The Richmond Way is an attractive unofficial long distance trail following ancient trading routes which have existed at least from Roman times. These crossed the Pennines and led down to the old port city of Lancaster on the River Lune; we have measured this route as 111km / 69 miles. The way follows riverside and field footpaths, wild upland trails and some country lane sections between Lancaster and Richmond Castles.
The trail traces the Lower Lune Valley passing through some beautiful villages. From Ingleton it enters the upland limestone country around the peaks of Ingleborough and Whernside. The next sections crosses remote Scales Moor enroute to Ribbleshead where you pass beneath the famous Ribblehead Viaduct. The Richmond Way then follows an old Roman Road for more or less 10 miles via Wether Fell the highest point on the route at 600 metres (1935ft).
The path then enters Raydale, a secluded tributary valley of Wensleydale, and via the gorgeous village of Bainbridge, enters Wensleydale, the largest of the Yorkshire Dales. The route continues to the pretty village of Askrigg. Above here you follow an old drovers’ road to Castle Bolton, dominated by a medieval fortress that once imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots. You cross Redmire Moor before entering Swaledale via the summit of Greets Hill. The path descends to the village of Grinton and follows the River Swale downstream and then along a delightful fellside terrace above the looping Swale briefly sharing the Coast to Coast trail.
A final crossing of the Swale is made before the route enters the attractive Georgian town of Richmond where it ends below the great keep of historic Richmond Castle.
There is no dedicated waymarking throughout the route, and footpaths can change from time to time due to fencing, livestock etc.
We grade this tour as moderate (grade 3); anyone used to hill walking / mountain hiking with a daily height gain and loss up to approx 900m /3000 ft and can cope with walking up to 7 hours in a day will be able to cope with the walk. Most days are less than this. NOTE: Day 4 is a moderate to challenging day as there are sections with no waymarking and you will need to be able to follow you map and compass if required. Although it is subjective there are no vertigo inducing sections on the walk. The optional Ingleton Falls Trail does have step sections above falls that some might find vertiginous however.
Lancaster is a pleasant city with a shipping, agricultural and industrial heritage. If you have time it would be certainly worth going on a castle tour where you will learn about the Pendle Witches who were incarcerated here. A pleasant stroll can be made up to the Ashton Memorial for great views over the city. Lancaster has some fine Georgian features including the Customs House, and other civic buildings and some great pubs and coffee shops.
The Richmond Way starts by following a very flat walking and cycling trail alongside the River Lune, passing under several bridges including a Rennie designed Aqueduct. The Lune is crossed near the village of Halton, where a diversion can be made to visit a lovely teashop and an ancient Norse Cross.The Walk then leads out into open countryside and ascends above the bend in the river called 'Crook of Lune. You are walking through several farming hamlets before descending again to follow the River Lune on a quiet pastoral and woodland footpath as far as the old Loyn Bridge. From here it is a short distance into the quiet village of Hornby, with its private castle that can be observed from the River Wenning and its unusual octagonal towered church.
Accommodation: There is only one place to stay here a small Georgian country Inn with pleasant rooms and an attractive restaurant and pub dining area.
From Hornby the path returns back to Loyn Bridge and rejoins the Lune side flood plane path. It is really flat and a bit of navigation is required to follow the route beside a former river course called The Old Lune, which winds around to the honey coloured sandstone village of Melling. From here the trail leaves the Lune valley and at the hamlet of Old Wennington the Richmond Way leaves Lancashire and enters North Yorkshire.You now undulate across field pastures and through woods, crossing the River Greta into Burton-in-Lonsdale, a former pottery village with hardly any trace of its industrial past. The tall spired church and a nice pub for a lunch stop are obvious attractions. The way descends again to the River Greta which it follows to the attractive old mining village of Ingleton. If you have time it is worth the entry fee to complete the 7km 'Ingleton Waterfall Trail' up the River Twiss and down the River Doe. It might be worth considering an extra day in Ingleton to really enjoy this, although you could do half of it on the way out tomorrow.
Accommodation: We use a number of B&Bs in, or close to, the centre of the village, with comfortable ensuite rooms or with private bathroom. Ingleton is a popular tourist spot in summer.
This is a shorter day across the upland limestone moors above the valley of Chapel-le-Dale. The route takes you across to Ribblehead on 'The Craven Old Way', an ancient pack-horse route which was used for at least 500 years. Careful navigation is needed across the moors because the trail can be faint going through boggy areas and should only be done in reasonable visibility. In case of bad weather, an alternative route follows a quiet country lane all the way to Chapel-le-Dale and rejoins the original path near there. The views across the moors embrace the fells of Whernside and Ingleborough and there are interesting stones on the moors, some left by man, others by ice. After crossing the moors, you descend to cross the Winterscales Beck to come to the stark landscape necklaced by the Ribblehead Viaduct. A national treasure that cost many lives to build and has been threatened with closure on a couple of occasions.
Accommodation: There is only one place to stay at Ribblehead, only a few hundred metres from the viaduct. This old Inn is a real refuge from bad weather with a lovely cosy bar and some of the finest beers on this route. Rooms are no frills but ensuite.
This is the hardest and longest day on the route, as you walk over the highest point on the route at Wether Fell (614m), luckily navigation is generally easy. The walk takes in a short section of the Dales and Pennine Ways, following a Roman road that the legions and their slaves cut into the Cam Fell and Dodd Fell hillside 2000 years ago, and is now etched into the landscape as the ‘Cam High Road’. In good light there are beautiful views into the surrounding valleys of Oughtershaw, Widdale and Sleddale. After a long undulating ascent to Wether Fell, the route diverges off onto a hilly byway before dropping down to follow a path along the bucolic River Bain which undulates along to finally drop into pretty Bainbridge village, where the river suddenly develops raging torrents – Welcome to Wensleydale!
Accommodation: We use a beautiful small B&B by the tea shop on one of the Greens. Otherwise the only pub in the village may be your port of call, a coaching Inn that dates back to the 1400s.
Perhaps scenically the most beautiful day in the heart pf the Yorkshire Dales. Here you dally in Wensleydale passing through the beautiful village of Askrigg, the setting for the TV series A "All Creatures Great and Small," where the 19th century inn The King's Arms was better known to James Herriot's fans as The Drovers Arms. You now follow old farm and droving trails over the hills via the mighty Bolton Castle to Apedale before a final climb up over the moors over Greets Hill. There follows a steep descent into Swaledale and to the pretty village of Grinton. You may be staying here, but much of the accommodation is in the Green Village of Reeth, another mile away, both villages were heavily involved with lead mining.
Accommodation: In Grinton, another old Inn, by the River Swale in this quiet village. The pub is warm and friendly and the five en-suite bedrooms are each styled with simplicity and comfort in mind with just what you need to help you relax after a day's walking. You may instead be staying a mile off the route in the old lead mining green village of Reeth which has 3 pubs, B&Bs and more places to eat.
This is generally an easier day, following the River Swale and the famous Coast to Coast to Marrick Priory then a short steep ascent through ancient woods and around the farms and fields of Marrick hamlet. A few rural undulations and you reach the attractive manorial village called Marske, before ascending under the escarpments of Whitcliffe Wood. Here you diverge from the Coast to Coast route and re-join the river bank of the Swale, eventually crossing it for a final woodland stroll to arrive at your final destination, the elegant Georgian town of Richmond and to the final impressive castle of the walk with its towering keep over the Swale.
Accommodation: Richmond is blessed with a number of potential overnight stops. Generally you will be at a former brewery down by the River Swale. A quiet location with comfortable ensuite or private bathroom rooms. An extra night in Richmond is recommended.
Depart Richmond for your onward journey. Depending upon your departure schedule, you may have time to do the pleasant Drummer Boy Walk to the ruins of Easby Abbey.
Per Person, Twin Share