Finding the best routes, viewpoints and photographs can be tricky, but not if you join us on our Yorkshire Dales guided walks. Maybe you want to find good viewpoints or places of interest along your walking route. Or maybe you want to plan a day’s itinerary based on visiting the most popular spots. Either way, a guide can help keep you safe and comfortable; make your experience more successful and enjoyable, including keeping the right pace; and can make the day a valuable learning experience, including passing on a whole host of useful tips.
Booking and Prices
If you’d like to know more about a guided walk in the Yorkshire Dales then see our main page for more details and prices; or have a look at the Calendar for forthcoming “Open” events. When you are ready, then get in touch to make an enquiry or a booking.
We also guide mountain walks in Snowdonia, the Lake District and the Scottish highlands.
Yorkshire Dales Guided Walks – Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge
One of our most popular guided walks is, not surprisingly, the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Whether you choose to go for the ‘challenge’ time target of 12 hours or not, it’s still a tough, long walk. It involves the ascent of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent and a distance of around 38km (24 miles) and 1500 metres of ascent.
Alternatively, why not try a walk up just one (or maybe two) of the three peaks for a more leisurely day? An ascent of Pen-y-Ghent makes for a short day and can be combined with a visit to Hull Pot. Located on the slopes of Pen-y-Ghent, Hull Pot is a collapsed cavern. In dry conditions, the small stream disappears underground upstream of Hull Pot and emerges as a small waterfall underneath it. However, in wet conditions the stream can flow into Hull Pot as a dramatic cascade.
Yorkshire Dales Guided Walks – Other Peaks
Sometimes you’d be hard-pressed to believe it, but the Yorkshire Dales do have more than three peaks to choose from. It’s a huge National Park covering 2179 square kilometres (841 square miles) and has 30 summits over 2,000ft (the original criteria for being a ‘mountain’ in the UK, rather than a ‘hill’).
Consequently, there are many, many fine walks available in the Yorkshire Dales. The picture below shows the slopes below Great Whernside near Kettlewell. This area is one of the most picturesque in the southern Dales and featured heavily in the recent TV adaptation of ‘All Creatures Great and Small. Confusingly, Great Whernside is actually smaller that its namesake, Whernside, on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Route.
Yorkshire Dales Guided Walks – Limestone Country
Limestone is the rock most closely associated with the Yorkshire Dales. This lone hawthorn tree on a limestone pavement is a popular spot for picnickers and photographers. Perched high on the hills above Settle, it gives great views of all three of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
Many visitors to the Yorkshire Dales come to see typical limestone country – limestone pavements, steep cliffs and gorges, waterfalls and (under the ground) vast caverns in the complex cave systems under our feet. As soon as anyone mentions limestone, their very next word is almost always Malham. Malham Cove and Gordale Scar is a very popular guided walk. This route goes into dramatic landscapes which show off the best of the Yorkshire Dales’ limestone features.
Yorkshire Dales Guided Walks – Waterfalls
The many waterfalls associated with limestone country are a further draw for walkers and photographers alike. A good number of visitors to the area come to see the many dramatic waterfalls that are all over the Dales. These vary from small drops in wide rivers, such as at Aysgarth Falls; to spectacular single drop falls such as Hardraw Falls.
With a drop of around 100ft, Hardraw Falls is often labelled as England’s largest single drop fall. However this is only partly true. The real honour goes to the waterfall in Gaping Gill, which is over 300ft high. Sadly for many of us, as Gaping Gill is underground it’s one we are not likely to see. However, we can show you the entrance to Gaping Gill where the water disappears into the top of the cavern, as this is on the slopes of Ingleborough.
The best time to visit Yorkshire’s waterfalls is in the autumn. There is usually plenty of water about and the golden colours of the autumn leaves provide a picturesque contrast, as in this picture of Mill Gill Force below.
Yorkshire Dales Guided Walks – Long Distance Paths
The Yorkshire Dales also contain parts of some of the country’s most well-known Long Distance Paths (LDPs). The most well known is probably the Pennine Way. Other important ones include the Pennine Bridleway, the Dales High Way and the Nidderdale Way, to name a few.
The very popular Dales Way runs for about 80 miles, from Ilkley to Bowness-in-Windermere in Cumbria. The start point is at the very famous ‘Old Bridge’ in Ilkley (below).
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the Yorkshire Dales?
The Yorkshire Dales is the name given to a part of the Pennine Hills and the surrounding areas, mostly in North Yorkshire.
In this area, the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been created. This Park covers an area of 2,179 square kilometres (or 841 square miles) and includes parts of North Yorkshire, Lancahsire and Cumbria.
How many Yorkshire Dales are there?
Within the Yorkshire Dales National Park there over 20 individually named valleys, or ‘dales’.
Where can you walk in the Yorkshire Dales?
Maybe the question should be ‘Where can’t you walk in the Yorkshire Dales?’ Of course, there is a lot of agricultural land and there are indeed a lot of places where you can’t legally walk. However, the Yorkshire Dales National Park includes 2,628km of public footpaths and 618km of bridleways. In addition, around 60% of the YDNP area has been designated ‘open access’ land under the CRoW Act. This means that you can roam freely, but responsibly, anywhere at all on this land.
What is there to see in the Yorkshire Dales?
The Yorkshire Dales is most famous for its limestone countryside. Above the ground are hills and mountains, including the Yorkshire Three Peaks – Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent. There are areas of limestone pavement, huge cliffs (such as at Malham), dramatic gorges (like Gordale Scar), and dozens of waterfalls.
Underground are enormous cave systems. Many of these are accessible only to experienced cavers, but some have turned into easily-accessible tourist attractions – White Scar Caves, Ingleton Cave and Stump Cross Caverns are all ‘show caves’ open to the public.
What mountains are in the Yorkshire Dales?
There are 30 summits over 2,000 feet high in the Yorkshire Dales.
The most well-known are the highest, Whernside (736m) and second-highest, Ingleborough (724m). Along with a smaller peak, Pen-y-Ghent (694m – and not the third highest as many believe), these three form the basis of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.