National Trail: East
Midlands/Northwest and Northeast England/Yorkshire/Cumbria/Scotland
Way National Trail
Edale to Kirk Yetholm
429km/268 miles CHALLENGING
The Pennine Way, following a high
and wild course along the backbone of England from the Peak District to the
Scottish borders, is one of Britain's best known and toughest long distance
The route was first proposed in a 1935 newspaper article by Tom
Stephenson, walkers' champion and for many years Secretary of the
Ramblers' Association. Following ongoing pressure from the Ramblers, the Pennine
Way Association and other walkers' groups, it was designated as Britain's first
official long distance footpath in 1951, under new post-war legislation. The
route finally opened in April 1965, thirty years after Stephenson's original
article. It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2005.
For all but the
southernmost 24km of its course, the Way now forms part of European footpath E2.Connects with
Brontë Way, Calderdale Way, Central Scottish
Way, Coast to Coast Walk, Dales
Way, Eden Way, Hadrian's Wall Path, Haworth-Hebden
Isaac's Tea Trail, Kirklees Way,
Limestone Way (Derbyshire, via footpath link Edale to Castleton), Medlock Valley Way, Midshires
Way (via Pennine Bridleway or Trans Pennine Trail), Oldham Way (E2 Dover Branch), Pennine
Way, St Cuthberts' Way (E2),
South Tyne Trail,
Harwich Branch), Todmorden Centenary Walk, Trans Pennine Trail (E8),
Tyne Walk (see
South Tyne Trail)
Local authorities Bradford, Calderdale,
North Yorkshire, Northumberland,
Parks and countryside
North Pennines AONB,
Northumberland National Park, Peak District National Park,
Yorkshire Dales National Park
Advice | Accommodation and Practical Info | Maps,
Books, LinksLong Distance Paths | Alphabetical Index | Regional Index
East Midlands | NW
England | Yorkshire | Cumbria
| NE England | Scotland
on walking the route
The Pennine Way traverses a wide variety of terrain, from the
gritstone moorlands of Derbyshire to the springy limestone turf of the Yorkshire
Dales. Natural features include thundering waterfalls, huge limestone cliffs and
large areas of blanket bogland. However, the popularity of this National Trail,
and the fact that many people tackle certain sections as one-day walks or part
of a circular walk, has led to problems. Some places become overcrowded at
peak times, and serious erosion has occurred, especially on the slopes of Kinder
Scout and Pen-y-Ghent. Walkers should consequently approach the route with
The route is traditionally walked from south to
north, from Edale to Kirk Yetholm, and most guidebooks describe it this way.
Although the route is officially 412km in length, you will probably walk a
little further in total (there are several small sections where diversions and
alternative routes exist). Most people take two to three weeks to complete the
walk; the official guide estimates 19 days as a reasonable figure. But of course
you can take as long as you want, and some people prefer to walk the route in
leisurely weekend sections over many months.
The Way is only intermittently waymarked with
signposts and cairns, so you will need a guidebook and maps (with a compass to
aid routefinding). Most Pennine Way veterans say that the toughest stages are
the first and last: the notorious peat bogs of Kinder Scout, Bleaklow and Black
Hill, and the bare and boggy final stretch through the Cheviot Hills to Kirk
In between, there is firmer walking through the
dramatic limestone country around Malham, followed by long, hard slogs up
Fountains Fell, Pen-y-Ghent and Cross Fell. Here it is airy, expansive and
invigorating walking. The trail passes through small market towns and remote
Pennine villages, as well as beautiful valleys such as Swaledale and Wensleydale.
The highest point is Cross Fell at 893m/2,930ft. Approaching Scotland the Way
follows Hadrian's Wall.
Unless you are an experienced long-distance
walker you should not tackle the Pennine Way alone. Make sure you are fit by
walking as much as possible beforehand, and it is important that your boots are
broken in and you are used to a weighty rucksack. Be prepared for the rigours of
hillwalking: warm and wet-weather clothing is a necessity, as well as sufficient
food and drink, a first aid kit and so on. For more details, see the various
guidebooks and our practical advice section.
In areas where erosion has occurred, it is
particularly important that you follow the waymarked route, observing any
signposted diversions. Avoid making short cuts, since this can often cause
even more erosion, and keep off reseeded patches. For more on the issues
of footpath erosion, see our factsheet.
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and practical information
There are B&Bs and campsites along the route
and it is also particularly well-served by youth hostels, though you are
strongly advised to book in advance, especially in summer. You can search for
B&B accommodation in our database using the link below, or see the
accommodation and transport guide listed under Maps, guides and
Click here to find bed & breakfast
accommodation on this path.
Luggage Carrying and Accommodation Booking
Tourist Information Centres
- Alston and Appleby in Westmoreland: see
- Bellingham 01434 220616
- Edale 01433 670207
- Glossop 01457 855920
- Haltwhistle 01434 322002
- Hawes 01969 667450
- Haworth 01535 642329
- Hebden Bridge 01422 843831
- Hexham 01434 605225
- Holmfirth 01484 687603
- Horton in Ribblesdale 01729 860333
- Malham (seasonal) 01729 830363
- Settle 01729 825192
- Skipton 01756 792809
- Once Brewed 01434 344396
Holiday providers include Pack and Go, YHA Booking Bureau
- Edale: trains to Manchester or
Sheffield (change for London and other connections to major cities), buses
to Snake Inn, Glossop, Castleton, Sheffield.
- Hayfield: buses to Glossop, Stockport,
Marple, New Mills, Whaley Bridge, Buxton.
- Snake Inn: buses to Castleton, Edale, Glossop
- Crowden: buses to
Glossop, Liverpool, Sheffield
- Standedge Cutting: buses to
Oldham, Huddersfield, Marsden.
- Marsden: trains to Manchester,
Huddersfield and Leeds
- Windy Hill: buses to Oldham, Halifax
- White House Inn: buses to Rochdale,
- Hebden Bridge: frequent trains
connecting Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, buses to Todmorden, Burnley,
Rochdale, Halifax, Keighley, Haworth, Blackshaw Head
- Blackshaw Head Buses to Hebden Bridge
- Haworth is on the private Worth Valley
Railway to Keighley and Oxenhope: www.kwvr.co.uk;
also buses to Oxenhope, Bradford.
- Ponden: buses to Colne,
- Colne: trains to Preston
- Lothersdale: buses to Skipton
- Thornton: buses to Barnoldswick,
Burnley, Skipton, East Marton
- East Marton: buses to Skipton, Thornton
- Gargrave: trains to Leeds, Lancaster,
Carlisle; buses to Ingleton, Skipton, Preston, Malham, Leeds, Airton
- Airton: buses to Malham, Skipton,
- Malham: buses to Airton, Skipton,
- Horton in Ribblesdale is on the scenic
Settle and Carlisle line connecting Leeds and Carlisle; also buses to
Settle, Ingleton, Keighley, Hawes, Skipton, Richmond, Ribblehead, Keld.
- Ribblehead: Settle and Carlisle trains as
Horton; buses to Horton, Hawes, Keld
- Hawes: buses to Horton, Ribblehead,
Thwaite, Kendal, Garsdale, Sedbergh, Leybrun, Northallerton, Darlington,
Richmond, Reeth, Leeds, Leyburn, Grassington
- Thwaite: buses to Hawes,
- Keld: buses to Thwaite, Hawes,
Richmond, Leeds, Leyburn, Skipton, Ribblehead, Darlington
- God's Bridge: buses to Kirkby Stephen, Barnard Castle
- Bowes: as God's Bridge
- Middleton in Teesdale: buses to Barnard
Castle, Langdon Beck
- Langdon Beck: buses to Middleton
- Dufton: buses to Penrith, Appleby
- Alston: buses to Kirkhauge, Slaggyford, Penrith, Keswick,
Hexham, Newcastle, Nenthead, Fernhaugh, Bampton, Carlisle, Haltwhistle,
- Kirkhauge; buses to Alston, Slaggyford,
Nenthead, Carlisle, Haltwhistle
- Slaggyford: buses to Kirkhauge, Alston, Nenthead,
- Greenhead: buses to Haltwhistle, Once
Newcastle, Gilsland, Housesteads
- Once Brewed: Buses to Greenhead, Carlisle,
- Bellingham: Buses to Hexham, Otterburn
- Byrness: Buses to Otterburn, Newcastle,
- Kirk Yetholm: Buses to Kelso, from where a further bus can be caught to
Coldstream and Berwick, for trains to Edinburgh and London.
Some bus services can be infrequent. A more
detailed public transport guide is included in the accommodation guide listed
below. For more on finding out about public transport,
see Public Transport for Walkers.
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guides and contacts
The Way is shown on these maps.
Strip maps of whole route
- Pennine Way South Edale to Horton-in-Ribblesdale ISBN 1
85137 431 0.
Pennine Way Central Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Greenhead ISBN 1
85137 426 4.
Pennine Way North Greenhead to Kirk Yetholm ISBN 1 85137 421
Harvey £9.95 each.
Clear colour waterproof maps at around 1:40 000 with additional
practical information. Each covers roughly a week's walking and
starts and ends near public transport. 
- The Pennine Way Part one - Edale to Teesdale ISBN 1 871149 01 2.
The Pennine Way Part two - Teesdale to Kirk Yetholm ISBN 1 871149 02 9.
£3.50 each. Approx 1:63 360 scale with additional notes on features and
facilities along the route. Last updated 1988, based on old out-of-copyright
Ordnance Survey maps.
- Pennine Way strip map, Explorer digital map on CD-ROM.
- Pennine Way Profile and Geology Map. Useful leaflet
showing the profile of the route to help identify climbs and
descents, along with a map of the underlying geology. Free from
National Trail Office (below).
The Pennine Way from Edale to
Kirk Yetholm by Martin
Collins, ISBN 1 85284 386 1. Cicerone
- Pennine Way South Edale - Bowes by Tony Hopkins, ISBN 1 85410
851 4. Aurum Press £12.99 + p&p.
Official National Trail Guide with OS 1:25,000 map extracts.
- Pennine Way North Bowes - Kirk Yetholm by Tony Hopkins, ISBN 1
85410 962 6
Official National Trail Guide with OS 1:25,000 map extracts. Aurum Press
£12.99 + p&p. Order
Compact guide to whole route with OS 1:50 000 map extracts, route descriptions
and background information. Describes entire route in one volume.
Pennine Way Edale to Kirk Yetholm by Edward de la Billière and Keith
Carter, ISBN 1
873756 57 7. Trailblazer Publications
Detailed compact publication with route description, extensive background
notes, clear sketch maps, accommodation suggestions, public transport
information. Describes entire route in one volume. Outdoor Handbuch England: Pennine Way by Ueli Hintermeister, ISBN 3
89392 164 8. Conrad Stein EUR12.90.
German-language pocket guide to the Way with accommodation listings and simple
Other useful publications
- Pennine Way Accommodation and Public Transport Guide. Free booklet.
- The Pennine
Way by Tony Hopkins, ISBN 1 903506 13 1.
Not to be confused with Hopkins' official guide, this is a armchair book that
celebrates the Way in words, photos and drawings, a handsome hardback volume
published in the 40th anniversary year .
- Pennine Way Companion by A Wainwright, ISBN 0 7112 2235 5.
Frances Lincoln £11.99.
Classic description by the renowned hillwalking author, in familiar
hand-lettered style with hand-drawn maps and illustrations. First published in
1968, with the current edition a reprint of the last revision by Chris Jesty in
1994. Perfect for fans of Wainwright and the Pennine Way but does not include
changes of route to avoid erosion problems, and does include a number of
unofficial short cuts, not all of them strictly legal. Should only be used as a
practical guide in conjunction with the most recent OS maps or official guide
- Pennine Highlights, £1.95 from
Basic booklet covering a shorter, well-loved section of the Way, 122km over 5
days from Hawes to Alston, suitable for staying at youth hostels throughout.
Pennine Way Hidden Gems of the Dales: highlights and visitor attractions
on the Yorkshire Dales section. Free from National Trail Office (below).
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