The walk is a circular between two of the dale’s most popular attractions; the village of Askrigg and the spectacular (at least after all the rain!) Aysgarth Falls. The higher level outbound route is the best, the return is closer to the River Ure.

I prefer to start the walk in Askrigg and head up the hill to the east end of the village. On passing the Crown Inn continue up the lane for 100m to a footpath sign on your right.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Askrigg in Wensleydale

At the end of the houses take the left fork aiming uphill, through two narrow stiles, arriving in the small hamlet of Newbiggin. It is exquisitely pretty.

Cross the road and take the left hand fork path again heading gradually uphill. The path passes through some lovely woodland before breaking out in to an open field with far reaching views up and down Wensleydale.

On reaching a farm lane over a stile turn right and take the left fork on the lane leading a little uphill to a barn on your right. Pass through a gate on to the open moorland. The next three-plus miles is one of my favourite stretches of walking in the Dales. The views are outstanding, the walking and route finding straightforward and it is in classic Dales scenery; dry stone walls, small streams, sheep and limestone scars to your left.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Askrigg and Aysgarth walking map

The path is good but just above Woodhall be aware that when the lane drops towards the village turn uphill for a few metres to a gate and then join the path to your right. The path basically keeps level and heads east.

After two miles the track passes the old quarry under Ivy Scar and climbs slightly to a gate. After the gate take the right fork and drop down to the village of Carperby. Enter the village via a farm, it is not the easiest to navigate through.

The path enters Carperby at its west end, turn left for a few metres then left downhill towards Aysgarth. After 300 metres take the footpath on your right and continue downhill to the car park and the main visitor centre of Aysgarth Falls.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Aysgarth Upper Falls

The main falls are over the road to the west and well worth the detour but if time is tight carry on down the road to the road bridge. Just before arriving at the bridge turn right and visit the Upper Falls of Aysgarth, a lovely place and spectacular after wet weather.

From here the path sticks close to the River Ure, following the line of the Old Railway which used to run along here (closed in 1964). After looping round the farm at Bear Park follow the path west for half a mile before cutting down to the river for the next two and a half miles. On arrival at Nappa Mill the path meets a road which climbs back in to Askrigg.

Walk facts

Distance: Roughly 12 miles.

Height to climb: 300m (985 feet).

Start: SD 948910. There is parking near the Crown Inn at the top end of Askrigg.

Difficulty: Hard. The walking itself is straightforward on good paths (muddy by the river in places) but it will take the best part of a day.

Refreshments: Askrigg has cafes and pubs and at the half way point at Carperby/Aysgarth Falls.

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 30) 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 is the owner of Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written 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. The next available date is Sunday, May 19. Join our “Dales 30 Weekenders” in Hawes and Sedbergh. also features hundreds of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.