Skipton Moor is an area of lowland moors lying between Ilkley and the market town of Skipton. It is a steep, but short climb to the moor (which is worth exploring) but it is the views over Skipton and the Aire Valley which make it such an interesting walk.

It is possible to park on Shortbank Road for the start of the walk or walk the extra half mile by parking in the town centre. Shortbank Road heads south east from a small roundabout on the A6069 heading out of Skipton. At the end of Shortbank the road turns in to a rough track and starts to climb steeply through some woodland.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Skipton Moor

The footpaths climbs to the right but there are paths which are used by mountain bikers that wind through the trees for 30 metres. The path exits the woods to the left and a stile at a junction of paths leads up Jenny Gill on to the open hillside.

The path continues to climb steadily up the hillside but after crossing a boundary take the path heading east across the access land. Take time to turn round and enjoy the views over Skipton. To the right of Skipton is the distinctive summit of Sharp Haw, with Rough Haw beside, a good walk for another day. To the left the Aire Valley stretches towards Keighley. Soon the path arrives at the trig point of Skipton Moor. There are three further cairns on the summit area, one a 100m to the west and two more to the east, a prominent sight for those driving on the A65.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Skipton walk map

Return from the summit either along the path heading back south west until it meets a public right of way heading east (turn left). This provides a further two thirds of a mile of excellent views down Airedale. Alternatively cut the corner from the summit and head directly south to meet a stile and follow the path on the south side of the wall. Drop south for a few hundred metres to High Edge Farm, east towards Middleborough House and take the footpath north and steadily uphill to Snow Hill Farm. This part of the walk sounds a little messy but is enjoyable and a good contrast to what has gone before. The paths in places are indistinct but it is a nice challenge to follow rarely tramped paths on walks.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Skipton Castle

The footpath heads north from Snow Hill Farm and after two stiles joins the bridleway/lane used for, amongst other walks, the Dales High Way. Turn left on to the track and follow it for one and a half miles back to the woods above Jenny Gill. This section of the walk is highly enjoyable with good views north over Embsay Moor with the Yorkshire Dales beyond. It is easy to see why Skipton is known as the gateway to the Dales. From Jenny Gill drop through the woods and back on to Shortbank Road.

Walk facts

Distance: Roughly 6.5 miles (8 from central Skipton).

Height to climb: 300m (985 feet).

Start: SE 001512. There is parking at the end of Shortbank Road or just walk the extra half mile from Skipton centre.

Difficulty: Medium. A steep climb to the summit and the paths to the east are intermittent on the ground. What I normally term an undulating route!

Refreshments: Plenty in Skipton.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

  • Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales. He has published three books on walking in the Dales, The Yorkshire 3 Peaks, The Dales 30 mountains and Walks without Stiles. All these books (and more) are available direct from the Where2walk website. Book a navigation (map and compass skills) training day near Settle or a bespoke day for a private group – 2024 dates and details will shortly be on, which also features hundreds of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs