Dales Way is an 84-mile (135 km) long-distance footpath in
Northern England, from (south-east to north-west) Ilkley, West
Yorkshire, to Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria. This walk was initially
devised by the West Riding Ramblers' Association with the 'leading
lights' being Colin Speakman and Tom Wilcock (Foootpath Secretary).
The route was announced to the public in 1968 and the first recorded
crossing was by a group of
Bradford Grammar School
Bradford Grammar School Venture Scouts in
Dales Way passes through two National Parks: the
National Park and the Lake District National Park. The first half of
the walk follows the
River Wharfe upstream to the main watershed of
England at Ribblehead. The second half follows several
river valleys (Dentdale, River Mint, River Kent) to descend to the
shores of Windermere.
2 Notable places
3 Connecting trails
6 External links
The walk is shorter and less strenuous than more well-known routes
such as the
Pennine Way and Coast to Coast Walk, being mostly along
river valleys. It thus makes a good introductory training ground for
these "serious" walks while being well worth doing in its own right.
The section from upper
Wharfedale (Langstrothdale) over the watershed
at Cam Houses and down into
Ribblesdale is steep (going up and down).
It is feasible (for those more interested in a challenge than the
enjoyment of the walk) to complete the walk the route in around four
days, but most walkers take about a week, dividing the route into
sections of 10 to 15 miles per day and taking a "rest day" or two.
Planning an itinerary is generally easy. Public transport (including
Windermere "steamers") is good at both ends of the route (railway
Ilkley and Windermere). The popularity of the walk (and
the area generally) means that there are many choices of accommodation
– for instance, nearly all pubs along the route offer bed and
A meander on the
River Wharfe between
Kettlewell and Starbotton.
The largest settlements on the route are
Bowness-on-Windermere at either end, and the small town of
Dentdale. The town of
Kendal (larger than the other places mentioned)
is not far from the route.
Another notable place is the stone village of Dent, with very little
modern housing. Along Wharfedale, the route passes through the
Grassington and Kettlewell.
Just before it reaches the end at
Bowness-on-Windermere the route
connects with the
Windermere Way. From its initial conception the
Dales Way was planned with links routes to three urban centres in the
West Riding of Yorkshire; Harrogate,
Leeds and Bradford. Details of
connecting trails may be found on the
Dales Way page of the Long
Distance Walkers' Association website.
Less experienced walkers should take care when planning the central
section (over the watershed). This section has, of course, the
greatest ascent and descent, and is rather remote for anyone who finds
themselves in difficulties. The less-fit walker needs to arrange
accommodation in order to make this section as short as possible. This
will almost certainly involve at least one night in a remote farmhouse
or pub, because the novice will probably find that the climbing
involved will make the walk from
Kettlewell or Buckden to Dentdale
much too long a day. This is not too difficult to arrange as there are
Hubberholme and Ribblehead, and farmhouse/bunkhouse
Langstrothdale and (on top of the watershed) at Cam
For much of its length the
Dales Way follows riverside paths in upland
areas. Paths may become flooded and impassable and alternative routes
may need to be followed. The
Dales Way Association maintains
up-to-date information on flooding and other hazards on its website
and publishes suggested route alternatives.
^ Speakman, Colin (1970). The Dales Way. Clapham, Yorkshire: Dalesman
^ Plowright, A. (1998). A Glimpse of Yorkshire. Moorfield Press.
pp. 73–82. ISBN 0 9530 11 92 5.
^ "The Dales Way". The
Dales Way Association. Retrieved 17 January
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dales Way.
Dales Way Association
The Long Distance Walkers' Association
Dales Way 2005 Journal from kevanliz
Coordinates: 53°55′44″N 1°49′57″W / 53.9289°N