I have lived in Scotland for a few years now, but I have never had the chance to explore the English countryside until now. With a fresh pair of eyes (and legs?), this 80-mile-long walk was a great challenge for me who have never been on a walking trip before!
The Dales Way is easy to moderate, not strenuous and doesn’t require to be a great navigator. Macs App comes very handy and is amazing support during the entire trip.
Although some distances are quite challenging, you will be rewarded each day by spending the night in wonderful accommodations (with super comfy beds)! You could also tailor-made your trip with one of our UK specialists if you rather like walking shorter distances.
Enjoy the bucolic landscapes and the historical sites
I really enjoyed the historical aspect of the walk especially coming across Bolton Abbey (day 1), Linton church (Day 2) and walking near some wonderful industrial bridges and Victorian viaducts (Day 5 and 7).
Bolton Abbey was one of the highlights of day 1. It is worth spending time exploring the ruins and getting lunch in one of the tea rooms mentioned in the Trailblazer guidebook (you will get a copy in your information pack). The Tea cottage provides a range of sandwiches and their outside sitting area offers a lovely view of the abbey. After the priory, the forest path became a playground for families. From May to November, the forest is used as an adventure trail for children called ‘Welly Walks’. It is probably the last crowd you will see before leaving the civilisation and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Dales Way!
One of my favourite part of the walk was the path between Burnsall to Grassington at the start of Day 2. It was idyllic and ideal for a sunny morning walk. The landscape looked like a Romantic English painting: a path along the river, some fishermen, a few bridges and some old ruins. After Hebden and right before Grassington, I left the Dales Way for 15 minutes to appreciate Linton church and the stepping stones not far from it.
Back on the Dales and further along, there was another point of interest: the Linton falls. Make sure you don’t miss out those points of interest!
Another point of interest caught my attention while walking the Dales Way: the bridges and viaducts. I came across a few during your adventure. It is always inspiring and impressive to come across majestic viaducts out of nowhere!
The Yorkshire gastronomy
To be honest with you, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Northern England isn’t the gastronomy. Well, I have been happily surprised during this trip and believe me, I am French (is that a good reason?)
You get it, I love food. What isn’t to like in Yorkshire? Obviously, you will be able to taste the famous Yorkshire pudding and some local ales but there is more to it. Indeed, most inns or pubs work exclusively with local farms and products and will proudly serve you a homemade dish.
I came across some incredible cuisine in small villages. The most incredible one was in Cray at the White Lion where they served this incredible ‘Lemon and tarragon scented Chicken supreme served with pommes anna potatoes, roasted baby vegetables and a wild mushroom sauce’. It sounds simple, right? Well, this one was served with wild flowers and was delightful!
If you are a tea drinker, this trip is also for you! There are many tea shops along the road where you can grab a cup of Yorkshire tea and a scone or simply enjoy a local ginger beer.
And if you walk the Dales during the Summer, you should also be able to spot the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream vans (or were they following us?) and get your sugar fix 🙂
Wildlife and English countryside
The Dales Way is a peaceful walk which has a lot to offer. You will alternate forest path, meadow land and field. You will also without a doubt meet the local sheep (and lambs over the Easter period!) as well as cows.
If you are a bird lover, you would be pleased as most of the path follows the course of the river. I have been able to spot a few herons, some birds of prey and if you are lucky, you can come across some kingfishers as well! I have also had the chance to stop some owls right before sunset thanks to one of our lovely host in Hubberholme.
Take your time between Cowgill and Dent – I really loved this section maybe because the rosebay willow herbs were out and turned the landscape into a colourful picture.
Meeting lovely people
Finally, I fell in love with the folks in the Yorkshire Dales. I thought that it was easy to meet the locals and exchange about the Dales Way. The first person we talked to during the walk was a dog walker who wanted to give us some tips about the walk and wish us good luck!
I have also felt spoilt by all the accommodations we stayed in. The standard was high, and the hosts were all lovely and resourceful. Some of them were great adventurers themselves as well and loved spending time sharing about their own experience or giving away some insight’s tips about the Dales Way!