Pen-y-ghent is one of the famous 'Three Peaks' of Yorkshire with a distinctive shape especially when seen from the south west approach. Often busy this route combines a visit to the summit with a quieter ridge and valley walk to complete the excursion. The walk starts in the village of Horton in Ribblesdale well known for its association with the Yorkshire "Big Three".
From the main car park (grid ref. SD807726) walk south along the main road towards the stone-built Norman Parish Church from where there is a good view of the main objective of this walk. Just past the church, cross a stream and turn left along a narrow lane, keeping the stream on your left. The lane soon veers right away from the stream to lead to the small hamlet of Brackenbottom.
Just before the houses, turn left at a public footpath sign for Pen-y-ghent. Stay with this path keeping the wall on your left as you climb steadily through fields with Pen-y-ghent ahead. As you climb the view improves with the smooth outline of Fountains Fell to your right. Apart from a few short sections of very easy scrambling to reach a stile at the foot of the steep escarpment on the southern end of Pen-y-ghent.
The final climb onto the summit plateau is steep but recent path improvements have made the going easier and the summit cairn soon comes into view. As can be expected the all-round view is superb with Ingleborough and Whernside (the other two members of the "Big Three") dominating the panorama. Also of note is the view of Ribblesdale to the west and less-known Silverdale to the east.
The normal route of ascent heads off the summit in a north-easterly direction and this can be used for a quicker return to Horton in Ribblesdale. However, as mentioned in the introduction, our route continues along the ridge joining Pen-y-ghent with Plover Hill and this is easily accomplished by following the wall heading roughly north from the summit.
The path follows the west side of the wall and in a few places can be wet and boggy but generally speaking these squelchy patches can be avoided. Stay with the wall all the way to the summit of Plover Hill where there are fine views into Littondale and beyond.
From the summit of Plover Hill cross the wall and head north following a clear path that descends slowly at first. Nearing a stone wall on your right the descent steepens and you drop down dramatically across Foxup Moor to reach a clear path. Turn left and stay with this path heading in the general direction of Horton in Ribblesdale.
The walking in the valley is excellent with good views and you soon reach the magnificent chasm of Hull Pot, which is slightly off route but well worth the short detour. A deep chasm with steep sides it is at its most impressive after heavy rain when water streams down into the cave. From the Pot retrace your steps to the main path and continue along Horton Scar Lane. This very pleasant walled track crosses some fine limestone scenery and leads you easily back to Horton in Ribblesdale. Nearing the village fork right at a junction and continue down to the main road. The car park is a short way along the main road to your right.
OS Map showing start
Ordnance Survey Map showing starting point of walk - Click Here
It is recommended you take a map with you when following a walk route. The preferred scale is 1:25000 used by the Explorer series.
Note : If two maps are listed at the same scale then either (a) both are required for full coverage of the route or (b) the route is covered on both maps.
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