logo Walking Britain

Yorkshire Dales Walk
Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar

Nat Park - Yorkshire Dales - Three Peaks Country

County/Area - North Yorkshire

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 6.8 miles / 11 km

Ascent - 1530 feet / 464 metres

Time - 3 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 Horton Scar Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar Photo from the walk - Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar
Click thumbnails for larger images.

Rising to 694 metres above sea level, Pen-y-ghent is the lowest mountain of the Yorkshire "Big Three". When viewed from the south west its offers a distinctive shape, caused by its geology, and looks a little like the prow of some great ship. Rising above the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the summit is crossed by the Pennine Way and offers some fine views across North Yorkshire and Lancashire. The village of Horton has refreshments (café and pubs) and there are toilets at the main car park. This route to the summit is probably the most popular and can be busy at weekends in fine weather.

Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar Pen-y-ghent via Horton Scar 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

The best place to start this Yorkjshire Dales 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 into the village. After a few hundred yards, take the signed walled lane on your left to Pen-y-ghent. The going is fairly easy and you don't really notice the steady climb through some pretty limestone scenery. With Pen-y-ghent clearly in view to your right you cross Horton Scar to reach the end of the walled lane (Grid ref. SD823743).

Go through the gate and turn right on the clear path. The climb continues to be steady as the flank of Pen-y-ghent gets closer. The path turns sharp right with the 2000 feet contour already passed. All that remains is just over 200 feet of ascent to the summit from where there are some wonderful views. To the northwest and west lie the other two mountains of the "Big Three" - Whernside and Ingleborough. To the south lie the hills and moors of Lancashire with Pendle Hill the easiest summit to identify.

Having enjoyed the view, descend by the way you came. Reaching the end of the walled lane, you can make a short diversion to see Hull Pot. From the gate turn right and the great pot hole is a few hundred metres up the valley.

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

Wainwright Hill Bagging Map

A scratchable map showing all 214 Wainwrights in the Lake District. More info.

Mountain Weather

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

New to Walking?

How to start walking - a simple guide of how to start walking. Includes a guide on how to select your walks.