaster the route follows the River Lune and its tributary, the Greta, upsteam to Ingleton in North Yorkshire passing through the ancient villages of Halton, Aughton, Melling, and Burton-in-Londsdale.
At Ingleton, renowned for its glens and waterfalls, the Richmond Way enters an upland landscape dominated by limestone. The route crosses Scales Moor en route to the head of Ribblesdale where it passes beneath the famous Ribblehead Viaduct. Just beyond Ribblehead, the Richmond Way adopts an old Roman Road which it follows to Wether Fell via Cam End and Dodd Fell Hill. The route reaches 590 metres (1935ft) at its highest point and for 10 exhilarating miles sustains a height above 305 metres (1000ft).
The Richmond Way enters Raydale, a secluded tributary valley of Wensleydale. After exploring the lower reaches of Raydale the route enters Wensleydale the largest of the Yorkshire Dales. After passing through the villages of Bainbridge and Askrigg the Richmond Way seeks out an old drovers’ road which it follows to Castle Bolton, whose linear green is dominated by a medieval fortress where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth I. From Castle Bolton the route strikes out in a northerly direction crossing Redmire Moor before entering Swaledale via the summit of Greets Hill.
The final leg of the Richmond Way starts from the ancient village of Grinton and follows the River Swale downstream to Marrick Priory before exploring the old lead mining villages of Marrick and Marske. Just beyond Marske the route follows a delightful fellside terrace above the looping Swale. On the outskirts of Richmond the route rejoins the Swale which it follows downstream to Richmond Bridge. A final crossing of the Swale is made before the route enters the historically important town of Richmond where it terminates below the great keep of Richmond Castle.