Which direction would you recommend walking it in?

Wensleydale in winter

The Herriot Way guide book is written for a clockwise walk (although there is a digital version for anyone wanting to walk anti-clockwise). Baggage transfer providers typically work in a clockwise direction and some B&Bs provide a pick-up and drop-off service that may restrict the direction you take.

What are the highlights?

There is something to delight all walkers on the Herriot Way. If you love walking beside rivers there is the wonderful section beside the River Ure in Wensleydale. If high remote hills are your idea of heaven then the ascent of Great Shunner Fell will be your highlight. Lovers of grouse-filled, heather moorland will revel in the crossing of Melbecks and Harkerside Moors.

What are the lowlights?

The barren wasteland above Gunnerside, created by the lead-mining industry of the 19th Century is not to everyone’s taste; likened to a moonscape it will be a long time before Mother Nature reclaims it.

What is it you love about this trail?

Desolation above Gunnerside

The diversity of the scenery encountered along the relatively short 52 miles of the Herriot Way are what set it apart from the other long walks in the UK. The feeling of remoteness while still being within easy reach of civilisation every day and the mix of easy strolling through the dales and the strenuous ascent of Great Shunner Fell make it a perfect candidate for your first long distance walk.

Any history or background worth mentioning?

Walkers will visit a diverse array of remains from the Lead Mining industry that was prevalent through this area of the Dales for many years. Subtle information boards provide an insight into how hundreds of miners lived and worked in this desolate environment, changing and shaping it forever.

How challenging is it?

The Herriot Way is the perfect walk for a first-time long distance walker, or for an experienced walker looking for a leg-stretcher. The 52 miles are broken into four approximately equal 13 mile days, each one ending in villages with plentiful local amenities.

The good mix of strenuous sections and easy walking through lowlands, beside the wide River Ure make for an interesting walk, giving you a taste of the different kinds of walking available in Northern England.

Waterfalls at Aysgarth

What’s the accommodation and transport like generally?

Accommodation is plentiful at the end of each of the 13 mile section and some days have villages perfectly positioned for a pub lunch. The route could be wild-camped or make use of camp sites along the way.

Some sections are supported by local bus services but the nearest train station is about 15 miles from the route, so getting to the start requires planning.

If you only do one day-walk on the trail it should be…

If you like to walk high, then park in Keld and catch the bus to Reeth, walking back to your car over Melbecks Moor and down the wonderful Swinner Gill. If you prefer a low level walk then use the bus between Hawes and Askrigg to walk beside the Ure.

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