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Yorkshire Dales Walk
Great Shunner Fell & Lovely Seat

Nat Park - Yorkshire Dales - Wensleydale

County/Area - North Yorkshire

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 11.4 miles / 18.5 km

Ascent - 1800 feet / 545 metres

Time - 7 hours 30 minutes

Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference SD865912
Lat 54.316207 // Long -2.209024
Postcode DL8 3LZ (approx. location only)
what3words start intricate.nibbled.sapping

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Great Shunner Fell & Lovely Seat
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This Yorkshire Dales walk includes the summits of Great Shunner Fell (716 metres), the third highest mountain in Yorkshire, and Lovely Seat (670 metres) in an energetic walk. The route uses the Pennine Way as far as the summit of Great Shunner Feel. However, from there the route becomes more difficult with rough and often wet ground to cross. The descent from Lovely Seat is pathless over rough ground.

The start is Hardraw where roadside parking can be found at the west end of the village (grid ref. SD865912). After parking walk towards the village and turn left onto the Pennine Way which is followed for about 7 kilometres to the summit of Great Shunner Fell. Initially the path follows a walled track. The track climbs steadily and where the walled track ends after 1.5 kilometres, you reach open country (grid ref. SD857921). Almost immediately the track forks. Take the left fork staying on the Pennine Way. Briefly there is a section with a wall on your immediate left. The gradient steepens to reach a gate (grid ref. SD848932). Go through the gate, pass a sheepfold on your left, and shortly after turn right still following the Pennine Way. The path rises across a wild moorland landscape. As you approach Great Shunner Fell's summit the path bears to the right. Cross a stile to the summit where a wonderful view opens up for you to enjoy. Highlights of the panorama include Swaledale with its patchwork of green fields and hay barns and the view west to Wild Boar Fell.

From the summit follow the Pennine Way for a few metres to a gate. Turn right here and follow the fence to descend to Butter Tubs Pass. In places the path is easy to follow but where it fades use the fence as a guide. Stay with fence as it turns right and continue alongside the fence. The fence then swings left to cross Little Shunner Fell (grid ref. SD859971). From here the path swings southeast generally following the fence. However, you might take an alternative route to avoid wet ground. The path descends to a wet col aptly named Grimy Gutter Hags> Here the fence swings right leading across some rough ground to reach the road across Butter Tubs Pass (grid ref. SD868954).

Turn left up the road as far as a fence corner on the right. Turn right off the road and follow the path uphill beside the fence. This path leads to a stile on the left, so you access the summit of Lovely Seat. After enjoying the view and studying your map, re-cross the stile and turn left along the path to a fence corner. You now have a section of rough, pathless ground to cross. From the fence corner head south west and by using trial and error keep descending to avoid the peat hags and drainage ditches. Maintain a south-westerly direction to continue the descent. As you lose height you should see a small carpark on the west side of the road and a clear track heading east. Both features provide useful navigation aids.

Reaching the road (approx. grid ref. SD866937), turn left and continue along the road past High Shaw. Just before a phone box on the left at Simonstone, take the signed footpath on the right. Follow the track passing West House on your left and continue following the path to reach the road In Hardraw where you turn right back to the start.

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