The Dales Way
A complete guide to the Trail
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An essential guidebook to walking the Dales Way. This picturesque 78 mile long distance route through the Yorkshire Dales between Ilkley and Bowness on Windermere is one of the gentlest multi-day walks in Britain. The route is described in both directions, visiting Grassington, Kettlewell, Buckden, Dent, Sedbergh and Staveley en route to Bowness.
- It is possible to walk the Dales Way at any time of year. Spring and autumn ideal. May be more difficult to get accommodation in high summer and winter.
- Bowness, Sedbergh, Dent Head, Buckden, Grassington, Burnsall, Ilkley
- Suitable introduction to long-distance walking. Some quite isolated stretches, but never far from help/shelter.
- Must See
- Historic buildings, roads, bridges, etc. Landscape, flowers and wildlife. Bolton Abbey, Dent, Dales villages.
The Dales Way is a delightful multi-day walk through the Yorkshire Dales and the eastern fringe of the Lake District between Ilkley and Bowness on Windermere, a total of 78 miles.
One of the gentlest multi-day walks in Britain, the Dales Way route is suitable for all ages and an excellent introduction to long-distance walking.
The route makes the most of delectable Wharfedale, travelling virtually to the source of the great river before crossing into the equally delightful Dentdale. This too is followed as it fashions a lovely course through the village of Dent and on to Sedbergh, where it joins the Rawthey. From here, the Way strikes westward into the fringe of Lakeland.
The great attraction of the Way is that it is rarely far from features of architectural, social, ecological or historic interest, with churches, ancient bridges, manor houses, shooting lodges, Roman roads, stone circles, packhorse routes, viaducts and nature trails - the Dales Way has them all.
The Second Edition
Planning the Walk
Accommodation and Additional Information
The Dales Way: Ilkley to Bowness
Stage 1 Ilkley to Bolton Abbey
Stage 2 Bolton Abbey to Barden Bridge
Stage 3 Barden Bridge to Burnsall
Stage 4 Burnsall to Grassington
Stage 5 Grassington to Kettlewell
Stage 6 Kettlewell to Buckden
Stage 7 Buckden to Beckermonds
Stage 8 Beckermonds to Holme Hill
Stage 9 Holme Hill to Dent (Church Bridge)
Stage 10 Dent (Church Bridge) to Millthrop (Sedbergh)
3 Lonsdale and the Lakeland Fringe
Stage 11 Millthrop (Sedbergh) to Lincoln’s Inn Bridge
Stage 12 Lincoln’s Inn Bridge to Crook of Lune Bridge
Stage 13 Crook of Lune Bridge to Burneside
4 Into Lakeland
Stage 14 Burneside to Staveley
Stage 15 Staveley to Bowness
The Dales Way: Bowness to Ilkley
1 Out of Lakeland
2 The Lakeland Fringe and Lonsdale
Appendix 1 Bibliography
Appendix 2 Useful addresses
Harvey Maps have produced a single map depicting the entire route plus the links into Bradford, Leeds and Harrogate. At a scale of 1:40,000, this map is waterproof and GPS compatible, and available from Harvey, 12–22 Main Street, Doune, Perthshire FK16 6BJ; telephone: 01786 841202; fax: 01786 841098; e-mail:
The new Ordnance Survey Explorer series of maps replaces the Outdoor Leisure and the Pathfinder maps, all to a scale of 1:25,000. To complete the Dales Way with Explorer maps you will need numbers 297 (Lower Wharfedale and Washburn Valley), OL2 (Yorkshire Dales: Southern and Western areas), OL30 (Yorkshire Dales: Northern and Central areas), OL19 (Howgill Fells and Upper Eden Valley) and OL7 (The English Lakes (South-Eastern area)).
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In the section "Lincoln’s Inn Bridge to Crook of Lune Bridge", the text details an alternate route if Crossdale Beck is impassable using either the ford or stepping stones. These no longer appear to be present, however a footbridge has been constructed approx. 5m from the stile.
Thanks to John Rattray for this update.
pg. 14 and pg. 147
The contact address for The Dales Way Association has changed and this is now the correct address for obtaining the handbook:
The Dales Way Association
PO Box 1065
Their website address is unchanged : www.dalesway.org.uk, but the telephone number on page 147 is no longer in use.
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Dr Terry Marsh is a Lancashire-based award-winning writer and photographer who specialises in the outdoors, the countryside, walking and travel worldwide. He has been writing books since the mid-1980s, and is the author of over 100 titles.
Terry holds a PhD in Historical Geography and a Master of Arts degree (with Distinction) in Lake District Studies, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (FSA Scot), a member of the National Union of Journalists, and an Honorary Life Member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.
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