The Dales High Way
Code: MDLDAPrint page
Hills & moorland
Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
The Dales High Way is a 90 mile glorious walk over the high-level countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. It begins at the Victorian model village of Saltaire and follows ancient drovers’ ways, packhorse tracks, and green lanes to the historic market town of Appleby in Westmoreland. Highlights include Rombald’s Moor with its Neolithic rock carvings, the dramatic scars, gorges and cliffs of Malhamdale, the Stainforth waterfalls, an ascent of Ingleborough; one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks and the green, tranquil valley of Dentdale and a ridge walk traversing the Howgill Fells. Wildlife is rich and varied; rivers provide habitat for a wide range of birdlife and the high moors also provide a summer home to Curlew, Lapwing, and Golden Plover.
Stay at two of our UK Country Houses as you discover The Dales Highway
Newfield Hall is a grand 19th century country house set in extensive grounds with magnificent views of the Yorkshire Dales.
One of our largest Country Houses, Newfield Hall has 48 bedrooms, in both the main building and the tastefully converted coach house. There are two lounges, a bar, dining room and heated swimming pool. Like all our Country Houses, Newfield Hall is tailored for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts with boot room, drying room and a Discovery Point.
Thorns Hall has 25 newly-refurbished bedrooms located in both the main building and the cottages across the courtyard. The house retains many original features in the cosy lounge and bar, and charming upstairs dining room.
Day 1: Arrival Day
Day 2: Saltaire to Ilkley
Commencing its 90-mile journey at the Victorian model village of Saltaire the Dales High Way crosses the River Aire and ascends gently to the high heather-clad Rombald’s Moor which lies between Airedale and Wharfedale. It is made up of three local moors, the most famous of which, and our destination today, is Ilkley Moor. Continuing on good paths and just before we reach the highest point for today at Lanshaw Lad we pass the stone circle known as the Twelve Apostles believed to date from the Bronze Age. After passing the Victorian bath house at White Wells we descend to the spa town of Ilkley. 7.5 miles (12kms) with 1,050 feet (320m) of ascent and 657 feet (200m) of descent.
Day 3: Ilkley to Skipton
An impressive long craggy escarpment which dominates Ilkley and the Wharfe valley leads us by the Swastika Stone which has greeted travellers passing this way since the Iron Age, and on towards the the Neolithihc Piper Crag Stone which juts out above the moor edge. After crossing Addingham High Moor the route drops to join an old Turnpike Road (a toll road from 1755 to 1803 and known locally as the ‘Roman road)’ above Addingham. The route ascends to Skipton Moor with its impressive vista, and then descends into Skipton, a busy market town known as the ‘Gateway to the Dales’ and which lies in the Aire Gap. 11.4 miles (18.3kms) with 1,200 feet (365m) of ascent and 1,330 feet (405m) of descent.
Day 4: Skipton to Malham
We ascend out of Skipton up to the small peak of Sharp Haw on grassy terrain. The route descends to the village of Flasby backed by the shapely Flasby hills, and then follows the delightful beckside to the small hamlet of Hetton. Continuing over grassy terrain we ascend to Weets Top, where, on a clear day, the panoramic view is magnificent, and where the dramatic and spectacular change in the landscape of Malhamdale will be obvious. We descend to Malham and drop into the village by the beautiful waterfall of Janet’s Foss. 12.9 miles (20.8kms) with 1,970 feet (600m) of ascent and 1,690 feet (515m) of descent.
Day 5: Malham to Stainforth
Today our route takes us through some of the UK’s most remarkable limestone scenery. Leaving the village of Malham we quickly arrive at Malham Cove which was cut back and formed by glacial melt waters that poured down the impressive dry valley of Watlowes. We pick our way over the limestone pavement at the top of the Cove and ascend gently through Watlowes dry valley before ascending more steeply to Kirkby Fell. We continue through the limestone scenery via Attermire Scar and Victoria Cave (so named because it was rediscovered on the day of Queen Victoria;s accession in 1837), and by Warrendale Knotts into the lovely Dales market town of Settle. From Settle a fine riverside walk along the banks of the Ribble leads to the waterfalls and the 14th century packhorse bridge at Little Stainforth. 10.3 miles (16.6kms) with 1,480 feet (450m) of ascent, and 1,510 feet (460m) of descent.
Day 6: Stainforth to Chapel le Dale
Our walk through magnificent limestone scenery continues today as we ascend out of Stainforth on to the limestone plateau to pass Smearset Scar. After dropping into the southern end of the lovely and secluded valley of Crummockdale we ascend once more into a dramatic landscape of broad limestone terraces. Following an old drover’s road we continue round the southern flank of Simon Fell, through striking limestone pavements, and ascend by an easy but quite lengthy route to the summit of Ingleborough (724m). The rocky summit is vast and offers excellent views all around. We leave the summit by the same way and descend, initially very steeply but then on a paved path, to Chapel le Dale. 11.6 miles (18.7kms) with 2,300 feet (700m) of ascent, and 1,870 feet (570m)of descent.
Day 7: Chapel le Dale to Whernside Manor, Dent
The entire path today follows an ancient packhorse route, the Craven Way, which comes up from Ingleton. After leaving Chapel le Dale and passing by Bruntscar and Winterscales it is not long before we come to, and pass beneath, the awesome Ribbleshead Viaduct with its 24 arches, Although it is a man-made structure it actually seems to enhance the natural beauty of the landscape. After passing a lonely signal box the path leaves the railway and ascends steeply around Whernside’s northern flank, another delightful section of the walk, to arrive at Wold’s End in Dentdale, where the valley opens up below in all its stunning beauty. A short distance further on brings us to Whernside Manor and the coach for our short journey to Sedbergh. 8.7 miles (14kms) with 1,050 feet (320m) of ascent, and 1,495 feet (455m) of descent.
Day 8: Whernside Manor, Dent to Sedbergh
We start our walk along Deepdale beck and join the River Dee which leads us into Dentdale, possibly the greenest and loveliest of Yorkshire Dales, and into the village of Dent founded by Norse settlers. We wander through Dent’s narrow cobbled streets and continue along a riverside walk for a short distance before ascending over Frostrow to Sedbergh. On clear days there are stunning views of the steep-sided rolling hills of the Howgill Fells. With a shorter day today there should be free time to explore Sedbergh, England’s official Book Town. 7 miles (11.2Kms) with 625 feet (190m) of ascent, and 803ft (245m) of descent.
Day 9: Sedbergh to Newbiggin on Lune
The route now crosses the whole of the Howgill Fell range in a wonderful six mile long and a grassy and wide ridge walk. The Howgills are unique in character and with their steep sided velvety folds in a compact group they could not be more different from the earlier limestone scenery. From Sedbergh we ascend via the charming Settlebeck Gill to the rounded tops of Arant Haw, Calders, and The Calf, the highest summit in the Howgills at 676m. On a clear day the views are magnificent with the Yorkshire Three peaks, the Lakeland Fells and the northern Pennines all visible in the distance. From The Calf the route continues along the ridge above Bowderdale and then drops down to the valley and finally on a short section of a country lane we arrive at the small village of Newbiggin on Lune. 10.9 miles (17.5kms) with 2,185 feet (665m) of ascent, and 1,775 feet (540m) of descent.
Day 10: Newbiggin on Lune to Appleby in Westmoreland
The final stage of the walk has a relaxed, winding down feel to it. It begins by going over Ravenstonedale Moor to reach the isolated and splendid Sunbiggin Tarn, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Then just when yesterday you were thinking you had left well behind the limestone scenery, a vast expanse of spectacular limestone pavement opens up before you. This is Great Asby Scar, part of the Orton Fell range which sports some of the finest limestone pavements in the UK outside of the Ingleborough and Malham areas. From the top of the scar the views of the Eden Valley are breathtaking. A steady descent takes us to Great Asby, with the last leg of the walk along a lovely beckside to the picturesque Rutter Mill and its delightful waterfall. The route continues alongside Hoff beck, over the ancient crossing at Bandley Bridge, for a final short ascent to the castle in Appleby, an attractive market town. 12.7 miles (20.4kms) with 706 feet (215m) of ascent, and 1,085 feet (330m) of descent.
Day 11: Departure Day
The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather, tides and other external factors.