The Herriot Way is a 52 mile (84 km) long distance path that runs through some of the best scenery in the Yorkshire Dales; including the world famous Wensleydale and picturesque Swaledale.
Along its length walkers will visit beautiful valleys, high, open fells and rolling, heather-clad moorland. The route crosses one of the highest points in Yorkshire, visits historic monuments and passes through a barren industrial wilderness; laid bare through lead mining. Anyone walking the Herriot Way will have had a fantastic introduction to the Yorkshire Dales.
The route is designed around the four villages of Aysgarth, Grinton, Keld and Hawes and as such is generally considered to be a four day walk. This four day itinerary also means it is broken down into four equal stages of about 13 miles (21 km) each day.
The traditional starting point of the Herriot Way is Aysgarth. This guide describes the walk as starting and ending here, however as a circular walk, you could start at any point along its length.
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Clockwise or anti-clockwise?
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.
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.
Historical interest on the Way
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.
Is it a suitable walk for me?
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 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.