One of England’s most beautiful counties, Yorkshire is prime walking country. Whether you prefer the purple-hued wilderness of the moors, the challenge of climbing high peaks or tranquil walks along a river, the scenery is stunning. Narrowing down the best treks in the region is a near-impossible task, as you could spend years seeking out new routes, but here are four of Culture Trip’s favourite spots for gorgeous views and interesting hikes.
The Yorkshire Dales are filled with spectacular scenery, cascading waterfalls and towering peaks, but it’s perhaps the limestone pavement above Malham Cove that is the most dramatic landscape. The circular walk takes you from the town and along the river to the bottom of the cove, before climbing steeply up and allowing you to teeter on the edge of the precipice, walk on the unusual limestone surface and (on a clear day) admire the views for miles around. If you’d prefer a longer walk, add on the extra loop to Malham Tarn and back to enjoy more of the local scenery.
As one of the Dales’ famed Three Peaks, Ingleborough towers above the surrounding landscape at 723m (2,372ft) high with its unmistakable silhouette. There are many routes up the mountain, but perhaps the most scenic is the circular route that leads up from the small village of Clapham. The ascent starts slowly, as you leave Clapham and walk uphill through the woods, eventually passing a picturesque river that makes a great place for a picnic stop. Continuing steadily uphill, hikers must scramble through a gorge before approaching Gaping Gill, a chasm in the earth that opens up into a caving system large enough to fit St Paul’s Cathedral inside. From here, it’s a steep but relatively quick uphill climb, first to Little Ingleborough and then to the main peak. The descent is similarly fast and sheer, leading you back to Clapham hopefully in time for a celebratory pint in the local pub.
For jaw-dropping views of the purple-hued landscapes of West Yorkshire, you can’t beat a walk on Ilkley Moor. Starting from West View Park, turn towards White Wells, not forgetting to pause to admire the views. The path then continues to Ilkley Crag, steadily climbing at an easy gradient before taking the right fork uphill. Here, you’ll find a standing circle of 12 stones on top of the moor. After admiring them, continue along the path towards Yorkshire’s famous Cow and Calf outcrops. No doubt you’ll be sharing this spot with plenty of other admirers, but wandering back down to West View through Rocky Valley is far more tranquil and just as picturesque. Time this walk to coincide with the abundance of heather in late summer and early autumn to fully appreciate the beauty of the scenery.
This picturesque walk around Aysgarth Falls allows for many photo opportunities during a short two-and-a-half-hour loop, taking in woodland, views and three waterfalls. Visit following heavy rain to appreciate the falls at their full force, although the walk is impressive at any time. While it’s possible to park close to the falls, save the upper falls for the end of your trek, and begin by passing the mid and lower falls before ascending to views of Bolton Castle. The route then passes through the small village of Carperby, where thirsty hikers can stop for a drink at the Wheatsheaf before continuing back to the car park and admiring the upper falls. If you’d like to get closer to the water, take the opportunity to do so at the beginning of your hike, as the easiest access is the stretch of rock at the water’s edge at the lower falls.