Mid Pennine Way - 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.
PENNINE WAY OVERVIEW
The best starting point for information about the Mid Pennine Way is the Pennine Way section of the National Trails website. Another still useful starting point is the (now disbanded) Pennine Way Association.
Accommodation may need to be booked in advance at some points along the way. The Pennine Way National Trails site has an interactive accommodation guide. Sherpa Van has a very useful accommodation guide. The Youth Hostel Association lists both it's own hostels and associated hostels which still cover much of the Mid Pennine Way.
BAGGAGE CARRIERS & HOLIDAY SERVICES
A number of companies offer both full and part self-guided Pennine Way holiday packages, including accommodation booking, baggage carriage etc. They include Brigantes Walking Holidays, Contours Walking Holidays, Discovery Travel, Macs Adventure, UK Exploratory and Sherpa Van.
Footpath Holidays offer guided and group holiday packages on the Pennine Way.
TOM STEPHENSON & THE PENNINE WAY
The Pennine Way was formally opened on April 24th 1965 at Malham Moor. 2015 sees the 50th anniversary of the Pennine Way, with a number of articles and events, including Paul Rose walking the route for BBC TV; Mark Radcliffe and the Folk of the Pennine Way on Radio 4; and the launch of the Hebden Bridge Loop.
OTHER GUIDEBOOKS & INFORMATION
Apart from Heart of the Pennine Way, the most popular Pennine Way guidebooks currently in print include the Trailblazer guide - Pennine Way (Edward De La Billiere et al); the official National Trail guide - Pennine Way by Damian Hall (Aurum Press - now part of Quarto Knows); and Pennine Way - A Walker's Guide by Chris Sainty (DB Publishing).
Still very popular is Wainwright's revised Pennine Way Companion (Francis Lincoln) and The Pennine Way by Paddy Dillon is published by Cicerone. The Pennine Way Association list over 50 books published about the Pennine Way, including personal accounts such as Simon Armitage's Walking Home (Faber & Faber). The funniest account, if you can find a second hand copy, is Barry Pilton's One Man and his Bog (Corgi 1986), and the latest is Andrew McCloy's fascinating and informative account The Pennine Way - the Path, the People, the Journey (Cicerone).
Online forums include WalkingForum.co.uk. Other useful Pennine Way blog sites include Rambling Man, Rucksack Rose, End-to-End - the Pennine Way, and Bod's Pennine Way - the whole thing ; though please check details as they may not all be up-to-date.
See the latest met office mountain weather forecasts for the Yorkshire Dales.
The Settle-Carlisle train connects Leeds to Carlisle and is very useful for accessing the Mid Pennine Way at key stages: in particular Gargrave; Horton-in-Ribblesdale; Hawes (via local Little White Bus connection to Garsdale station); and Dufton (via nearby Appleby station, walking or catching an infrequent bus or a taxi to Dufton). Timetables can be downloaded for both Settle-Carlisle trains and Morecambe trains (useful from Leeds as far as Gargrave).
Both Settle-Carlisle trains and regular local Airedale trains from Leeds and Bradford on this line also call at useful stations such as Skipton and Keighley, with good bus links to Haworth, Stanbury, Ickornshaw & Cowling, Earby, Thornton-in-Craven, Gargrave and Malham (details in Sections below).
Dalesbus services are useful throughout the Yorkshire Dales, and include services such as the Little White Bus (Garsdale to Hardraw and Hawes) and Malham bus.
The Mid Pennine Way is divided into 10 sections, as follows:-
Section 1: Hebden Bridge to Ickornshaw
16.8 miles (27.1 km)
The Mid Pennine Way starts in the lively Yorkshire mill town of Hebden Bridge - the first Walkers Are Welcome town which lies on the mainline railway linking Leeds and Manchester. There's a wide range of accommodation, including a popular independent Hostel, and plenty to see and do.
The Mid Pennine Way makes use of the new Hebden Bridge Loop, launched on April 25th 2015 by the Hebden Bridge Walkers' Action group, to get underway. A steep climb leads through the pretty village of Heptonstall before the northern rim of Colden Clough leads to Hebble Hole where the Pennine Way proper is joined. The popular New Delight Inn with adjoining campsite is located at Jack's Bridge nearby.
As the Pennine Way climbs north, there's one last chance to stock up on any missing gear, or just enjoy a nice pie at May's Aladdin's Cave. The route now leads across Heptonstall Moor and past Gorple Reservoir, where the nearby Pack Horse Inn offers refreshment. More reservoirs are passed at Walshaw Dean before another moorland climb leads to Withins Height and the ruins of Top Withens - apparently the inspiration for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Clare Balding almost walked part of this section, and managed to get lost, for her Radio Ramblings programme in 2008.
There are options to break this section here: either at Ponden itself (Ponden House or Ponden Hall); nearby Stanbury, 3/4 of a mile offroute, where there's the Old Silent Inn and The Wuthering Heights for refreshments and camping; or catch a bus here or walk the 2 further miles to Haworth - the centre of Bronte Country. There's plenty of accommodation and facilities here, including a Youth Hostel, and lots to see and do, including visiting the Bronte Parsonage Museum and the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
The Pennine Way continues northwards to cross Ickornshaw Moor and down to Ickornshaw and nearby Cowling, where there is the Bay Horse pub (Squirrel Wood Campsite bunk house, shepherds hut and camping nearby). Buses can be caught for Keighley.
Section 2: Ickornshaw to Malham
17.5 miles (28.1 km)
Lothersdale is the last of the South Pennine mill towns on the route, which hosts the Hare and Hounds pub. After a brief moorland crossing at Pinhaw Beacon, there's the option to head for Earby, which is well equipped with pubs, shops and cafes, a B&B and a famous little Youth Hostel. Regular buses run to Skipton. Otherwise it's on through the small village of Thornton-in-Craven with a B&B close by (buses to Skipton). A lovely canalside walk leads past East Marton, with nearby B&B and campsite, the Cross Keys pub and the popular Abbots Harbour cafe.
Gargrave has everything a walker needs, including pubs (Masons Arms and Old Swan Inn, and Anchor Inn closeby), shops and supermarket, and accommodation, (B&Bs and camping). It has it's own station on the Settle-Carlisle line to Leeds, though most stopping trains will be found on the Morecambe line timetable. There are also regular buses to Skipton, Settle and Malham.
Beyond Gargrave the route crosses the green pastures of Eshton Moor before joining the River Aire near Airton (cross the river for teashop, camping barn). Further on, at Hanlith, you can cross the river for the Victoria Inn at Kirkby Malham, otherwise its now only a brief high-level stroll into Malham itself.
Malham is real Dales gem and a very popular tourist spot, so can get very busy. There's plenty of good accommodation, including the Youth Hostel and several campsites. The village is served by 2 pubs, The Lister Arms and The Buck Inn. There are some buses to Gargrave and Skipton and occasional summer bus to Malham Tarn and Settle.
Section 3: Malham to Horton-in-Ribblesdale
14.8 miles (23.8 km)
A tough but thrilling day ahead, including two peaks, and starting with a climb to the spectacular limestone pavement above Malham Cove. There's nothing in the way of facilities along the way, so take everything you need.
The route passes the Field Studies Centre at Malham Tarn House, part of the Malham Tarn Estate. Then begins the long climb over Fountains Fell, the site of much 19th century coal mining, before the route drops for Dale Head, and the ascent of Pen-y-ghent.
Horton-in-Ribblesdale is a tiny quarrying village, best known as the traditional staring point for the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, so expect it to be heaving in summer weekends. There are two pubs - The Crown Hotel and the Golden Lion Hotel (which also has bunkroom accommodation), as well as the famous Penyghent Cafe (also the tourist info centre) and Blindbeck Tearoom. There's also a campsite and other B&B accommodation. Horton-in-Ribblesdale also has a train station on the Settle-Carlisle line and there is a regular bus connection to Settle.
Section 4: Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Hawes
13.6 miles (21.9 km)
A relatively easy walk following packhorse trails and one big climb to Cam Fell. Again, no facilities along the way. The way follows high along the eastern bank of Ribblesdale, before crossing Ling Gill Beck and joining the old Roman road - Cam High Road. The path skirts Dodd Fell following the West Cam Road before cutting off at Ten End for Gayle and on into Hawes - the capital of Upper Wensleydale.
Hawes is a lively market town at the head of Wensleydale, with plenty of accommodation - including the Youth Hostel, good restaurants, cafes and lots of pubs, including The Bulls Head Hotel, The Board Inn, The Crown, The Fountain and The White Hart Inn. There's plenty to see and do, including the famous cheese makers, a ropemakers, the Dales Countryside Museum which houses the National Park Centre. The Little White Bus links to Garsdale station on the Settle-Carlisle line via Hardraw, and can be booked in advance to link to Thwaite and Keld.
You can also extend this section by staying at Hardraw (see below).
Section 5: Hawes to Tan Hill
16.3 miles (26.2 km)
Today sees the major crossing from Wensleydale into Swaledale over Great Shunner Fell. There are options to break this section at Thwaite, Keld or Muker (especially if using the Bowes Loop in the next section).
After crossing the River Ure the path leads to Hardraw, home to England's highest single-drop waterfall. There's plenty of accommodation here for all tastes, including camping, centred on the Green Dragon Inn. The Cart House Tea Room also has camping, and there's additional accommodation at the Old School Bunkhouse. More upmarket accommodation is available closeby at Simonstone Hall.
The crossing of Great Shunner Fell is long but straight forward, finishing at the tiny village of Thwaite and the Kearton Country Hotel. Nearby Muker offers more options for accommodation and refreshments, at the Village Teashop and stores, the Farmers Arms, and plenty of local camping. There is also an alternative riverside route to Keld, though the main route climbs high over Kidston Hill. There's a fairly regular bus link between Keld, Thwaite, Muker and Reeth.
Keld also lies on the route of Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk, so is popular with walkers. Keld Lodge - the former Youth Hostel - is busy, but there's other B&B accommodation at Butt House, Frith Lodge, Pry House Farm and Greenlands, and camping at Park House Lodge. There's also a small cafe.
Finally there's a climb up Stonesdale Moor to the highest pub in England - a Pennine Way institution - the Tan Hill Inn, with accommodation for all tastes.
Section 6: Tan Hill to Middleton-in-Teesdale
16.6 miles (26.7 km)
BOWES LOOP: Tan Hill to Bowes - 8.4 miles (13.5 km) ; Bowes to Middleton-in-Teesdale - 11.8 miles (19.0 km)
The section from Tan Hill passes out of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and into the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Expect a few boggy stretches along the way - they don't build all those reservoirs hereabouts for nothing.
Bowes offers the option of breaking the next section, and we're pleased to see that The Ancient Unicorn has recently reopened, making this again a viable alternative. Otherwise, there are few other options to break this section before Middleton-in-Teesdale.
Middleton-in-Teesdale has most everything you will need, including good shops, bank, supermarket, cafes, chipshop, bookshop and a Tourist Information Centre. The Teesdale Hotel and Forresters Hotel offer accommodation. B&B's include Brunswick House, The Old Barn and Grove Lodge. There's camping at Leekworth Park nearby.
Section 7: Middleton-in-Teesdale to Dufton
20.2 miles (32.5 km)
This next section is definately one of the highlights of the whole walk, following the Tees at its very best before heading across wild open moorland to High Cup Nick. But it is long and tough going, so consider breaking it at or around Langdon Beck.
The route follows the Tees westwards. The Strathmore Arms at Holwick nearby offers refreshment and accommodation, before you enter the Moor House - Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve and the first of the waterfalls at Low Force is reached. Further on you pass the most spectacular waterfall in England at High Force (visitors by car have to pay on the other side of the river - free on this side for Pennine Way walkers). The High Force Hotel is across the river. Clare Balding walked part of this section in 2007 for her Radio Ramblings programme.
There's a couple of farmhouse B&B's at Forest-in-Teesdale, and at the second river crossing over Saur Hill Bridge there's the option to break off for Langdon Beck Youth Hostel or the Langdon Beck Hotel. The path rejoins the Tees to Cauldron Snout - a spectacular surge of water cascading from the reservoir above. The path goes on to pass the highest occupied farm in England at Birkdale.
Then it's a long, lonely trek to the awesome chasm of High Cup Nick and on down to lovely little Dufton. Centred on the village green is the Stag Inn, opposite the Youth Hostel and the Post Box Pantry. There's also a couple of B&Bs and camping locally.
Section 8: Dufton to Alston
19.3 miles (31.1 km)
Another tough day ahead, climbing the highest peak along the whole path at Cross Fell. There are no facilities for the next 16 miles, before Garrigill. Care must be taken with navigation if there's mist on the fell tops (not unusual here) and it could be hard work if you're heading into a Helm Wind. Once you're past the summit and down onto the Corpse Road (track) route finding is easy. The first opportunity of respite from bad weather is found at bothy called Greg's Hut. It's a long long walk down to the tiny village of Garrigill, where thankfully the refurbished George & Dragon has recently reopened. There's B&B accommodation at Eastview and the Post Office Guest House, and also some holiday cottages..
It's another 4 miles along the riverside to Alston - the highest town in England, and the last chance to stock up on the route of the Mid Pennine Way. Alston is a Walkers Are Welcome Town, so it looks after it's Pennine Wayfarers. There are shops, cafes, takeaways and pubs. There's a bank, post office and supermarket, and Tourist Information can be found at the Town Hall. There's plenty of accommodation too, including the Youth Hostel, The Cumberland Inn, Lowbyer Manor and the Alston House Hotel. There's camping at Tyne Willows Park. The South Tynedale Railway runs regular tourist trains on the narrow gauge railway north, with plans to reach Slaggyford by 2017 and Haltwhistle by 2022. There is an occasional bus service to Carlisle, passing through Slaggyford and Lambley.
Section 9: Alston to Greenhead
16.6 miles (26.7 km)
The path continues north, following the South Tynedale valley to Hadrian's Wall. Expect one or two boggy stretches along the way. There's also an easy alternative - following the railway track is the South Tyne Trail which leads all the way to Lambley and on to Haltwhistle.
The main route cuts across Gilderdale for the Roman fort of Epiacum (Whitley Castle) before returning to the river for Slaggyford, where B&B accommodation may be available. Further north near Burnstones and Knarsdale is the popular Kirkstyle Inn, with possible accommodation closeby. The way continues north to pass Lambley, with its magnificent viaduct, and on to cross Hartleyburn and Blenkinsopp Commons, with the option of Kellah Farm B&B nearby.
At last Hadrian's Wall is reached, and a short diversion into Greenhead gives plenty of accommodation options: The Greenhead Hotel and Hostel opposite service Pennine Way and Hadrian's Wall walkers. There are B&Bs at Bush Nook, Holmhead (which also offers bunkbarn and camping) and the Four Wynds. There's refreshments at the Greenhead Tea Rooms. Greenhead is served in the summer by the very useful Hadrian's Wall bus, and a regular bus service from Carlisle, both of which also call at Haltwhistle where there is a main line railway station.
Section 10: Greenhead to Housesteads & Bardon Mill
12.9 miles (20.8 km) to Bardon Mill
The grand finale along the very best preserved and restored section of Hadrian's Wall lies ahead. The Hadrian's Wall bus calls at several spots along the way, including Walltown, the Milecastle Inn, Once Brewed, Vindolanda and Housesteads.
From Greenhead the path soon crosses into the Northumberland National Park, as it leads to Walltown Quarry, with the nearby museum. There follows a superb section of the wall above Walltown Crags. Beyond the remains of the Infantry fort at Great Chesters the path reaches the Cawfields Quarry park site, with the Milecastle Inn and the Hadrian's Wall Campsite and Bunkhouse nearby. After crossing the high point at Winshield Crags, the road can be followed a short way down to Once Brewed, where The Sill - Landscape Discovery Centre and Youth Hostel - is situated, with the popular Twice Brewed Inn nearby. There's B&B accommodation at Vallum Lodge and there are also B&B options north of the wall at Saughy Rigg Farm and Gibbs Hill Farm.
Finally there's the best preserved Roman Fort in England at Housesteads, with a small museum and gift shop. The Mid Pennine Way ends here, where you might catch the Hadrian's Wall bus, otherwise there's a further 3 mile walk to Bardon Mill. This small Northumberland village has a mainline railway station connecting to Carlisle or Newcastle. There are also plenty of buses. The Pottery and the Village Store & Tearoom are popular village centre spots. The Bowes Hotel offers food and accommodation, and there's some good B&B accommodation too.
Edale to Calder Valley
42.5 miles (68.4 km)
The Pennine Way starts at Edale, which can be reached by rail from Sheffield or Manchester. Theres B&B accommodation, camping, and a nearby Youth Hostel. Accommodation is also available at The Rambler Inn, and food at The Old Nags Head, where the walk starts.
The walk begins by climbing Kinder Scout, which Clare Balding walked for Radio Ramblings in 2012 to celebrate the mass trespass of 1932. Beyond Snake Pass the path crosses Bleaklow before dropping to Torside, where most people end their first day. The nearest B&B accommodation is 500 m. offroute at The Old House, with more accommodation available a couple of miles away at Hadfield and Glossop. There's camping at Crowden, but alas the hostel there only accepts group bookings.
The path now climbs above Crowden Great Brook and across Black Hill, before passing reservoirs at Wessenden, where there is the option of heading into Marsden (accommodation at the New Inn). Otherwise, the path leads up to Standedge, where the A62 crosses (regular buses towards Huddersfield or Manchester). Accommodation is available offroute: right for the Carriage House Inn (B&B & camping); left for Wellcroft House B&B, and the Diggle Hotel at Diggle.
The path now crosses the A640, White Hill and the A672 before crossing the M62. There's a nice walk up to Blackstone Edge and the across the A58 by the White House Pub. More reservoirs are joined, before the distinctive monument of Stoodley Pike leads into the Calder Valley. Accommodation is available at Mankinholes (Youth Hostel and Cross Farm), or the new Hebden Bridge Loop can be followed into the town.
Hadrian's Wall to Kirk Yetholm
53.1 miles (85.4 km)
There are no facilities between Bellingham and Byrness, the last stop along the way before the Cheviots. The Forest View Walkers Inn is a Pennine Way institution and provides plenty of good accommodation. There's also possible accommodation at The Byrness. You may be able to arrange a pick-up service half way along the Cheviot ridge from Windy Gyle. There's camping nearby at the Border Forest Holiday Park.
The final 27-mile crossing of the Cheviot can be broken by dropping from the ridge eastwards at Windy Gyle, either for a pre-arranged pick-up or to Barrowburn Farm bunkhouse, or westwards at Clannel St, for Cocklawfoot Farm. Otherwise its on to Kirk Yetholm and the finish at the Border Hotel. There's also other accommodation available at the Friends of Nature hostel, Blunty's Mill and The Farmhouse.
Kirk Yetholm is the starting point for the new 470-miles Scottish National Trail, which finishes at Cape Wrath on the northern coast.