The Pennine Way, which follows the backbone of England from the Derbyshire Peak District to the Scottish border is one of Britain's most challenging National Trails. The 268 mile route, which passes through three National Parks, a European Geo-park, and a World Heritage Site, provides upland walking of the highest order.
Footpath Holidays offers the Pennine Way as three separate tours, which allow guests the choice of completing the route over several years in manageable one week stages, or stringing all three together into an epic journey.
Even if you have no wish to complete the whole route any one of the three sections is a great walk in its own right.
Pennine Way, South (Edale to Malham)
Total distance covered; 74 miles (119kms)
6 days walking, based at Hebden Bridge
This 74 mile (119km) southern section of the Pennine Way starts in the Peak National Park and works its way north from the Nag’s Head Inn in Edale, over dark peat moorlands and past gritstone outcrops, along packhorse and drovers’ routes established over hundreds of years.
The landscape is wild and possesses an atmosphere unique to the Pennines. The Pennine Way climbs to Stoodley Pike, one of the highpoints of the walk, for views across the Calder Valley - a cradle of the industrial Revolution - and then, beyond Hebden Bridge and Haworth, it enters a gentler landscape on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
This first section of the Pennine Way ends in Malham, amongst the spectacular limestone scenery of the Karst Country.
Improvements to the path surface over recent years, and some re-routing, mean that tales of misery on Kinder Scout, Featherbed Moss and Black Hill are, thankfully, things of the past.
Pennine Way, Central (Malham to Dufton)
Total distance covered; 84 miles (136kms)
6 days walking, based at Hawes
Our 84 mile (136km) central section of the Pennine Way starts at Malham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and finishes in the picturesque village of Dufton in the North Pennines. Between these two points the Pennine Way traverses some wonderful and varied countryside with never a dull moment, however, the highlights of the week must be the limestone architecture of Malham Cove, the shapely outline of Pen-y-Ghent, a pint mug of tea at the welcoming Pen-y-Ghent Café in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the panoramic view from the summit of Great Shunner Fell, the wild approach to the Tan Hill Pub, High Force and the picturesque walk along the River Tees, the unique tundra-like habitat and flora of Upper Teesdale, Caldron Snout waterfall, and the dramatic view which unfolds as you arrive at the head of High Cup Nick.
Pennine Way, North (Dufton to Kirk Yetholm)
Total distance covered; 98 miles (157kms)
7 days walking, based at Hexham
The 98 mile (157km) northernmost section of the Pennine Way starts in the upland village of Dufton, in the North Pennines AONB, and finishes in Kirk Yetholm on the Scottish border. The route is characterised by wild moorland, big skies and a true feeling of remoteness, and includes an ascent of Cross Fell which, at 2930 feet (893m), is the highest point in England outside of the Lake District. Apart from Cross Fell, highlights of this exhilarating walk include the shapely ridge of Little Dunn, the village of Garrigill (at the end of a tough day's walk!), a superb stretch of Hadrian's Wall, the beautiful North Tyne River, the atmospheric summit of Windy Gyle, the panoramic views from Shitlington Crag, Brown Rigg Head, and The Schil, and (for those who have completed the whole route) the bar at the Border Hotel!
Day 1: Edale to Snake Pass 10 miles (16kms)
Day 2: Snake Pass to Wessenden Head Road 13 miles (21kms)
Day 3: Wessenden Head Road to Hebden Bridge 17 miles (27kms)
Day 4: Hebden Bridge to Ponden 11 miles (18kms)
Day 5: Ponden to Thornton-in-Craven 11 miles (18kms)
Day 6: Thornton-in-Craven to Malham 10 miles (16kms)
Day 1: Malham to Horton-in-Ribblesdale 14 miles (23kms)
Day 2: Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Hawes 14 miles (23kms)
Day 3: Hawes to Tan Hill Inn 16 miles (26kms)
Day 4: Tan Hill Inn to Grassholme Reservoir 14 miles (23kms)
Day 5: Grassholme Reservoir to Forest-in-Teesdale 13 miles (21kms)
Day 6: Forest-in-Teesdale to Dufton 12 miles (19kms)
Day 1: Dufton to Garrigill 16 miles (26kms)
Day 2: Garrigill to Lambley 12 miles (19kms)
Day 3: Lambley to Once Brewed 13 miles (21kms)
Day 4: Once Brewed to Bellingham 15 miles (24kms)
Day 5: Bellingham to Byrness 14 miles (23kms)
Day 6: Byrness to Uswayford Farm 15 miles (24kms)
Day 7: Uswayford Farm to Kirk Yetholm 13 miles (21kms)
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