Planning your Dales Way walk

Published 25 January 2011. Last updated 13 October 2023

Ilkley 81 Miles ‘Dalesway’

When the back of my guide book described the route as “Britain’s gentlest long distance path” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of it. Thankfully though, the Dales Way turned out to be a lovely walk and one well worth doing.

Its eighty odd miles are never hugely taxing and in the most part, well way-marked and difficult to get lost, so if you’re after an introduction to long distance walking, this is a fine one to pick. And if you do, you’ll be wanting to know some information about how to plan your own trip. Won’t you?

In this guide

  1. What is the walk like?
  2. The Route
  3. Planning an itinerary
  4. Finding and booking accommodation
  5. Getting to/from the Dales Way
  6. Guide Books and Maps
  7. And finally, and any questions

What is the walk like?

Ribblehead Viaduct

The Yorkshire Dales is a fantastically beautiful and attractive part of the country, but one which is often overlooked in favour of its nearby neighbour, the Lake District.

For the lower half of the route, the Dales Way follows a number of rivers before heading in to quiet moorland. With the town of Sedbergh the walker gets a fine view of the Howgills before heading through farmland and along more rivers before ending at Windermere, in the Lake District.

The walking is easy; navigation rarely anything other than easy and the route is very well waymarked. This is not a challenging walk, but the rewards are stunning.

You can read my own travels on the Dales Way.

The Route

From Ilkley to Windermere, you can see the route of the Dales Way using the map above. Using the controls you can scroll around, zoom in and explore the route. Note that this map is a guide only, and should not be used for navigation.

You can also download the GPX file of the route.

Planning an itinerary

Chickens at Stone House watch walkers carefully.

I split my walking over six days although the terrain is easy enough that many will be able to polish it off in five slightly longer days. Both options are catered for in the itineraries below.

All distances are approximate. Locations with a railway station are shown with a 🚂

5 Day Itinerary
Day From To Distance
      Miles Km
1 Ilkley 🚂 Grassington 16 26
2 Grassington Hubberholme 1 or Oughtershaw 1 12½ or 17½ 20 or 28
3 Hubberholme 1 or Oughtershaw 1 Dent 2 20 or 15 32 or 24
4 Dent 2 Burneside 3 🚂 20 32
5 Burneside 3 🚂 Windermere 🚂 10 16
6 Day Itinerary
Day From To Distance
      Miles Km
1 Ilkley 🚂 Burnsall 12 19½
2 Burnsall Kettlewell 10 16
3 Kettlewell Gearstones (for Ribblehead) 4 🚂 15½ 25
4 Gearstones (for Ribblehead) 4 🚂 Sedbergh 14 22½
5 Sedbergh Burneside 3 🚂 13½ 22
6 Burneside 3 🚂 Windermere 🚂 10 16
  1. Accommodation in each village is limited. You will find several other villages nearby, also each with limited accommodation, which make alternative stopping points
  2. Note that whilst there is a Dent railway station, it is 4 miles from Dent village and not massively useful for Dales Way walkers.
  3. There is limited accommodation in Burneside, however there are regular bus and train services connecting the village with Windermere and Kendal.
  4. The nearest railway station is at Ribblehead, a 1½ mile walk down the road from the Dales Way. Accommodation can be found in the area near to railway station.

Using good paths and with easy navigation, much of the route lends itself to walking most of the year round. However moorland sections in the middle will not be great in winter months. Snow will also make moorland walking difficult, and the remote dales mean that there’s a risk of being snowed in. As such if you want to do the whole thing, we suggest looking at walking between April and October.

Breaking the walk up for several trips

The rural nature of the Dales Way, and its short length, mean it’s not particularly easy to split up into sections. However it is possible to break it into two three-day walks by stopping and starting at Ribblehead station on the Settle to Carlisle Line.

Sedbergh has a few buses to Kendal, and there are also railway stations at Burneside and Staveley. However as both of these would be on the last day of walking, neither are particularly useful.

Finding and booking accommodation

The George and Dragon at the heart of Dent

The most useful place to get information on accommodation is from The Dales Way Association who maintain an extensive accommodation list on their website. It includes hostels, bunk barns, camping and B&Bs. Everything you could possibly need.

With the exception of the start and end points, most of the places on the Dales Way are small villages and, as such, accommodation is not always in high supply. However there are plenty of villages between Ilkley and Oughtershaw, so you should be able to find somewhere to stay if you are flexible on your itinerary. If you can’t get in around at accommodation near Ribblehead, you can use the Settle to Carlisle railway line to access other options. Burneside also has frequent bus and train services to Kendal which has extensive accommodation options.

Accommodation Booking Services and Baggage Transfer

As a very popular walk, there are scores of operators who will book accommodation for you. There are far too many for us to mention, so we suggest a good web search using your favourite search engine. Most operators will also include baggage transfer in the price.

The following companies also provide baggage transfer services for those planning their own walk:

Hostels and bunkbarns

There are a few hostels and bunkbarns on the Dales Way. These are:

  • YHA Kettlewell – a lovely hostel which is in the heart of the village.
  • The Station Inn, Ribblehead – bunk barn at this cracking rural pub. Suitable for groups only.
  • Kendal Hostel – formerly owned by the YHA and now independent, this hostel is a short bus or train ride away from Burneside.
  • Lakes Boutique Hostel, Windermere – independent hostel in the heart of Windermere, formerly known as Lake District Backpackers.
  • YHA Windermere, Troutbeck – note this is not in Windermere itself, but three miles from Bowness-on-Windermere. It is a short distance from the 599 bus route that runs between Bowness and Ambleside.

If you plan to stay at multiple YHA hostels, it’s well worth considering becoming a member as this will save you some money.


Surprisingly there are not many campsites on the Dales Way, however the Dales Way association include a list of campsites in their accommodation guide. They also report that many farmers will allow small groups to camp on their fields.

As the walk goes along several rivers, the Dales Way is pretty well served for water supplies.

Getting to/from the Dales Way

Vintage open top bus at Bolton Abbey heritage railway station

Some long distance paths start and finish in places rather difficult to access. This, thankfully, is not true of the Dales Way. Both Ilkley and Windermere are well served by public transport.

Ilkley is the terminus of the Wharfedale Line. It was also the very last railway station in the country to be lit by gas, with the gas lights remaining until 1988. It is served by regular services from both Leeds and Bradford.

At the other end, Windermere sits on the Windermere branch line. Trains run roughly once an hour, mostly terminating at Oxenholme Lake District, although some trains run through to Manchester Airport. Oxenholme is on the West Coast Mainline and features services through to London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

If breaking the walk at Ribblehead, there are infrequent trains from there to both Leeds and Carlisle.

Guide Books and Maps

Pint and a Dales Way guidebook

Walking the Dales Wayby Terry Marsh

There aren’t a huge number of Dales Way guides. One of the most popular is Cicerone’s Walking the Dales Way, by Terry Marsh and this was the one I used, and lists the route in both directions. It was last updated in 2021. It features Ordnance Survey maps of the route, at the 1:25,000 scale.

Dales Way: The Complete Guideby Colin Speakman

Also available is Colin Speakman’s Dales Way: The Complete Guide. Now in its 11th edition, which was published in 2013, this was the original guide book for the route and is regularly updated. It contains detailed maps for the whole route. The scale of the mapping is not clear, however it is at a higher scale than 1:25,000.

Dales Way Walking Guideby Henry Steadman

Updated in 2022 is Trailblazer’s Dales Way Walking Guide. This includes walking instructions with hand-drawn maps (so you probably want a proper map too), but the true value of the Trailblazer guides for our money, is in organising your trip as they include extensive accommodation details.

Dales Way XT40by Harvey's

If you’d prefer a map, Harveys produce their Dales Way XT40 map for the whole route. The map uses Harvey’s own 1:40,000 mapping.

Alternatively if you’d like Ordnance Survey maps you’ll need the following maps. The route is marked on them.

  • Landranger (1:50,000): 97, 98, 104
  • Explorer (1:25,000): 297, OL2, OL7, OL19, OL30

The Dales Way with Mark Richards

There’s also a DVD called The Dales Way with Mark Richards, presented by writer Mark Richards. It provides you with a lovely guide to what you’ll find on the Dales Way.

And finally, and any questions

Oughtershaw Moss on the Dales Way

With few major hills to climb, The Dales Way is a good all rounder and could easily be done in spring and autumn as well as summer. Being well way-marked and easy on the foot, it’s the perfect walk for the long distance walking novice, and highly rewarding with the views too.

So put your best foot forward and head to the Dales. For it’s certainly a great place to be.

And if you’ve any questions or would like some advice, do ask in the comment box below.

We update our planning guides on a regular basis, and welcome reports of errors, clarifications and additions. If you have any, please email us using our contact form.



12 June 2012 at 10:58 am

Hi, Doing half the Dales Way walk in august! Only doing half because we have a cottage in apperset, and we are staying their! So, we arw detouring at becermonds, up to cam house, and then down towards hawes! What i was wanting to know is… Are the waymarkers easy to find, and are they well marked. Thankyou for your time, Gary

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

12 June 2012 at 11:59 am

Hi Gary – the Dales Way is very easy to follow and well waymarked in most places – certainly on the stretch to Beckermonds it is very straightforward and easy to follow.

I had the map in my guidebook for the trip and mostly used it to see how far I had to go. Only once did I get lost, thanks to a fallen waymark post, and that was in the northern section.


20 July 2012 at 8:26 pm

Half island house are now offering hot and cold drinks, scones, tea cakes, confectionary and ices.. 5 miles after leaving Sedbergh, 50yards after the lowgill 11 arched viaduct.. Outside seating with parasols.. Rest your bums, rub your feet and walk the garden.. Fantastic river and viaduct photo opportunity


10 February 2013 at 6:53 am

hi, is it possible to wild camp along the dales way am doing it in may

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

10 February 2013 at 5:48 pm

Hello Ray

The walk goes through a lot of farms and villages rather than moorland. As such I personally wouldn’t recommend wild camping without obtaining the landowners permission first. Many farmers will allow camping on their fields

The Dales Way Association lists various places where you can camp on their website at This includes (by the looks of it) some farms where the owners are known to be happy to allow camping.


1 May 2013 at 4:35 pm

This will be my first long distance walk at least over the six day itinerary you have detailed above. I am curious… which is best

Ilkley to Windermere, or Windermere to Ilkley

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

1 May 2013 at 5:08 pm

Personally I’d say Ilkley to Windermere – as you get a stunning ending of Windermere. It builds anticipation a bit more than arriving at Ilkley (which is nice, but not in the same way!)


7 July 2013 at 3:17 am

I’m hoping to spend 5 days on the Dales way. I may make it to Windermere, but maybe I will take it slow and look around a bit which will leave me short in the end. I will be leaving a car in Ilkney (unavoidable.) Is there frequent bus service from the small villages back to Ilkney?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

7 July 2013 at 7:45 am

Hi Jerry – best suggestion is to look at the Dales Way Association’s public transport page however there’s not much beyond Grassington that will take you back to Ilkley.

The best suggestion is to look at trains, or in some cases, buses and trains. It will be a slow journey though.


19 August 2013 at 11:26 am

Hi there,

this will be my first walk – Ilkley to Windermere. I want to take my dogs with me as I shall be walking alone. I am strictly a novice walker. Are there plenty of places to stay along the way who will take my dogs as well as myself?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

19 August 2013 at 1:17 pm

I certainly saw a dog or two who appeared to be walking the Dales Way – the Dales Way Association’s accommodation guide does list a few B&Bs where dogs are welcome, although a lot don’t.

Best thing to do is probably ask the B&Bs who aren’t listed either way.

elaine fitzpatrick

29 August 2013 at 10:37 pm

i am walking the Dalesway and have left it late to buy an os map. Is it necessary?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

30 August 2013 at 10:09 am

The walk’s reasonably well signposted, but not always. I wouldn’t recommend going without a map. If you are setting off from Ilkley or Windermere, you’ll find somewhere to buy maps in town like WHSmiths.


8 September 2013 at 5:29 pm

The walk from Kettlewell to Gearstones is about 17 miles NOT 13!
Found this out the hard way too……. Plus the 1.5 miles to the Station Hotel was a killer. Please change your website to prevent others making the same mistake. Also below your picture ‘Dalesway 81 miles’ the text says the walk is 70 miles.

Elaine Fitzpatrick

8 September 2013 at 9:10 pm

Just completed the dales way with 4 friends and family. First long distance walk which has truly inspired us to plan the next itinerary. Our baggage was sherpa’d for us which was a treat but we met a group of 70 year olds carrying their own which wiped the smug grin off our 60 year old faces!!!!
Each day flew by due to the banter, delightful scenery and lunch breaks and each evening was unique because of the characters we met in the hostelries.
Would highly recommend it to anyone.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

8 September 2013 at 9:14 pm

Hello Tracey. You are right. There are some issues with the distances documented here. For starters, the total distance is supposed to read 78 miles, not 70. And likewise, the distance in kilometres is supposed to be 125 not 135.

And as you state, this comes underneath a photo listing 81 miles. Fact is that I have never known a walk to have so many different lengths recorded for it. As of right now, Wikipedia declares the Dales Way to be 84 miles long. The Long Distance Walkers Association says 78.1. The Dales Way Association says “about 80 miles.” My Cicerone Guide Book says 78 as well. That metal sign I photographed says 81, whilst an information board at Ilkley said (in 2011) says 84 miles as well. I plotted the route on Memory Map and came out with 73 miles. Will the real Dales Way distance, please stand up?

Using my plotting, I have now updated all the distances listed here and made a few minor tweaks. Most notably is the one you highlight – I make Kettlewell to Gearstones to be 15½ which is close to the 16m listed in my guide book.

Hilary Cullingworth

30 October 2013 at 2:18 pm

We are thinking of doing the walk in January! Is this a terrible idea?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

30 October 2013 at 2:29 pm

Hi Hilary – that will mostly depend on whether there’s any snow. The section between Kettlewell and Dent includes a big section that goes through moorland that will be tricky in bad weather – both for walking and for navigation. The other sections are probably easier, but as the Dales Way goes through quite remote villages and dales, there’s also the possibility of being snowed in.

Unless you’re experienced in walking in those conditions, I’d leave it to spring.

Anthony booth

1 April 2014 at 9:02 am

Hi I was thinking of doing the walk next summer but over 4 days do you think this is realistic? We are a group of 3 all of reasonable fitness and pretty seasoned walkers

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

6 April 2014 at 7:01 am

Hi Anthony – the way the accommodation lies means that you’d probably end up with a couple of days of 20-25 miles long, but if you’re able to do that kind of distance, then yes, it is do-able. It’s over the limit of what I’d do myself as it could end up being a bit of a route march, and I prefer a bit of time to relax!

Alison McKee

27 July 2014 at 6:54 pm

I’m unsure of navigation on the Oughtershaw/Cam Fell/Gearstones section and am doing it solo at the end of August. How visible is the trail there? Bit concerned that in mist I could get lost!

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

27 July 2014 at 9:16 pm

Hi Alison – I found that stretch very straightforward myself. No serious problems at all. Obviously it’s a few years since I did it, but the waymarking and paths were generally clear and obvious. Good luck!

Yvette Watson

29 September 2014 at 11:53 am

Thinking of doing the Dales Way but don’t really like roadside walking is there much of this along the way? What is the terrain like?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

29 September 2014 at 12:48 pm

Hello Yvette – there isn’t that much road walking on the Dales Way, although there is a stretch between Ribblehead and Dent which is on a (quiet) road for a couple of miles. Other than that, the road sections are pretty few and far between, and generally short.

Jayne Glazebrook

7 October 2014 at 12:48 pm

Hi I’m hoping to do the Dales Way, which months are definite no, no.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

7 October 2014 at 9:56 pm

It depends on snow – there’s a few sections I wouldn’t want to do in February after a heavy fall of the white stuff. I would go for April to November myself.

Malcolm Ian Redfearn

28 October 2014 at 9:57 am

Hi, I’m planning on doing the dales way in May. Wild camping has been mentioned already, but how practical is it to use a bivvy bag? Trying to do it on the cheap! Also, how is the route for resupply of food to carry throughout the journey. Thanks.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

29 October 2014 at 5:08 pm

Hi Malcom – I’m sure you’d be fine bivvying. There’s plenty of spaces you could bunk down out of the way. As for supplies, there’s shops for much of the route – you end up going past or near at least one every day. The only difficult bit will be around Gearstones (near Ribblehead) – there’s not much round there besides the pub, so you’ll want to make sure you stock up at Kettlewell.


4 May 2015 at 9:31 pm

We plan to take two dogs so are there lots of high ladder stiles?
Hoping not!

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

6 May 2015 at 8:25 am

Becky – I don’t recall any ladder stiles when I went. It’s mostly gates and normal stiles. That’s not to say there wasn’t any or that some haven’t been put in place, but any there are, are rare

Heather Shepherd

17 May 2015 at 10:24 pm

Thank you for this website. I’m just researching the best campsites along the way. Think I’m going to do the 6 day walk, and I can’t wait. Your descriptions sound fab. If you’ll excuse the plug, I’m going to walk it barefoot in aid of the Dr Hadwen Trust. I’m hoping that there won’t be too many stinging nettles around!


18 May 2015 at 4:24 pm

Hi My wife and I are planning to walk the Dales way in August 2015.
I have one of the old Dales way guide books from Anthony Burton, 1995 printed by Aurum press Can you tell me whether the route has changed in anyway from the first time it was devised,

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

19 May 2015 at 12:28 pm

William – There have been some small changes. Any changes are listed on the Dales Way Association’s website on their Dales Way route updates page

James Cotton

25 May 2015 at 11:57 am

Hi just wanted to let anyone know that on the Sedbergh to Burneside stretch day 5. There was what we thought no where to stop for light refreshments. Then like an oasis appears Half Island House, Just under the Lowgill Viaduct offering hot and cold drinks homemade scones with cream and strawberries, plus light savoury snacks, and the option to use the loo. A godsend


13 July 2015 at 10:47 am

Hi. I am doing this walk in august and going straight onto doing the Windermere Way. Do you have a gpx file for the Windermere Way by any chance please? Mainly just incase I get lost. Can’t beat it to get back on track. Thanks.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

13 July 2015 at 12:19 pm

Afraid I don’t have one.

Dilys Carby

14 July 2015 at 10:39 pm

thinking of walking the Dales Way next June but would prefer to walk about 10 miles per day and take a little longer. Would this be possible and if so, could you suggest an itinerary?


5 August 2015 at 9:17 pm

Many thanks for the useful info on this site. I’m planning to do this trip in the next few months but will need to drive. I have the option of leaving the car at Ilkley, doing the walk and returning from Windermere by public transport.

Alternatively, driving to Windermere, leaving the car there, heading back to Ilkley by public transport and doing the walk back to the car. Then I would have the car in Windermere to allow more exploration of the Lake District with car.

Either way, please does anyone know a good, safe place I could park my car for the duration ideally free or economical parking? Also any info on public transport options in either direction.

Many thanks.


6 September 2015 at 9:36 pm

looking for a first challenge walk but have huge issues with cows do you know as a general rule is there cow herds to walk through on this walk

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

7 September 2015 at 9:43 am

Hannah – there aren’t many fields with cows in, but there are some.


14 October 2015 at 9:46 pm


Planning to walk Kendal to Bowness-on-windermere via the Dales way but don’t want it to take all day as I am taking an older dog but fit. How long would you suggest it takes at a reasonable pace and any pointers to make it more half day time? Thanks, Amy

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

15 October 2015 at 9:28 am

Amy – I believe when I did it, I started around 9:30 and was done by 2:00 – and that was with some dawdling and a couple of planned detours along the way. It’s not a long section, nor particularly difficult so is quite easy to walk.

David Parsons

27 December 2015 at 1:36 pm

Hi! My wife and I are wondering if we could walk the Dales Way; we are each between 75 and 80 but reasonably fit and experienced. Did the Cotswold Way 2013 in 16 days. Plan to allow a month (with frequent rest days) and use up to four bases along the way (hiring cottages) and two cars.
Would we be able to average 6 miles per day in general? Also, given we’re not quite as surefooted as we used to be, is the going fairly straightforward (we’ll use walking poles)? If there are tricky sections would we be able to find easier alternatives?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

28 December 2015 at 8:39 pm

Hello David – the Dales Way is one of the easiest long distance walks I’ve done. It’s mostly flat, with just a handful of climbs. None of them are massively tricky or difficult. A lot of the trail involves walking alongside rivers or through farmland. I don’t know much about the Cotswold Way, so it’s difficult to compare.

David L

28 January 2016 at 11:06 am

Hi David & Mrs Parsons, I have done both the Dales Way and the Cotswold Way. I can assure you that if you managed the ups and downs of the Cotswold way as recently as 2013 then, providing your fitness levels or general wellbeing haven’t deteriorated too much, you should find the Dales Way pretty easy going. The only stretch I would be wary of is that from Yockenthwaite to Gearstones and Gearstones to Dent both of which have little opportunity to break the trip as they are across fairly remote areas.


14 March 2016 at 2:27 pm

Hi!! I am planning on walking the Dalesway with my dog in a couple of weeks. I am struggling to find dog friendly places to stay along the route. Can you recommend anywhere? I can see camping would be an option, but trying to avoid carrying a heavy load.

Welsh Walker

16 March 2016 at 1:17 pm

Planning on doing the Dales Way on the 1st o f April with my Akita, does anyone know the grid ref of low barn ,Patton its a camping place, cheers, for the life of me I cannot see it on any maps, just wondering if anyone has stayed there.

Welsh walker

17 March 2016 at 2:12 pm

hi Emma there is a B & B in Grassington, Mrs Cullingford Craven Cottage, main street Tel 752205 Email [email protected] and at Grayrigg Law barn, Patton Bridge, LA8 9DU Tel 01539 824892 Email [email protected] all dog friendly, stopping there myself with my dog in April. Booked into both locations, Be safe good walking. Regards Welsh walker

Louis Morgan

21 April 2016 at 5:45 pm

Hi Andrew
unable to get the GPX for the DalesWay to download
can you see if it is working from your end please
Many thanks

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

22 April 2016 at 9:22 am

Hi Louis – it all appears fine to be I’m afraid!

Louis Morgan

25 April 2016 at 10:53 am

thanks Andrew
will try again

Louis Morgan

25 April 2016 at 10:54 am

thanks Andrew
am using a mac will try on a windows computer


9 May 2016 at 1:52 pm

I was planning to do the Pennine Way in July as my first long distance walk, solo but am now thinking of starting off with The Dales Way and doing the PW next year. Any views? I’m a walker but not done any long distance consecutive walking. ????

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

10 May 2016 at 12:24 pm

Hi Lusa – I’d say the Dales Way is a lovely introduction to long distance walking. It’s easy going and lovely to do. The Pennine Way is perhaps a bit hardcore at times as a first walk, but is still worth doing.

Lisa Drage

11 May 2016 at 3:34 pm

Thank you Andrew. It’s an area I’m quite familiar with so can test out my map reading skills without the fear of getting lost on an isolated 20 miles stretch, a la the PW.
Thanks for the advice.
I will do the Dales Way and work up to the PW.

Kind regards,

Stuart Anderson

23 May 2016 at 1:01 pm

Hi Andrew

We’re both competent ramblers and are doing the Dales Way ilkley to Windermere, is the route signed and way marked to a reasonable standard?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

23 May 2016 at 1:40 pm

Hello Stuart – it is indeed.

Stuart Anderson

23 May 2016 at 7:34 pm

Many Thanks Andrew, that’s very helpful.


27 June 2016 at 9:38 pm

I’m planning on taking a car to ilkley and leaving it for five nights! Any suggestions as to cheap free parking close to the start of the walk! Many thanks Vicky

Stuart Anderson

29 June 2016 at 6:55 am

Hello Vicky. Can’t really suggest any parking at Ilkley at all, what we did was parked at Bowness plenty of free parking up near the station on the right hand side, my car was very safe there. Only problem you have is getting a train back to Ilkley which has 5 changes. Not very helpful I’m afraid!!

Bob Ferris

29 June 2016 at 12:15 pm

Hi. I’ve booked to do the Dales Way early September. I have a Garmin Montana GSP with full UK mapping and use BaseCamp to plan my walks before i set off. Can you please tell me if it’s possible and what’s the best way to plot the route on BaseCamp ?

Christina Johansson

20 August 2016 at 10:47 pm

We are planning to walk The Dales Way next summer and wonder if you know which direction is best to walk concerning where the wind comes from. Everything we have read is from Ilkley to Windermere, even the new book from Trailblazer. The author, though, writes that it is better to walk the other direction due to the fact that the winds are coming from west. We thought that that winds are from south east.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

21 August 2016 at 9:45 pm

Christina – I would say south to North as ending in the Lakes is much nicer. I didn’t notice much wind when I did it. I am not sure how much of an issue that really would be.

Christina Johansson

21 August 2016 at 10:54 pm

Hi again!
Thanks for your answer. I must have been tired last night , a small correction. We thought that the wind comes from south west , not south east!

Carole Stevens

26 February 2017 at 4:28 pm

We’re planning to do the Dales Way at the end of March over 6 days. There will be 4 of us and we’ll be travelling in two cars and plan to leave a car at the start and end of each section.

Is there anywhere to leave a car at Gearstones?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

28 February 2017 at 12:04 pm

Carole – you’ll be able to leave a car on the road round Gearstones. Lots of people do.

Jill Aspinall

3 April 2017 at 12:55 pm

Hello! I am lucky enough to live in Ilkley, and am seriously considering walking the Dales Way in one go with no overnight stops to raise money for charity. I am fit and healthy but I have never done this particular walk before. Am I being over ambitious?Thank you.


2 August 2017 at 5:48 pm

Hi Andrew,

My partner and I are planning on doing a 3 day (4 night) section of the Dales Way in early October. I was wondering if I might have your opinion on which section you would do, if you only had this small amount of time and wanted to walk at the 10-15 miles/day pace? I understand that it’s very subjective, but I haven’t been able to find anyone else who offers such great overviews of the walk, and I would very much appreciate your insight!

Thank you for taking the time!

PS Please do not take this to mean that I want you to plan it out for us — I just have no idea what’s “prettiest”! (Eye of the beholder, and all, aside).

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

2 August 2017 at 8:48 pm

Hello Aja – as you say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But if I had to pick three days I’d go

  1. Burnsall to Kettlewell
  2. Kettlewell to Gearstones (staying at Ribblehead)
  3. Gearstones to Sedbergh

You get great scenery that way, and some variety too. However there’s no train stations at either end, if that’s an issue. An alternative would be to walk three days from Ilkley to Ribblehead. That way there’s a train station at each end. It’s good, although I think the other option is better.


15 August 2017 at 5:50 pm

Do you think any of the route is suitable for children? We’ve got kids aged eight and nine (ten, near enough), who are reasonably experienced walkers, but probably haven’t done much more than 10 miles in a day (though hilly, Lake District miles). I’m thinking of just doing two days, Kettlewell to Ribblehead and then Ribblehead to Sedbergh. Also, I can’t find any way of getting back to the car if we leave it in Kettlewell; is there something I’m missing?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

16 August 2017 at 9:30 am

Hi Simon – I’m afraid I’ve never walked with children of that age (mine are too young!) although my partner did the Pembrokeshire Coast Path when she was nine. If they’ve managed 10 miles in the Lakes, they should find the sections you’re looking at a lot easier.

As for your car, no you’re not missing something. Kettlewell only has a very limited bus service, and there’s just no easy way to get from Sedbergh from Kettlewell by public transport. You’re looking at multiple buses and trains, or doing some/all of the journey by taxi. has details of what services exist in the area.


16 August 2017 at 1:18 pm

Cheers Andrew. This site has been very useful, thanks.


11 January 2018 at 11:42 am

Hi Andrew

I am planning to walk the dales way in 48 hrs later this year, for charity (date TBC). Your site has been a fantastic resource.

I promise I will return in the future and take much longer, to savour it and appeciate the sights, but this is the present challenge and whilst I’m fit and able etc…..

I have looked at the topography, comparing it to other long distance walks I’ve done, particularly the Lyke Wake Walk which I’ve completed twice before, each time at around 12 hours.

I wondered if there was any other advice you could throw my way about the route, especially about not messing up my navigation where the map and situation on the ground may be less clear than others.

Chris Burns

26 February 2018 at 12:57 pm

Hi Andrew,
I have a similar question to Darren (11 Jan 2018).
I wish to undertake the Dales Way Walk and do it for charity with a small group of people, so we need to turn it into a challenging time period. Maybe not 2 days, but certainly over a long May Bank Holiday Weekend. We would likely start from Leeds City Centre. Of course we could just set off, but not knowing exactly where we will finish/stop on each day I was wondering if this will even be possible as people will likely have booked accommodations up front. Us having to book accommodation up front sort of takes a little bit away from the adhoc nature that would make this more exciting (you know, i wonder where we’ll get to today!), although we can carry individual tents with us no problem.
Any advice/guidance on accommodation, timescales etc?


20 April 2018 at 3:18 pm

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for the great information! My wife and I are making plans to walk the Dale’s Way this year and wondering a few things.

How are the midge flies? What months are they on the Dale’s Way and are they a problem for walkers?

We are coming from the US, so a little unfamiliar with the weather. Is it more typical for rain to be short showers or full days of rain?

Looking forward to exploring the beauty of the Dale’s!


Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

21 April 2018 at 9:47 pm

Hello Reuben – midges aren’t a particular problem on the Dales Way. Certainly no big deal at all and nothing particularly to worry about.

Weather – well the weather in Britain is varied. Even in summer it’s difficult to say what will happen. You can have days full of rain, or ones where it’s just short showers. In the summer it’s most likely to be dry though. But be prepared just in case. I can’t guarantee it will be dry every day!

Josh Hill

23 May 2018 at 11:17 pm

Hi guys,
Planning on doing the Dales Way in perhaps August/September. We plan on wild camping at some of the points on the itinerary, to save some money and to get a bit of experience fending for ourselves. Can you advise whether this is feasible along this route?
If not, any walks of similar length and difficulty that you could recommend?
Thank you in advance

Keith Dyson

28 May 2018 at 5:29 pm

Hi Andrew, planning on doing half of the dales way walk in two days, starting from roughly the half point of the walk where there’s a train station and walking towards Ilkley, could you please give me some advice on the following questions:
What is roughly the halfway point of the walk with a nearby station?(Ribblehead/Dent?)
From the halfway point walking to Ilkley what village would you say is best to stay over? Splitting the walk up into two days?
Thank you.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

28 May 2018 at 8:42 pm

Hello Keith – Ribblehead’s the closest to half way. Also it’s not too far from the path, unlike Dent station. As to where to stay, it’s either Kettlewell or Grassington really. Neither is perfect as you end up with one day being longer than the other.

Jill K

30 May 2018 at 6:03 pm

Hi Andrew.
I’m planning to do the Dales Way on my own this June. I’m a pretty fit 60 year old and I did the South Downs Way last year over 10 days. I’ve been working out an itinerary taking seven days with most days between 9 and 11 miles, but I am anxious about the section between Sedbergh and Burneside of 17 miles which looks as if you have to do it in one go. Do you know of anywhere off the route, to break it into two, or is this section fairly easy walking?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

30 May 2018 at 10:59 pm

Hello Jill. Sedbergh to Burneside is just under 14 miles rather than 17. There isn’t really anywhere to stop between the two – you could get a taxi from an arbitrary point between them. However it is a pretty easy section. Pretty flat and good paths.

Ethan Earnshaw

24 June 2018 at 3:34 pm

Hi planning on starting in Ilkley and then getting a train back there at the end. Is there anywhere I can leave a car for 6 days?

yrsa saranpää

8 November 2018 at 3:40 pm

Hello! Thank you for your fine blogg, i love england and UK, been there many times.
Last time in exmoor and walking the south west coast path started to grow. But next time i’m coming is in the end of march and i think it can bee to cold winds and maybe slippery to start with it. And now i wondered do you think is it to could to do dale walk in march? I’m from finland so i’m used to cold winters 😀 something +8° -> +10 is perfect.
Thank you.

yrsa saranpää

8 November 2018 at 4:08 pm

… one moor thing, is it easy also to find places to stay over the night when i want to do much shorter days. Walking time ~5h with many breaks for photo and coffee

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

9 November 2018 at 11:44 am

Hello yrsa – there’s lots of villages and B&Bs on the Dales Way so it should be possible to do shorter days.


23 March 2019 at 4:12 pm

Hi there,

I was planning on doing part of the Dales Way (Ilkley to Kettlewell) in a couple of week’s time. In the event of heavy rain, is the river liable to flooding resulting in the footpath itself being underwater, or it this nothing to worry about?

Ben wilson

23 March 2019 at 8:35 pm

Hi there,

I’ve found your website so useful – planning the coast to coast walk last year, and the Dalesway walk too. Thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into it.

One small thing – on the Dalesway walk, the distance from Hubberholme to Dent is 22 miles (not the 20 miles per the 5 day itinerary), per my pedometer (and the landlord the The George, Hubberholme)

Thanks again for the incredibly useful website. I’ve used it to plan both walks, and enjoy reading your report of each day before I do the walk – you’re style is highly entertaining!

All the best,

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

31 March 2019 at 10:22 pm

Hello Ben
The measurements on this site are always computed by measuring from maps, using the mapping software Memory Map. Calculating this way does sometimes miss out on some nuances of the trail itself. However it’s generally pretty close to reality on the ground.

As it’s not unknown for me to have made mistakes, I re-calculated it this evening and it comes out as 20 miles – which is also what the Dales Way Association give in their 2012 handbook (specifically they say 20.1 miles).

One thing is for sure though, different ways of measuring things do sometimes give different answers.

tim johnston

2 April 2019 at 3:33 pm

Hi having done the PW and The CC in the last two years the next option would appear to be the dales way. So planning to do form Ilkley to Sedbergh, but then over the Howgils to Ravenstonedale and finish the day after in Appleby. I find your website most informative and has been a great help in planning my trips.


7 April 2019 at 6:40 pm

Greetings, We are planning a three day trip to Yorkshire (either early July or mid/late September)
We would like two days walking and then a day in York before returning home. Would prefer two days walking approx 10-12 miles per day on picturesque route that has sufficient pubs (at least one or two every 5 miles)….Scenery and pubs more important than fancy hotels. Walk would be linear and we would carry our gear or get sherpa/ sherberts to sort.
Any magic appreciated.


4 June 2019 at 8:25 pm

I saw that someone asked about wild camping along the route, but there was no response. Is it possible?
Also I am thinking of starting in Bowness-on-Windermere. Why do most people end there rather than start there?

Percy hughes

16 September 2019 at 1:06 pm

Hi I’m looking to walk from grassington to Bolton Abbey via burnsal does the dales way route follow the river wharfe all the way down please

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

16 September 2019 at 2:01 pm

Hello Percy – it’s follows it very closely.

Alastair Moir

23 December 2019 at 7:45 pm

Two of us were hoping to get to Ilkley by train from ‘the soft south’ but the return fares are jaw dropping (even with railcards, off peak etc). I wonder if anyone has experience of leaving a car for 6 days in Ilkley and, if so, where?

Richard Holmes

15 January 2020 at 1:09 pm


I am hopefully you can help me we are in the process of planning the dales way walk for charity there should be around ten of us doing it maybe more but i am struggling to get the correct distances between campsites etc and because i havent done the walk before i dont know how feasible the walk i have set out is. Everyone doing it is young and pretty fit and we want to push ourselves a little and do it in 4 days.

Currently i have planned the below walk but the distances a quite a bit out as i can only use google maps for a reference. could you please let me know if i need to rethink it or if you can suggest better.

Burness to Mill thorp
Mill thorp to Oughtershaw
Oughtershaw to Burnsel
Burnsel to Ilkley

I believe there are campsites at these places?

Any help would be amazing



Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

16 January 2020 at 9:10 am

Hello Richard – Millthrop is just outside Sedbergh, so the distance of Burneside to Sedbergh will be about 14 miles.
Then to Oughtershaw is about 19. To Burnsall about 22 then 12 to Ilkley.


Judith Rodwell

18 January 2020 at 8:36 pm

Planning to do half the Dales way in June, Ilkley to Gearstones. We intended to do it over 3 days: Ilkely/Grassington, Grassington /Oughtershaw, Oughtershaw/Gearstones. Are there any pubs or restaurants in Oughtershaw do you know?


20 May 2020 at 8:46 pm

We are doing the dalesway over 4 days in August and struggle to find a 4 day illtinaery can u help I’m from grassington so day 1 is easy we gonna do grassington to starbotton, in ideal world would like to do first 3 days at 22 /24 miles per day leaving a shirt 12ish miles on day 4, is this anything u can help with


17 June 2020 at 8:28 pm

We are hoping to be walking the dales way at the end of August but we are struggling to find suitable accommodation. We thought on booking a cottage for the week and getting a lift back to it at the end of each day, do you think this a decent idea???
Thank you

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

18 June 2020 at 8:08 am

Hello Eva – it could work if you pick your cottage location well, although you have an hour or so drive from your location to the walk at some points.


9 January 2021 at 3:11 pm

Me and my boyfriend are wanting to do the Dales way this spring/summer fingers crossed we can. We were wondering if it’s suitable to camp along the way not on a campsite but just put our tent up on the route or would this not be possible?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

10 January 2021 at 2:38 pm

Hi Lydia. From memory there are a few places where you could get away with it but I couldn’t say the whole route. And wild camping is only allowed with landowners permission in England so keep in mind someone may ask you to nl move on


14 February 2021 at 3:17 pm

a group of us are thinking of running the route backwards Ie windermere to ilkley not not running backwards in June this year covering a rough 25 to 26 miles a day where is the natural break point roughly for the 1st nights accomodation? we are all pretty seasoned off road and fell runners and have done several multi day events doing 26 to 30 miles on consecutive days so that shouldnt be a problem. i would like to get to dent (fond boyhood memories as our school had accomodation there) but is that to far from the start for 1 day?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

14 February 2021 at 8:46 pm

Dent would be about 30 miles so may be a bit far. Sedbergh is 24 and there’s nothing much inbetween so it’s either one or the other!


28 February 2021 at 12:15 am

Thank you for this site! I was planning to stay in a cottage for a week but couldn’t decide which village, so am considering giving the Dales Way a go as I’ve always wanted to do a long distance walk. I’m fit but no seasoned walker; I usually go for shortish walks (around 6 miles but have walked up to 18 miles in a day before) using route descriptionswhich has thus far served me well for pottering around the Lake District etc. Most sites say the trail is easy to navigate with the odd tricky bit. I’m wondering whether my lack of ability to map read/use a compass would make doing this alone a bad idea for me… What do you think?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

28 February 2021 at 8:00 pm

Hello Rachael
For the most part, the Dales Way is really easy to navigate. There’s lots of signs and most guide books will include directions too – for example, the Cicerone book does. I wouldn’t worry too much about a compass on the Dales Way, but there are a few bits where knowing how to read a map will be useful. What you may find useful is to have the map on your phone if you can do that. With a subscription to the OS Maps app you can see exactly where you are. If you have a smartphone with GPS, it’s a good option.

Ken Winter

8 March 2021 at 1:38 pm

Hi Andrew

I will be leaving my car in ilkley.

Where do most people park

Whilst on the walk

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

21 March 2021 at 8:43 pm

Hello Ken – afraid I personally don’t know where people keep their cars. I did it by using trains instead!

James Hall

27 July 2021 at 10:32 am

Good Morning all
I’m planning on walking the Dalesway from Windermere to Ilkley. But i can’t find a map book ect that has directions that way round. Can anyone help
Cheers James

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

27 July 2021 at 10:40 am

Hello James – have you looked at the Cicerone Walking the Dales Way book listed above? I don’t know about the latest edition, but the 2005 edition has directions for Windermere to Ilkley, as well as Ilkley to Windermere. You can find the 2005 edition available online second hand.

Rod Fletcher

12 November 2022 at 7:28 am

Hi, reaching 70 next year (most of which were as a couch potato), however have lost a lot of weight and thought I might do the Dalesway to celebrate, but in a series of days (rather than one hike) using circular routes. I have a borrowed copy of ?The Dalesway Route Guide by Gemmell/Speakman, but that seems very old now. Are you aware of an updated version or similar that could help me planning?


29 April 2024 at 9:20 pm

Hi All
Several questions about parking… A couple of years ago I used Justpark to find a spot in Ilkley, although there appear to be far fewer now. A couple of supermarkets may allow long stay parking. Previously I had found a quiet back street and left the car there – but the local council has made permit parking a big thing!
Doing the Dales High Way I parked at a council site in Shipley (using an app) and this gives a great walk to Ilkley or Addingham and is pretty accessible by public transport.
Other thoughts: from Cam Houses I have gone up and along the Pennine Bridleway – initially due to forestry work. It is an interesting path but can lead to more road walking towards Dent. An alternative is to head to Gearstones but follow the Dales High Way alongside the viaduct and over the rump of Whernside to rejoin Dales Way just before Dent.
YH at Kettlewell run by lovely people! (and the village shop does fabulous take-out breakfast!)

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