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Six Dales Trail

The Six Dales Trail runs through some of the most beautiful yet little-known countryside in the Yorkshire Dales. The Trail starts in Otley, 12 miles to the northwest of Leeds, and heads north for 38 miles to Middleham, traversing the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and taking the walker into six dales, each with its own distinctive character. Along its way it crosses the five watersheds that separate the six dales that give it its name. From Wharfedale it passes over into Washburndale, then into Nidderdale, Colsterdale, Coverdale and finally Wensleydale.

The guidebook divides the route into 14 short sections as follows:
Otley to Clifton - 2.3 miles
Clifton to Timble Gill Beck - 4 miles
Timble Gill Beck to Blubberhouses - 3.6 miles
Blubberhouses to Greenhow Hill Road water tower - 2.8 miles
Greenhow Hill Road water tower to Hall Field House Farm - 1.2 miles
Hall Field House Farm to High Hood Gap - 2 miles
High Hood Gap to Pateley Bridge - 2.1 miles
Pateley Bridge to Coville Barn - 3.6 miles
Coville Barn to Lulbeck Head - 3.5 miles
Lulbeck Head to Pott Moor High Road - 2.5 miles
Pott Moor High Road to Leeds Pals Memorial - 1.6 miles
Leeds Pals Memorial to Ellingstring - 2.8 miles
Ellingstring to Jervaulx Abbey - 2.2 miles
Jervaulx Abbey to Middleham - 4 miles

From Otley the trail makes its way northwards, often along little-used field paths threading across sheep pastures bordered by ancient stone walls into Washburndale. Here the trail runs alongside three reservoirs before climbing over a watershed and down through woodland to Glasshouses. The River Nidd is followed upstream to Pateley Bridge.

From Pateley Bridge the trail initially stays close to the Nidd and then runs alongside Gouthwaite Reservoir. It then climbs out of Nidderdale up onto vast Fountains Earth moor before dropping down into little-known Colsterdale and the hamlet of Gollinglith. Another climb takes the trail over superb moorland to a watershed which opens up a view of lower Wensleydale. The trail then descends from the moors down to Ellingstring and across pastures and wooded eighteenth century parkland to Jervaulx Abbey.

From Jervaulx Abbey the trail follows the banks of the River Ure and then a tributary, the River Cover, through well-wooded country. The trail makes a final decisive turn up the hillside and over the brow to reveal the magnificent sight of Middleham Castle.

Text has been adapted from the guidebook. For further information visit the Six Dales Trail website at www.sixdalestrail.org.uk where accommodation information along the Trail is available.


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Start: Otley

Grid Ref: SE 202456

End: Middleham

Grid Ref: SE 127877

Distance: 38 miles

Walking Time: 3 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
297, 298, 302, OL30

Six Dales Trail Walking Guidebook

More information or purchase guidebook