Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales
The Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales is a 76 mile circular walk devised to be completed in six days. The route explores eleven of the most beautiful valleys in the world, leaving you with a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Yorkshire Dales. The title of this long distance walk reflects its emphasis on good food and drink along the way, passing as it does no less than 26 traditional English pubs.
The route starts and ends at the charming village of Grassington in upper Wharfedale, within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The first day's walk takes you north along Wharfedale to the village of Buckden via Arncliffe. The paths are mainly across grassy pasture, enclosed meadowland and along riverbanks plus a climb over Birks Fell which offers superb views over upper Wharfedale. Buckden is situated near the head of Wharfedale in a delightful setting amongst the fells.
Day two continues north to Askrigg, climbing out of Wharfedale across the flank of Buckton Pike and onto the exposed moorland of Stake Moss. Following a descent into Cragdale the walk often follows riverside paths and meadowland, first to the picturesque village of Bainbridge and then Askrigg. Once an important market town, Askrigg is now very much a tourist centre made popular by association with Turner who painted scenes in the area and Wordsworth. The nearby waterfalls, Whitfield Fill Force and Mill Gill Force also draw visitors to the village.
Day three continues north to Reeth beginning with a long climb onto Askrigg Common from where there are fine views of Askrigg and Wensleydale. From Ivelet Bridge clear paths lead across meadowland and along riverbanks to Gunnerside. From here to Reeth the path crosses the heather moorland of Harkerside Moor. Reeth is situated on the River Swale at its junction with Arkle Beck.
On day four you head south, crossing the Swale at Grinton and ascending onto Grinton Moor from where there are fine views back to Reeth and Swaledale. Following a descent into remote and lonely Apedale another climb leads to more splendid views and a descent into Castle Bolton, dominated by the imposing Bolton Castle, a craggy relic of the 14th century with a fascinating history. The route now heads to the ancient village of Carperby and then on to Aysgarth Falls, where you are sure to want to stop and admire the impressive series of waterfalls along the river Ure. High Force is the most spectacular, especially after rain, but by following the riverside path through Freeholder's Wood you can reach the middle and lower falls. From Aysgarth it is only a short walk to West Burton, your overnight stop and a village regarded by many as one of the loveliest in the Dales.
Day five is a good days walking, heading south to Kettlewell via Horsehouse in upper Coverdale. There are two ascents onto Fleensop Moor and Top Mere Gate. Much of this walk follows surfaced unfenced roads or turf bridleways. A section between Horsehouse and Woodale follows riverside meadows. Kettlewell is another pretty village in upper Wharfedale popular with walkers. A number of ancient packhorse routes which converge here have now provided excellent walks which, combined with the charm of the 17th and 18th century cottages, make the village an appealing location.
The final day's walking takes you back to Grassington along ancient green lanes. The ascent from Kettlewell up onto Conistone Moor affords wonderful views of Upper Wharfedale. From Yarnbury clear miner's tracks lead through an area of old lead mines, then down through Hebden Gill. From Hebden to Grassington the walk follows paths across meadow land and along quiet country lanes.
This long distance route is the personal creation of the guidebook author, Mark Reid and he will keep you entertained, informed and enthralled throughout the journey with his enthusiastic and scholarly narrative. This is a wonderful walk, but with Mark Reid as your guide it will be even more memorable and enjoyable.
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