Walking in the Yorkshire Dales

Walk 1:
Ingleborough and Penyghent

Route overview:

  • Eurospeleo (140m)
  • Austwick
  • Gaping Gill
  • Ingleborough summit (724m)
  • Sulber Nick
  • Horton-in-Ribblesdale
  • Hull Pot (optional)
  • Penyghent summit (optional) (694m)
  • Helwith Bridge
  • Feizor
  • Austwick
  • Eurospeleo

This is an excellent, walk which passes plenty of caves (including the winch at Gaping Gill) and which shows some of the finest landscapes the United Kingdom has to offer. The route starts with the first major peak of Ingleborough before taking a gentle descent to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where a beer or cup of tea/coffee and some food can be enjoyed. For those with sufficient energy, the second peak, Penyghent can then be ascended. However, for those wishing a shorter and easier walk, a flat walk down the Ribble valley to Helwith Bridge provides a gentler route back.

Approximate time:
With Penyghent: 9 hrs
Without Penyghent: 7 hrs

Approximate distances:
With Penyghent: 35 km
Without Penyghent: 28 km

With Penyghent: 4 / 5
Without Penyghent: 3 / 5

Navigation overview:
From Eurospeleo, cross the main road and walk into Austwick. About 250m after the pub (The Game Cock) turn left onto Townhead Lane and follow this out of the village for about 300m. A cross roads is then met with a track on the right and left. Go left towards Clapham (Thwaite Lane).

After about one mile turn right and follow the track (Long Lane) until near to Trow Gill.

Near Trow Gill, a small path cuts down the hill on the left to join the lower footpath. Follow this lower path up Trow Gill itself (a steep limestone gorge) and for a further several minutes. The path goes over a double stile/gate on the left and then towards Gaping Gill, where an encampment of cavers will be found operating the famous Gaping Gill winch.

The footpath up Ingleborough commences beyond Gaping Gill. The first steep ascent is Little Ingleborough, followed by a second ascent to the top of Ingleborough itself. At the top, as soon as the flat plateau is reached, turn right and follow the Dales High Way path downhill, which is signed towards Sulber Nick and Horton-in-Ribblesdale (you may wish to take a walk around the summit before heading down). Be careful not to take the route towards Chapel-le-Dale by mistake as this would take you in the wrong direction!

Follow the path all the way down via Sulber Nick to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. This path crosses The Allotment where several of the Eurospeleo caves (Juniper Gulf, Rift Pot and Long Kin East) are found.

Food/drink is available at cafes and pubs in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

The following second section of this walk (Penyghent, involving a second significant ascent) can be bypassed by following the Ribble Way walk from Horton-in-Ribblesdale south along the river all the way to Helwith Bridge (where there is another pub).

For the route to Penyghent, follow the road in Horton-in-Ribblesdale past the New Inn and then south past the Penyghent Café. About 100m after the café, take the Pennine Way footpath on the left to Penyghent. Follow this path for about 2.5km until a gate with a junction. Little Hull Pot is found only a few hundred metres from here, and 300m straight ahead is a huge depression called Hull Pot which is worth looking at while passing.

The way on is the Pennine Way path on the right towards Penyghent. This passes Hunt Pot on the right after a few hundred metres (which is worth seeing), and then commences the steep ascent up Penyghent. From the summit of Penyghent, take the southern path downhill. The first section of the descent off Penyghent via this route is steep and involves a small amount of scrambling.

Ignore the footpath on the right towards Brackenbottom, and then on the left towards Dale Head, and continue south down Long Lane to Helwith Bridge where there is a pub.

From the pub in Helwith Bridge, follow the road west (right, if turning out of the pub car park) for about 1km and then turn left onto the Pennine Bridleway footpath towards Feizor. At Feizor, the Pennine Bridleway continues to Austwick, to complete the circular walk.