The Dales are renowned as an area which is best explored on foot. ‘Like so much of nature the air in high places is an inexhaustible source of beauty’ said John Hillaby, and Priestley before him – ‘You caught the fever when you were quite young, and it never left you. However small and dark your office or warehouse was, somewhere inside your head the high moors were glowing, the curlews were crying, and there blew a wind as soft as if it came straight from the middle of the Atlantic.’ Because the Dales have been a classic walking area for decades, there are many guides to suggest routes.

Back in 2005 we celebrated our 60th anniversary and one of the things we did to mark the occasion was to publish ‘Wild Wharfedale’, a booklet containing a selection of places where we know you can see the best of Wharfedale – its bones and its life blood. The sites were chosen to illustrate how the Dale was formed and the variety of species which which we share it. They are readily accessible, by road and public footpath, and many can be seen without great exertion. The booklet is no longer available, but here you can still enjoy the best of Wharfedale as we do. Just choose the part of Wharfedale, Littondale or the river Washburn you’d like to visit, click on a walk marker and note the number, then click on the walk marker on the left. You can zoom in and out and click on the Road and Satellite views as well.

First an introductory walk, one of a number in Wharfedale Nats Amanda and Brin Best’s book Wild flower walks of the Yorkshire Dales (Southern Region). It is a gentle introduction to the middle dale:

Grassington Walk

Defra lists countryside walks in areas managed under environmental schemes providing public access, such as countryside stewardship schemes.

Walking Englishman includes many walks in our area, some of them demanding treks off the paths. The illustrated web site is an excellent introduction to off-road Wharfedale. They include:

Almscliff Crag Leathley,
Stainburn & Lindley
Lindley Wood & Norwood Edge
Fewston Reservoir Timble & Swinsty Thruscross & Rocking Moor
House Estate
Otley Chevin Blubberhouses Moor
Ilkley Moor Round Hill from Askwith Beamsley Beacon
The Strid in flood The Strid and Simon’s Seat Simon’s Seat and Troller’s Gill
Gill in flood
Grassington Moor Conistone Dib & Mossdale Scar
Buckden Pike & Great Whernside Penyghent from Litton  

Walking Britain has over 3000 pages of information on walks throughout Britain. There are a number of walks in the Wharfedale area:

Arncliffe Great Whernside Valley of Desolation & Barden Fell
Barden Bridge & the Strid Mastiles Lane & Conistone Dib Yockenthwaite & Hubberholme
Buckden Pike Simon’s Seat Cosh and Foxup

Walking world has over 1700 routes, of which 14 fall within our area:

Arncliffe – Kettlewell – Arncliffe Chevin Park Ilkley Moor – Swastica Stone – Cow & Calf
Barden Moor above Bolton Abbey Embsay – Upper Barden Reservoir – Embsay Moor Ilkley Moor – White House /Swastika Stone
Buckden Rake Grassington-Burnsall-Linton-Grassington Kettlewell – Buckden Pike – Buckden -Kettlewell
Bolton Abbey – Draughton Grassington – Conistone Dib – River Wharfe – Grassington Stump Cross – Grimwith Reservoir – Trollers Gill – Stump Cross
Bolton Park – Dales Way – Simon’s Seat – Valley of Destruction – Bolton Park Ilkley Moor – Gill Head – Stone Circle – Cow & Calf  

Walking in the Yorkshire Dales is a site with walks where you can leave your car at home:

Upper Wharfedale  Lower Wharfedale Ilkley Moor

The Dalesway is a long-distance route, from Ilkley to Lake Wndermere, of which the first half takes you the length of Wharfedale. Sherpavan will take care of your baggage for you.