Planning a Dales Way walk

Last updated 24 August 2017

81 Miles

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. Accommodation
  5. Getting to/from the Dales Way
  6. Guide Books and Maps
  7. And finally, and any questions

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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

Invasion of the chickens

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 Notes
Miles Km
1 Ilkley * Grassington 16 26
2 Grassington Hubberholme or Oughtershaw 12½ or 17½ 20 or 28 [1]
3 Hubberholme or Oughtershaw Dent 20 or 15 32 or 24 [1] [2]
4 Dent Burneside * 20 32 [2] [3]
5 Burneside * Windermere * 10 16
6 Day Itinerary
Day From To Distance Notes
Miles Km
1 Ilkley * Burnsall 12 19½
2 Burnsall Kettlewell 10 16
3 Kettlewell Gearstones (for Ribblehead) * 15½ 25 [4]
4 Gearstones (for Ribblehead) * Sedbergh 14 22½ [4]
5 Sedbergh Burneside * 13½ 22; [3]
6 Burneside * 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 us at Ribblehead and accommodation can be found at The Station Inn, next to the railway station. Both are a 1½ mile walk down the road from the Dales Way.

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 relative rurality 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.

Accommodation

The George and Dragon, 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.

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.

The only accommodation at Ribblehead is the Station Inn which offers both B&B and a bunkbarn. However Ribblehead station is just next door on the Settle to Carlisle line, which offers other accommodation options. Burneside also has frequent bus and train services to Kendal which has extensive accommodation options. which again offers plenty of options.

Hostels and bunkbarns

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

Camping

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

Open top bus outside Bolton Abbey 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, guide book and a bandanna

There aren’t a huge number of Dales Way guides. One of the most popular is Cicerone’s guide, by Terry Marsh and this was the one I used, and lists the route in both directions. It was published in 2005.

It features Ordnance Survey maps of the route, however only at the 1:50,000 scale. As the route is relatively simple and well way-marked, this is not generally a huge problem except between Sedbergh and Burneside where the route goes through a lot of farms and gets a bit confusing.

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.

Newly published in 2016 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.

If you’d prefer a map, Harveys produce a 1:40,000 scale map for the whole route.

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

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

Looking back towards Oughtershaw Moss

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.

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Your Comments

Gary

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

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.

Gary

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

ray

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

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 http://www.dalesway.org.uk/accommodation.htm. This includes (by the looks of it) some farms where the owners are known to be happy to allow camping.

Kat

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

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!)

Jerry

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

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.

Jo

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

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

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.

Tracy

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

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

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

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

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?
Thanks

Andrew Bowden

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

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

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.

Becky

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

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!

william

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,
Regards
William

Andrew Bowden

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

Mike

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

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?

Jo

5 August 2015 at 9:17 pm

Hi,
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.

Hannah

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

7 September 2015 at 9:43 am

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

Amy

14 October 2015 at 9:46 pm

Hi,

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

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

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.

Emma

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 cullingford44@aol.com and at Grayrigg Law barn, Patton Bridge, LA8 9DU Tel 01539 824892 Email moonfeather44@gmail.com 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
L

Andrew Bowden

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

Lusa

9 May 2016 at 1:52 pm

Hello
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

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,
Lisa

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

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.

Vicky

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

Hi!
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

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

Hi!
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

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.

Aja

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

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.

Simon

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

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. dalesbus.org has details of what services exist in the area.

Simon

16 August 2017 at 1:18 pm

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

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