4 off the beaten track walks in Yorkshire
- Credit: Muddy Boots
Many people are itching to stretch their legs and get out into the countryside but are keen to avoid crowded areas. are the best places in the Yorkshire Dales to go for a great walk while making sure you have a bit of space to yourself?
Wild Boar Fell – the Mallerstang valley
If you want to head for a summit but would rather avoid the famous three peaks (which will undoubtedly be packed!), the brooding mountain of Wild Boar Fell is a fantastic option. Sitting on the western side of the remote Mallerstang valley in the Cumbrian part of the National Park, Wild Boar is never crowded. There are some great routes up it and the views from the summit are outstanding, stretching over much of the western Dales, the Howgill Fells and as far as the Lake District. There’s even a little tarn just off the summit for a refreshing dip on a hot day!
You can start at Cotegill Bridge, where there is roadside parking, to head up the eastern side, or at the Fat Lamb Country Inn to take the clear bridleway up the western side (which also gives you a good option for refreshments when you get back, once it reopens!).
Sedbergh – the Howgills and Dentdale
If you would like somewhere with amenities but would prefer to avoid the crowds, Sedbergh sees a fraction of the visitors of the other small towns in the more well-known parts of the Dales. It has a stunning location tucked under the Howgill Fells and the walks available from the town are fantastic.
From here you can head into the Howgill Fells, either on a short walk up Winder, the small hill that looks over the town, or a long circuit as far as the summit of the Calf, the highest point in the Howgills.
Alternatively head south, crossing quiet moors into picture-perfect Dentdale, where the village of Dent is utterly charming but remains peaceful and unhurried on all but the busiest summer weekends. Enjoy a gentle return leg along the babbling River Dee.
Back in town, the Three Hares café/deli is a wonderful place for upmarket picnic supplies or the excellent Black Bull has a spacious beer garden for top quality food with social distance!
Malham is famously busy and but if you want to head to the area and miss the crowds, we recommend avoiding the village and the Cove and aiming for Malham Tarn.
There is plenty of space (and plenty of parking) and lovely walks of varying lengths, either around the tarn itself or exploring the surrounding hills and moors with their impressive limestone pavements and great views.
The tarn is England’s highest lake and is part of an important National Nature Reserve, as it is home to a wide array of rare plants and animals (so no swimming!). Many of the paths are accessible to off-road buggies and wheelchairs.
Simon’s Seat from Bolton Abbey
Bolton Abbey is another very popular spot which you can usually expect to be busy, but the estate has had a really good pre-booking system in place since the easing of the first lockdown that ensures that there is plenty of space and facilities for everyone (but do remember to book ahead!).
That said, the main areas around the abbey and the Cavendish Pavilion remain very popular so, to ensure plenty of space, we recommend the longer walk up to Simon’s Seat at the summit of Barden Fell. This route takes you quickly away from the hot spots, up the atmospheric ‘Valley of Desolation’ and across the moors, for fantastic views of the surrounding area.
On the way down, you can call for a decadent take-away from the excellent Love Brownies ‘Brownie Barn’ then take the quieter route through Strid Wood, along the eastern side of the River Wharfe, rather than the busier path on the west.
Information provided by Muddy Boots Walking Holidays
Find secret spots on Discovery Walks led by a knowledgeable local guide in locations around the Dales. They are private for you and your group and are designed to allow you to really immerse yourself in the Yorkshire Dales landscape and uncover the stories and characteristics that define the Dales while, most importantly, having a fun day out!