Wainwright's Howgills & Dales
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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.
Combining part of Wainwright’s Walks on the Howgill Fells and Walks in Limestone Country, this trail celebrates the best of these areas. From Kirkby Stephen to Settle, our journey goes through quiet, picturesque countryside and over a number of key peaks, including The Calf, which is the highest point in the Howgills, Middleton Fell, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent. We explore history including iconic railway viaducts, lime kilns and tales of witches and admire waterfalls and the much photographed Ribblehead Viaduct.
Thorns Hall established a foundation in Sedbergh in 1535 and it still retains its historic charm with wood-panelled rooms, fireplaces and a cobbled courtyard outside. It's an amazing house to visit all year round with a lush garden and magnificent hills nearby.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Full board, including an evening meal on arrival to breakfast on departure
• Reception hall
• Two lounges, with wood panelling and open fires
|• Free WiFi in public rooms
• Range of board games and books
• Upstairs dining room
• Formal gardens at the front and side of the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the layout and the age of Thorns Hall, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
Kirkby Stephen to Ravenstonedale
Our first day is a relatively easy start, through farmland and along a disused railway line. We begin in the charming old market town of Kirkby Stephen, then head south around the 'Poetry Path', before heading west past the Settle to Carlisle Railway and into Smardale. We walk above Scandal Beck, passing over the spectacular Smardale Gill Viaduct and on to the old Smardale Bridge to Ravenstonedale. 9 miles (14.5km), with 1,000 feet (300m) of ascent.
Ravenstonedale to Sedbergh
Today is more challenging in terms of distance and ascent. We head west on lanes and through farmland to the foot of Bowderdale. We gradually ascend into the heart of the fells, to reach the summit of The Calf - the highest point of the Howgill Fells. We then head across the top of the Howgills and walk down to Sedbergh. 12 miles (19.5km), with 2,000 feet (610m) of ascent.
Sedbergh to Barbon
Leaving Sedbergh on foot we wind our way nearby the Rivers Dee, Rawthey and Lune. After a short section of Roman Road to Fellside, we begin our steady ascent of Middleton Fell. From the highest point of Calf Top, on a clear day, there are great views east down into Dentdale and west as far as Morecambe Bay. We continue along this excellent broad ridge above Barbondale to Eskholme Pike and down to Barbon. 11½ miles (18.5km), with 2,100 feet (640m) of ascent.
Barbon to Ingleton
Today we enter Limestone Country. Heading up Barbondale, we turn south towards Bull Pot Farm in an area famed for its extensive potholes and underground cave systems. Passing by Ease Gill Kirk (a small limestone ravine) we reach a more pastoral landscape. We meander beside the Leck Beck (a tributary of the River Lune) down to the quaint village of Leck. Passing the hamlets of Ireby and Masongill, we reach Ingleton. 11 miles (17.5km), with 1,250 feet (380m) of ascent.
Ingleton to Horton in Ribblesdale
Today we enjoy a section of the Ingleton Waterfalls Walk, beside the River Twiss and up to Twistleton Hall. We then take an old Roman Road, under Twistleton Scar, to Chapel le Dale. We scale one of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks – Ingleborough. We should be afforded stunning views of the much photographed Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle Railway. We cross the limestone pavement of Sulber Nick and on down to Horton in Ribblesdale. 12 miles (19km), with 2,200 feet (660m) of ascent.
Horton in Ribblesdale to Settle
We climb the whaleback ascent of our second Yorkshire Peak – Pen-y-ghent. From the summit we head south along a section of the Pennine Way and on to Stainforth, before taking in charming views of the Catrigg Force waterfall. We walk by Jubilee Cave (noted for its prehistoric remains) and under Attermire Scar to reach our journey's end in the picturesque railway town of Settle. 12½ miles (20km), with 2,250 feet (685m) of ascent.
The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather and other external factors
Discover the Lakes and Dales
Sedbergh sits at the foot of the Howgill Fells, a peaceful corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The centre of Sedbergh is just a few minutes walk from Thorns Hall. The town has a range of facilities including a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a bank. Now famed as England’s ‘book town’, Sedbergh has many second-hand book shops and a good range of pubs and cafés. A wider range of facilities are available in the larger town of Kendal, about 10 miles away.
During your visit to Thorns Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Situated near Kendal, about 25 minutes' drive from Sedbergh. Sizergh Castle is a fine medieval house, surrounded by beautiful gardens. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sizergh
Visit this stately home, famous for its magnificent formal garden and its topiary displays. Levens Hall is south of Kendal, about 30 minutes' drive from Sedbergh. www.levenshall.co.uk
Settle to Carlisle Railway
Ride England’s most scenic railway through the Yorkshire Dales from Garsdale station, about 10 miles from Sedbergh. Heading south you could cross the famous Ribblehead viaduct and visit Settle, Skipton and Saltaire. Heading north you could head to the small market town of Appleby, or the border city of Carlisle. www.settle-carlisle.co.uk
Hawes & Wensleydale
A 30 minute drive through the Yorkshire Dales will take you to the small town of Hawes. Visit the famous creamery that produces Wensleydale Cheese. You may want to continue through the valley of Wensleydale, well known as the setting for All Creatures Great & Small. www.wensleydale.co.uk
The market town of Kendal, about 20 minutes' drive from Thorns Hall has a good range of specialist shops.The excellent Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry is also worth a visit. www.lakelandmuseum.org.uk
A 40 minute drive will take you to Lake Windermere, gateway to exploring the beautiful scenery of the Lake District National Park. Here you could take a steamer trip on the lake, or visit the visitors centre at Brockhole. www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk or www.brockhole.co.uk
Travel to Sedbergh
Our address is: Thorns Hall, Cautley Road, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5LE
The nearest train station is Oxenholme, the Lake District, on the main line between London and Glasgow. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
HF station transfer - great value!
Our station transfer operates between Oxenholme railway station and Thorns Hall every Saturday and Wednesday (Friday and Monday in the low season). The pickup is at 4.15pm from Oxenholme station. On departure day the transfer will get you back to Oxenholme station by 10.00am. The transfer is only £10 return, but a place must be reserved in advance by calling our Reservations team on 0345 470 7558.
If you can’t meet our station transfer, the 10 mile journey from Oxenholme station to Thorns Hall can be made by taxi. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £23 per journey. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Thorns Hall Manager.
Leave the M6 at junction 37 and follow the A684 for 5 miles to Sedbergh. On reaching Sedbergh follow the road to the right into Finkle Street (avoiding the main street), then almost immediately turn left at a small roundabout into Back Lane. At the next mini-roundabout bear left onto the A683 following signs to Kirkby Stephen. Thorns Hall is a further 100 yards along the road on the left. Look out for our sign. A large car park is available in the grounds with free parking.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests the most convenient option is to book a flight to Manchester Airport. There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Oxenholme - this is straightforward journey - allow 1½ hours to Oxenholme. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Oxenholme station you can complete the journey to Sedbergh using our transfer or by taxi (see above).
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 4 hours to reach Oxenholme. From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. Next take the Underground train to London Euston. Finally the main line train from London Euston to Oxenholme takes 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
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Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person