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8 days
  • self guided walk
  • 7 nights in hotels and guesthouses
  • 7 Breakfasts





Trip Code: WDW

Trip highlights

  • Hiking Through the Yorkshire Dales
  • A 78 mile walk crossing the Pennines from Ilkley to Windermere
  • Walking Through Beautiful Wharfedale and Dentdale to the Lake District
  • Stay in Inns and Farmhouses Dating from the 16th and 17th Centuries

Welcome to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, the purest form of English highland landscape, with traditions and views, which have remained virtually untouched for centuries. Soft rolling hills, limestone edges, green valleys, waterfalls, a Roman road, several interesting old churches, an abbey and some lovely Real Ale pubs all feature here as well as the villages proud of their heritage. This tour includes the whole 78 mile length of this much loved long distance path, established in 1969, which runs right across the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the Lake District. Gradients and terrain are generally straight forward, but the going may be muddy underfoot in wet weather; there are some high moorland areas to cross. Much of the trail follows pretty river valleys especially The Wharfe, Dee, Rawthey, Lune and The Kent. All have beauty spots for shady picnics, small ravines and rapids and are patrolled by birds such as Berwick swans, kingfishers, dippers and wagtails. Brown trout lurk in their waters depths. There are also a large number of “stiles” and “kissing gates” to negotiate as you stroll across fields, so good mobility is important. The itinerary follows Wharfedale (where there is time to admire the ruins of Bolton Abbey) and then via Hubberholme, gradually gaining height upstream to reach the Pennine watershed at Cam Fell (1700 feet). The way then runs down Dentdale to the market town of Sedbergh and across sheep pastures to Bowness on Windermere.

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Make your own way to Ilkley. Optional walk to Cow, Calf Rocks and Ilkley Moor. Here you can find the ‘White Well’ a tiny Victorian spa, not much bigger than a luxury sized bath, popular in the days when people with pneumonia were encouraged to bathe in icy cold waters. If the flag is flying, a small teashop is also open (2.5 hr round trip). If you prefer to relax have a look around this attractive country town with its range of specialist local family shops and cafes, there is a branch of Betty’s Tea Rooms with declicious cakes and a variety of teas. There is a small history museum and next to it, All Saints Church, which is built on the site of a Roman fort, contains some Anglo-Saxon crosses dating back to the 9th century. Accommodation: Stay in the Victorian Riverside Hotel. All facilities are ensuite and rooms come equipped with satellite TV. This is a pub hotel and does great food throughout the day and there is a separate restaurant area away from the bar. The picturesque setting, with river views and rowing in the summer months, make this an ideal place to start our tour.

Meals:  Nil

Lower Wharfedale and Bolton Abbey. This promises to be a very beautiful walk tracing the side of the River Wharfe. Undoubtedly, the well-preserved remains of Bolton Abbey are a popular spot especially on a weekend. To continue, you can cross to the other side of the Wharfe either by the bridge or by a long sequence of stepping stones. The route continues through the Duke of Devonshire’s estate and into beautiful Strid Woods, with a little gorge area - The Strid where the Wharfe narrows to a point that it has a cheese wire effect on the rocks incising a little gorge. From here the landscape opens up again as you head past the substantial structure of Barden Bridge. Thirsty people with a sensitivity for architecture, might like to take mile or so detour to the pretty village of Appletreewick which has an interesting ensemble of local stone houses as well as two nice pubs. Watch out for the weather stone, which can tell you the weather in any weather! There are a couple of interesting churches including St. Wilfrid’s from the 1400s. Accommodation: Wharf View Farm is our B&B tonight and offers a warm welcome. This 18th century farmhouse still retains many of its original features. It is possible to upgrade to The Manor House Hotel (please ask for further details at time of booking).

Meals:  B

Today is an upland and lowland day. Firstly follow the Wharfe past attractive Linton to the market town of Grassington, with is cobbled streets and teashops. The route then leaves the river to start heading across drystone wall fringed upland fields. If you have forgotten your lunch, you can try to take a mouthful of Conistone Pie, a limestone hill feature which looks like a pie! There are great views over rocky scars, over dales and limestone pavements, before descending to reacquaint oneself with the river as you reach the old lead mining village of Kettlewell with three pretty looking pubs, this was the setting for the film ‘Calendar Girls’ filmed in 2003. Rejoining the river, thread your way through sheepy fields to Buckden an even smaller village. Rest on the green, maybe have a drink before the final mile into the riverside village of Hubberhome, with its nice pub. If you are not staying here you will be making a mile and a half diversion off the official route over the hill to Cray, a tiny hamlet. Accommodation: The George Inn at Hubberholme is a cosy Inn with ensuite rooms and with local ales to sample. Alternatively you may be staying at The Buck Inn at Buckden which is located approx 1.4 miles before Hubberholme

Meals:  B

Enjoy a hardy breakfast as today is your most challenging walk. You follow the Wharfe towards its upper youthful sections, the water spilling off limestone terraces and small waterfalls, first pass Hubberholme with its attractive church and torrents, at Yockenthwaite try to find the tiny stone circle. Further up at Beckermonds, you are at the source of the Wharfe from two small becks or streams. Say goodbye to the infant river here, climb stiffly up and out of Wharfedale over Cam Fell. The farmland here can be boggy! A steep ascent from Cam houses, the last farm in the Dale, brings you to a broad track and the highest point of the walk 1710ft / 521m, then start descending along what was once a Roman road, cutting across the Pennine Way Footpath and down into Dentdale. Views hopefully of the Yorkshire three peaks; Penyghent, Whernside and Ingelborough. Walk down towards Ribblehead and then there is a further moorland section re ascending slightly to cross over to Denthead and then you are confronted with the magnificent viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle Railway, which almost seems to be a natural part of the surroundings. Another mile of steep descent along the pretty River Dee, brings you to our Inn at Cowgill, a quiet pretty place, there are occasional cars, but you are more likely to be awoken by the sound of owls, sheep and the sparkling, splashing river. Accommodation: Sportsman Inn a 17th century listed building, offering authentic rustic charm. The building has retained much of its original charm, with open fires, oak beams, and a friendly welcome. There is a washbasin; tea/coffee making facilities in all rooms, rooms may have private but separate or shared bathroom facilities. This is a very cozy place with the sound of the River Dee running outside the windows.

Meals:  B

An attractive valleyside and river crossing day through Dentdale to Sedbergh. At the foot of the steep Howgill Fells. The Dee becomes wider and more ‘fluid’ as you go. After about 4 miles there is a welcome diversion offered across the river in the village of Dent, built of grey limestone with cobbled streets and well protected traditionally maintained buildings, this was the birth place of Adam Sedgwick in 1785, an important geology professor who much influenced Charles Darwin later on. There are a couple of welcome tea shops and the George and Dragon pub serves ale crafted by the Dent Brewery only a couple of miles away. St. Andrew’s church has a beautiful interior. Following the river some more, ascend over a slight ridge and down into Garsdale and cross the river Rawthey and up steeply to the small town of Sedbergh at the foot of the wildly undulating Howgill Fells. Sedbergh is famous for its Public school and like Ilkey, has a number of family run shops. There are however, an overwhelming amount of bookshops, as it claims to be England’s book town, worth knowing if you are out of reading material by this stage of the walking tour! Accommodation: The Dalesman Inn has a traditional English country town feel to it, offering local beers in the attractively decorated bar and dining area. All rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, a TV and some are ensuite. Sometimes a comfortable cottage owned by the pub, is used for accommodation about 150 metres away from the inn.

Meals:  B

Returning to the Rawthey, you follow this attractive river, before joining the River Lune walking past some more viaducts reflecting the glorious Victorian era of engineering. At Crook of Lune you will discover a beautiful parabolic arch bridge, which is probably 500 years old. The view from it towards the Howgill Fells is a beauty. The Way now follows across an undulating landscape of sheep pastureland, with views of the Howgills and also turns towards the Lake District. You will reach Black Moss Tarn, a tiny lake tucked into a fold of the meadows, often with swans and geese floating upon it. A good spot for a break before descending, meeting briefly the rivers Mint and Sprint and onwards towards the 14th century Burneside Hall, a Pele tower to protect inhabitants from the Scots and the ‘Border Reivers’ who caused mayhem in this land. Arriving at Burneside, the first realization is that this is an industrial rather than tourist village dominated by a paper mill relying on the waters of the River Kent. The oldest parts of this mill are worth having a look at, with its interesting clock tower. Accommodation: We use a number of different accommodation in Burneside.

Meals:  B

This morning you start with following the attractive River Kent to Staveley passing interesting former mill areas, which in some cases have been creatively redeveloped into housing. The millponds however still remain and often trout can be seen jumping for fly. A few miles bring you into Staveley, an attractive village worth a coffee stop with its interesting bell tower. The walk then becomes increasingly rural and onto wilder areas. On a good day a short diversion up to School Knott will reveal a great Lakeland panorama including the Coniston Fells, Crinkle Crags and Scafell. Then you descend towards Lake Windermere, which remains elusive until you finally leave woodland, and descend into Bowness on Windermere, a tourist town on the lakeside, this expanse of water is England's largest natural lake.

Meals:  B

After breakfast, make your way to the train station for your onward journey.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 nights accommodation in hotels and guesthouses on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 18kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps (1 pack per room booked)
  • Emergency hotline

  • Lunch, Dinner and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room




This tour is graded Moderate. Much of the walking follows trails beside rivers,and then there is quite a mix of walking as the High Pennines are crossed and one enters the Lake District. Trails can be rough, boggy and muddy in places. There is also a small amount of tarmac walking.

Departure dates

Daily from 27 Mar to 07 Oct


High Season
10-day version available (code WD1)
Please note that minor changes to your 2024 itinerary may apply.

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement 2024USD$390
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2024USD$420
  • Single Supplement 2025USD$430
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2025USD$430
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, this is the original route of the Dales Way that was designed to be walked in a week. You also have a choice of walking it with 2 extra days, on our 10-day itinerary (trip code WD1), on which we have kept the daily walking distances a little shorter.

Generally, navigation is straightforward with reasonable footpath waymarks to follow. Some people have difficulties crossing some farms where waymarks may have been blocked or lost, but we explain this in detail in our route notes and the GPX tracks that you receive from us should help with this too.

It is surprisingly not so busy on most of the walking days along the Dales Way. However, you will find lots of tourists at the end of your holiday at Bowness on Windermere and around a few in places such as Dent and Grassington.

No, this is not an official UK National Trail. The Dales Way is however a famous long distance trail in England. The path has its own association that looks after the trail maintenance and produces its own magazine.

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The Dales Way UTracks

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