7 of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales

Wensleydale (Picture: Shutterstock)Wensleydale (Picture: Shutterstock)
Wensleydale (Picture: Shutterstock)
The Yorkshire Dales are famous for their beautiful rolling hills and friendly people.

Here’s a round-up of some of the most picturesque hidden gem walks through Yorkshire's pretty villages, ancient sites and past stunning waterfalls.


Distance: 7 miles

Bolton Castle (Picture: Shutterstock)Bolton Castle (Picture: Shutterstock)
Bolton Castle (Picture: Shutterstock)

Start point: Middleham, Leyburn DL8 4PE

If you walk over Middleham High Moor, you'll find a great view over Wensleydale and the green pastureland below. Hedges, trees and walls criss-cross this beautiful valley full of oak trees with a view up towards the heights of Redmire Moor. Rollins Lane is full of wildflowers in summer and leads to Wensley village on the banks of the River Ure. Wander through Warren Wood, which is full of orchids at the right time of year, and take the back lane from Wensley to Bolton Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots was held captive for six months. Finish your walk at the little village of Castle Bolton.

Richmond and Valley of the Swale

Distance: 3 miles

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Ingleton Waterfalls (Picture: Shutterstock)Ingleton Waterfalls (Picture: Shutterstock)
Ingleton Waterfalls (Picture: Shutterstock)

Start point: Brompton on Swale Caravan Park, Richmond DL10 7EU

History lovers will enjoy a walk towards Richmond along the Valley of the Swale. If it's sunny you'll be grateful for the shade of the enormous chestnut and beech trees among the folds of hills and distant moors. This is the same wooded view that English Romantic painter JMW Turner would have seen in his day. At Easby there is a ruined parish church, gatehouse and abbey beside the river Swale, which ripples down a stony bed. In winter water pours off the moors and the river reaches the walls of the monastic buildings. Richmond itself has a stunning Norman castle where King Arthur is said to lie in a cave hidden beneath it.

Malham Tarn archaeology walk

Distance: 5.5 miles

Sledmere, Yorkshire (Picture: Shutterstock)Sledmere, Yorkshire (Picture: Shutterstock)
Sledmere, Yorkshire (Picture: Shutterstock)

Start point: Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire, BD23 4DL

Discover archaeological remains in a landscape which has been used by man since the Mesolithic era. This is a walk in the footsteps of monks who farmed the land around Fountains Abbey. In the 18th century, drovers from Scotland would bring up to 20,000 cattle here to trade.

James Herriot Way

Distance: 52 miles

​Start point: Aysgarth, Leyburn, DL8 3AD

A great route to follow if you're looking for a longer challenge over four or five days is the Herriot Way, named after the well known vet and writer who lived here. Covering 52 miles, this circular trek features a walk in the valley and takes in parts of Swaledale and Wensleydale including Aysgarth, Grinton, Keld, Askrigg and Hawes. It also boasts some of the most stunning walking features of the dales in Hardraw Force, Aysgarth Falls and Bolton Castle, as well as open moorland and the natural landscape of the dales.

Linton-in-Craven and Thorpe-sub-Montem

Distance: 4.6 miles

​Start point: Bursall, Skipton, BD23 6BN

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In Wharfedale the river narrows to a gorge thirty feet deep which is stunning in summer. From the village of Burnsall to what is sometimes called Thorpe in the Hollow, you'll find the 'hidden hamlet' that Scottish raiders missed in the 14th century during their rampage south. This is a varied walk that takes in some beautiful old-fashioned villages. Linton has bridges and a green with the river Eller Beck flowing through it as well as a grand set of almshouses.


Distance: 3.8 miles

​Start point: Helpethorpe, Malton, YO17 8TJ

The countryside around Sledmere is a stunning walk through the chalk uplands of the Wolds with roads lined by hedges. Croome Dale Lane begins near the hamlet of Helpethorpe and leads all the way to Sledmere. The picturesque village of Sledmere sits in a dip of the hills with its cute red brick cottages and houses. You can also visit the grand Sledmere House and Gardens.

Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

Distance: 4.5 miles

​Start point: Broadwood Entrance, Ingleton, Carnforth, LA6 3ET

This four-and-a-half mile walk takes you to a series of waterfalls and you can wander through ancient woodland with the stunning scenery in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail includes a large number of steps so it's unsuitable for wheelchair users.