logo Walking Britain

Yorkshire Dales Walk
Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom

Nat Park - Yorkshire Dales - Three Peaks Country

County/Area - North Yorkshire

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 6.5 miles / 10.6 km

Ascent - 1540 feet / 467 metres

Time - 4 hours 50 minutes

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference SD807726
Lat 54.148858 // Long -2.296977
Postcode BD24 0HF (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom
Click thumbnails for larger images.

Pen-y-ghent is the lowest mountain of the Yorkshire "Big Three". Its distinctive shape, caused by its geology, means it is probably the most easily recognised of the trio. Rising above the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the summit is crossed by the Pennine Way and offers some fine views across the North Yorkshire countryside and into neighbouring Lancashire. The village of Horton has refreshments (cafe and pubs) and there are toilets at the main car park. This route to the summit is probably less used than the other via Brackenbottom.

Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

The start of this Yorkshire Dale walk is the pay and display car park (grid ref. SD807726) on the northern outskirts of the village adjacent to the River Ribble. Exit the car park and walk south through the village. Go past the solid looking parish church and turn left off the main road down a lane. A few hundred metres along this lane go right across the footbridge over the stream and turn left up the lane towards Brackenbottom. The lane climbs gently offering improving views of the countryside.

Just before Brackenbottom, take the signed path (Grid ref. SD816722) on your left to Pen-y-ghent. The path climbs in great steps alongside a wall over limestone. As you get higher, the geology changes to gritstone. You reach a cross wall and the Pennine Way (Grid ref. SD836727). Cross the stile and turn left. The path climbs more steeply now with a couple of sections requiring a little use of hands as you ascend the prow of Pen-y-ghent. Soon the gradient eases and you are on the summit plateau with the summit marked with a concrete trig column.

To descend, cross the wall and follow the Pennine Way northwest. This path descends steadily across the western flank of the mountain. Where the main path turns sharp left (Grid ref. SD838742), continue ahead on a less defined path that heads for Horton Moor. This section can be a little wet after rain and is the route used by the Three Peak Challenge. The path descends to cross a beck on a plank to reach the main valley path from Foxup.

Turn left along this main path and after a few hundred metres cross the stile on your right to visit impressive Hull Pot. This is particularly impressive when Hull Pot Beck is in spate. From here continue south to regain the main path. Rejoining the main path to and from Pen-y-ghent (Grid ref. SD823743) continue down the walled lane into Horton in Ribblesdale. Reaching the main road, turn right and the car park is a short way along on the left.

Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers

Covid 19 Update for Walkers

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL2Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL2Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 98Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 98Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

GPS files - On older browsers right click or option-click the link and choose "Save As..." to download this file.


Recommended Reading

Walking in the Yorkshire Dales: South and West

Walking in the Yorkshire Dales: South and WestPart of a two-book set, this guidebook describes 44 walks in the southern and western Yorkshire Dales, including the famous 23 mile Three Peaks circuit over Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. The other, mostly circular routes of 3½ to 13 miles cover the scenic region between Sedbergh, Kirkby Lonsdale, Settle, Skipton and Grassington.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

Walking - Covid 19 update

Regular updates on how Covid 19 will impact on walking in the UK More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.