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Howgills and Limestone Trail

The Howgills and Limestone Trail is a 76-mile long distance walk from Kirkby Stephen to Settle through this picturesque and, in parts, demanding area of Cumbria and North Yorkshire, with a short diversion into Lancashire.

It draws its inspiration from Alfred Wainwright's two pictorial guides ‘Walks in Limestone Country’ and ‘Walks in the Howgill Fells’. He wrote "The Howgill Fells ..... are sleek and smooth, looking, from a distance, like velvet curtains in sunlight, like silken drapes at sunset; they are steep-sided but gently domed, and beautiful in a way that few hilly areas are ...... The compactness of the group is emphasised by a remarkable concentration of summits, often likened to a huddle of squatting elephants."

The route has strong associations with railways. It passes over the spectacular Smardale Gill viaduct, and close to the Stainmore Railway, the disused Ingleton and Tebay Railway, and the Settle–Carlisle railway.

The guidebook describes the route in seven day walk stages as follows:
Kirkby Stephen to Ravenstonedale – 8.5 miles
Ravenstonedale to Cautley – 9.5 miles
Cautley to Sedbergh – 11.75 miles
Sedbergh to Barbon – 11.25 miles
Barbon to Ingleton – 11 miles
Ingleton to Horton in Ribblesdale – 12.5 miles
Horton in Ribblesdale to Settle – 12 miles

A circular walk can be created by following the final stages of the ‘Pennine Journey’ path in reverse order from Settle back to Kirkby Stephen. The total distance of this circular option is 134 miles.


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Start: Kirkby Stephen

Grid Ref: NY 774088

End: Settle

Grid Ref: SD 817634

Distance: 122 km

Walking Time: 7 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
OL2, OL19, OL41

Howgills and Limestone Way guide book

To purchase the guidebook from our bookshop please click the image above