The Yorkshire Dales National Park in northern England is an incredible walking destination. With sweeping scenery, unspoilt countryside, rich cultural heritage and wonderful wildlife, taking to the trails is very rewarding. There are walks in this region to suit all abilities whether you are looking for a quick loop or a longer excursion. There are also walks suitable for those who want to bring their dog and special ‘miles without stiles’ routes, which are ideal if have a pushchair or are less mobile. Looking for inspiration? Here are some of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales that showcase the stunning scenery.
7 Scenic Walks in the Yorkshire Dales
1. Banks of the River Rawthey
Looking for an easy, accessible ‘miles without stiles’ walk that you can do with the whole family? Then make your way to Sedbergh town in the western dales of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. From the town’s main car park, follow Long Lane down to the banks of the River Rawthey. This short linear walk is just over half a mile (0.9km) each way. Whilst walking along the river, keep an eye out for wildlife such as heron, dipper and goosander. See if you can spot nuthatch, tree creeper and long-tailed tits in the trees and hedges. If you visit in the later autumn months, you might see salmon jumping in the weir.
2. Malham Cove
One of the most popular walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is a ramble to Malham Cove. This 4.4-mile (7km) loop route begins just north of the village of Malham. Following this route will take you to the impressive curved limestone formation of Malham Cove which was formed at end of the last Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago. As you walk, you’ll also see malhamdale, Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss. And, if you are lucky, you might catch sight of the Peregrine Falcons that visit the area.
3. Grass Wood
This is a classic walking route in the Yorkshire Dales. It follows the River Wharfe and you’ll take in Linton Falls, Ghaistrill’s Strid and the beautiful Grass Woods. The distance is 4.6 miles (7.5km) and it will take you around 2 hours to complete, however, it will probably take you longer as you’ll want to stop and admire the wonderful scenery. Begin at the Grassington National Park Centre and take the narrow walled path down to Linton Falls. Keep following the riverside path which gradually climbs up through Low Grass Wood and up to Grass Wood Nature Reserve, which in spring and early summer are blanketed in wildflowers.
4. Ilkley Moor and The 12 Apostles
Ilkley is a pretty, traditional spa town and it is from here that the walk to Ilkley Moor and the 12 Apostles begins. The Moor is famous for being the inspiration for the Yorkshire “county anthem” On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at. As you walk, you will climb at an easy gradient towards Ilkley Crag, where you’ll find a standing circle comprised of 12 stones. Keep walking and you’ll also come across the famous Cow and Calf Rocks, also known as Hangingstone Rocks. This is a large rock formation consisting of an outcrop and boulder.
5. Ribblehead Viaduct Walk
Ribblehead Viaduct Walk is a circular route that takes you around this famous Yorkshire Dale Grade II listed structure. Begin the 4-mile (6.5km) walk at the car park, which is just south of this marvel of Victorian engineering. The Viaduct is 440 yards (400 metres) long and 104 feet (32 metres) above the Batty Moss bog valley floor at its highest point. Under its 24 stone arches, you can see the remains of the settlements where railway line workers once lived.
Ingleborough is the second-highest mountain in Yorkshire and one of the famous Three Peaks of the Yorkshire Dales. It towers 2,372 feet (723 meters) above the surrounding landscape, and the views from the top are breathtaking. It takes about 2 hours 40 minutes to climb but it is one of the most accessible of the Three Peaks. The scenic circular route begins in the small village of Clapham and you’ll walk through woods, alongside a river, through a gorge and up to a natural cave before reaching Little Ingleborough and then the summit.
7. James Herriot Way
This 52-mile (84km) route is a beautiful 4-day walk through James Herriot country. James Herriot is a well-known veterinarian and writer and this walk takes you to his favourite locations and the places mentioned in his books “James Herriot’s Yorkshire” and “All Creatures Great and Small”. The walk starts and finishes in Aysgarth, a village in the heart of Wensleydale which is famous for its cheese as well as its waterfalls.