Under Open Skies...

Coast to Coast Walk - Accommodation & Resources

Accommodation, Resources and other links are shown here for the area covered by the route. Inclusion is not a recommendation. The listing isn't exhaustive - if you want anything adding, please get in touch.

email: info (at) coastto (dot) co (dot) uk

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation will need to be booked well in advance, such is the popularity of the Coast to Coast Walk. There are two good online accommodation guides: The Sherpa Van Coast to Coast accommodation guide is very useful and includes walkers' feedback. The CoasttoCoastGuides accommodation guide, run by Richmond's Castle Hill Bookshop, uses the famous accommodation listing of Doreen Whitehead, the Queen of the Coast to Coast, which can also still be bought in book form. The Youth Hostel Association is also a useful site.

BAGGAGE CARRIERS & HOLIDAY SERVICES

A number of companies offer daily baggage carriage along the Coast to Coast route. Some also offer a minbus service for walkers. They all also offer a full self-guided holiday package, including accommodation booking etc.

The Coast to Coast Packhorse is a dedicated service for walkers and cyclists on the Coast to Coast, based in Kirkby Stephen.  The Sherpa Van Project is the largest operator, based in Richmond.  Brigantes is a family run service based in Kirkby Malham.

There are a lot of companies that offer a full self-guided Coast to Coast holiday package, including accommodation booking and baggage transfer. Many have their own specialities. They include:  Absolute Escapes AMS OutdoorsBrigantes Walking Holidays Contours Walking Holidays Discovery Travel Explore BritainHillwalk Tours; Macs Adventure Mickeldore Northwest Walks Sherpa Van ProjectThe Coast to Coast Packhorse UK Exploratory.

Companies that offer full guided and group holiday packages on the Coast to Coast include:  Footpath Holidays; HF HolidaysNorthern Guiding, Northwest Walks Sherpa Expeditions and the American based Distant Journeys.

ALFRED WAINWRIGHT

The Wainwright Society is dedicated to "keeping alive the fellwalking traditions promoted by AW". A brief biography can be found at Wikipedia.

Articles: Former Dalesman editor Bill Mitchell recalls his interviews with AW - "Memories of the quiet doyen of hill-walkers" (Craven Herald, 21 Sept 2013);  Biographer Hunter Davies on Wainwright - "The man who hated celebrity: Alfred Wainwright teaches us about the quiet modesty of true talent" (Daily Mail, 31 Mar 2009); 

Trouble brews as Michael Joseph take over publishing Wainwright's guidebooks - "Hard on Wainwright's heels: The famous guides are causing a ruckus as landowners and conservationists plead with the publishers to divert the trampling hoards, or pay for the damage, says Peter Dunn" (Independent, 17 Oct 1992);  Francis Lincoln take over - "Wainwright guides saved" (BBC, 14 Feb 2003);  Chris Jesty revises Wainwrights guidebooks - "With help from satellite technology and 1m squares of graph paper, famed fells guides join the 21st century" (Guardian, 13 Jun 2005).

WEATHER

See the current BBC weather forecasts for St. Bees, Frizington (Ennerdale Bridge), Rosthwaite, Patterdale, Shap, Kirkby Stephen, Keld, Reeth, Richmond, Danby Wiske, Swainby (Ingleby Cross), Great Broughton (Clay Bank Top), Grosmont, Whitby (Robin Hood's Bay).

See the latest met office mountain weather forecasts for the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The start at St. Bees can be reached by train from either Carlisle or Barrow-in-Furness. The nearest bus or coach stop is at Whitehaven.

Train connections to the finish at Robin Hood's Bay must be made either from Whitby, or more easily from Scarborough, both of which can be reached from Robin Hood's Bay by bus.

Another popular starting point is Kirkby Stephen, which lies on the famous Settle-Carlisle line. From here walkers can make use of the Packhorse Service to get to the start, and use this or the Sherpa Van service for daily connections along the route (west to east).

OTHER GUIDEBOOKS & INFORMATION

Wainwright's original guidebooks were most recently published by Francis Lincoln (recently aquired by QuartoKnows). Paul Hannon's Coast to Coast Walk (Hillside) was the first of the guidebooks produced by other authors. Terry Marsh followed soon after with A Northern Coast-to-Coast Walk (Cicerone). Henry Stedman's Coast to Coast Path (Trailblazer) is a popular and comprehensive guide, updated regularly. Other's include Martin Wainwright's The Coast to Coast Walk (Aurum Press - recently aquired by QuartoKnows) and Sandra Bardwell's Coast to Coast - the Wainwright route (Rucksack Readers), which includes a Footprint stripmap at 1:50,000. Harvey Maps produce a stripmap guide at 1:40,000, and AZ Adventure now publish a very useful set of OS Explorer strip maps at 1:25,000.

A useful website is walkingplaces.co.uk which has plenty of information and a walkers forum. Other online forums include WalkingForum.co.uk.

The Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) lists over 700 long-distance trails, including Wainwrights Coast to Coast Walk.

SECTIONS

Wainwright split his walk into 12 sections, as follows:-

Section 1: St. Bees Head to Ennerdale Bridge

The walk starts in St. Bees on the western coast of Cumbria, and follows the coastal path along St Bees Head, passing through Cleator and Moor Row, making use of the old railway track, now a cycleway.  It crosses Dent Hill and enters the Lake District National Park. The first section finishes at Ennerdale Bridge.

Section 2: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite

From Ennerdale Bridge the route follows beside Ennerdale Water and into Ennerdale Forest, currently managed under a scheme called Wild Ennerdale. Climbing out of Ennerdale the route drops to Honister Slate Mine with its welcome visitor centre, before descending to Seatoller and Rosthwaite in Borrowdale.

Section 3: Rosthwaite to Patterdale

Leaving Rosthwaite the path climbs up to Greenup Edge and crosses into Far Easdale where a fine ridge walk leads to Helm Crag before the descent into the popular tourist village of Grasmere. Most Coast to Coast walkers break this section here. The route continues up to the head of Grisedale, between Helvellyn and St Sunday Crag, both of which offer more challenging and exciting descents for the adventurous. The section finishes in Patterdale, where many Coast to Coast walkers meet up at the village store.

Section 4: Patterdale to Shap

The route climbs steeply from Patterdale, past Angle Tarn, on to the High Street and finally to Kidsty Pike, the highest point on the main Coast to Coast path. The way now drops steeply to follow a track alongside Haweswater. This reservoir was once a smaller, natural lake, with it's own village of Mardale Green, now submerged. The former dam builders' village at Burnbanks survives. The path now continues on to Shap Abbey and then to finish at Shap village.

Section 5: Shap to Kirkby Stephen

From Shap the way heads east, crossing into the newly extended Yorkshire Dales National Park and on to the tiny hamlet of Oddendale with its nearby stone circle. Turning south for Crosby Ravensworth Fell, the way passes close by the Black Dubb Monument and Robin Hood's Grave. The original route crossed Great Asby Scar, a national nature reserve, but the modern route passes close to the charming Werstmorland village of Orton. The route continues east to pass Sunbiggin Tarn and cross Ravenstonedale Moor, close to the villages of Newbiggin-on-Lune and Ravenstonedale. Passing Smardale Gill and the former Stainmore Railway line to cross Smardale Fell, the section ends at Wainwright's favourite Pennine town - Kirkby Stephen.

Section 6: Kirkby Stephen to Keld

This section sees you re-enter the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Leave Kirkby Stephen alongside the Cloisters for Frank's Bridge, passing through Hartley. The path climbs Hartley Fell for Nine Standards Rigg, taking one of three seasonal routes to cross the Pennine watershed for Whitsundale and Ravenseat. Finally, the half way point of the walk is reached at the village of Keld.

Section 7: Keld to Reeth

The route now follows Swaledale to Richmond and beyond. The area is rich in archaeology, particularly relating to the lead mining. The route passes the mines and smelt mills at Swinnergill, Gunnerside Gill, the Old Gang lead mines, and Surrender Bridge, before finishing at Reeth, which hosts the Swaledale Museum. An alternative riverside route passes close to Muker, and on through Gunnerside.

Section 8: Reeth to Richmond

This is a relatively short section, which leads past nearby Grinton to Marrick Priory, then on through Marske and Applegarth. The way passes Whitcliffe Scar, site of Willance's Leap, and on to Richmond. There's plenty to see and do in and around Richmond, including visits to Richmond Castle, The Station, Richmondshire Museum, the Green Howards Museum and Easby Abbey.

Section 9: Richmond to Ingleby Cross

This is the longest section, crossing the flat arable farmlands of the Vale of Mowbray. The route initially continues along the  banks of the Swale, crossing the A1 at Catterick Bridge, through Bolton-on-Swale and passing Kiplin Hall to the village of Danby Wiske, where many walkers break this section. The route continues east, passing close to the site of the Battle of the Standard, before crossing the A19 for Ingleby Arncliffe.

Section 10: Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top

At Ingleby Cross you enter the North York Moors National Park, in which you will remain for the rest of the walk. The route takes you up through Arncliffe Wood to join the Cleveland Way and the Lyke Wake Walk. Easy route finding now as you head east through Scugdale and onto the North York Moors, crossing Live Moor and Carlton Moor before dropping to pass the recently re-oponed Lord Stones cafe and country park, with its campsite. Next comes Cringle Moor and Cold Moor before the famous Wainstones are reached. Finally a fine crossing of Hasty Bank brings you to Clay Bank Top.

Section 11: Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale

The path continues to climb along the Cleveland escarpment, up to Urra Moor and the highest point of the Cleveland Hills at Round Hill. From here the walking levels out - it's easy going from here on. Just before Bloworth Crossing you join the old trackbed of the Rosedale Ironstone Railway. This leads above Farndale and on to the Lion Inn at Blakey Howe. Suitably refreshed, your way continues around the head of Rosedale and High Danby Moor to Glaisdale.

Section 12: Glaisdale to Robin Hood's Bay

Glaisdale sits on the Esk Valley Railway, which links Middlesborough and Whitby and passes through Egton Bridge and Grosmont along the route. Grosmont village is also the northern point on the North York Moors Railway, which runs daily steam trains down to Pickering. The path climbs over Sleights Moor and down to Littlebeck, where it enters Little Beck Woods Nature Reserve and continues by Falling Foss and the nearby tea gardens. The walk now heads over the last of the moorland at Graystone Hills for High Hawsker. All that is left is to join the clifftop coastal path round to the finish of the Coast to Coast walk at Robin Hood's Bay, dip your boots in the North Sea and enjoy a pint in the Bay Hotel.