8 of the Best Walks & Hikes In & Around Yorkshire
Written By: Ben Mounsey
Escape to the countryside to enjoy some fresh air and explore your beautiful rural surroundings. Whether you’re planning a solitary hike or a walk with the family, we’ve teamed up with Komoot to help you find some of the most popular walks, in and around Yorkshire, showcasing some of the best natural and man-made features that England’s biggest county has to offer.
1. MALHAM COVE, GORDALE SCAR & JANET’S FOSS (Malhamdale, North Yorkshire)
Pictured: The Limestone Pavement, Malham Cove - Unsplash
If you search for popular walks in the Yorkshire Dales, then Malham will undoubtedly appear at the top of the list. And for good reason, because this small village is arguably the jewel in the crown of Yorkshire's biggest National Park. Best-known for its stunning limestone scenery, this rural area offers a plethora of visual treats, including Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, Janet’s Foss and Malham Tarn.
From the centre of Malham, you can complete a circular walk, mostly via the Pennine Way, to visit all of these incredible landmarks on foot. Don’t forget to pack your camera, as the stunning 260ft cliffs of the Cove are also home to peregrine falcons and little owls, and above here you will find one of the finest examples of a limestone pavement in the UK, which famously featured in the Harry Potter film 'The Deathly Hallows'.
Thirsty work? For a post-hike treat, stop for a pint at The Lister Arms in Malham, a quintessential pub in the centre of the village which serves a wide range of local hand pulled ales.
2. CRACOE MONUMENT & RYLSTONE CROSS (Wharfedale, North Yorkshire)
Just a short distance north of Skipton, lies the Yorkshire Dales National Park, a haven for every type of outdoor adventure. This 5.5-mile route is a perfect introduction to the glorious landscape of the Wharfedale Valley, climbing up high onto the skyline and passing the local monuments of Cracoe fell and Rylstone Cross. This route can be approached in either direction and has a real mix of off-road terrain, from hard-packed paths, to soft ground and small rocky outcrops which require some balance and agility to manoeuvre.
Eye on a pie? For a post-hike treat, why not visit Stanforth butchers of Skipton, to enjoy one of their world-famous pork pies.
3. THE COW & CALF AND THE 12 APOSTLES (Ilkey, West Yorkshire)
Pictured: The 12 Apostles by James Elkington
If you’re in search of a family walk, then Ilkley Moor has plenty to offer, including areas of archaeological and geographical interest. Most famously, the 12 Apostles, a stone circle made up of twelve standing stones thought to date back to the Bronze Age. The ‘Cow and Calf’, is a large rock formation situated above the village of Ben Rhydding, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
There are a variety of route options, but we recommend a circular walk which starts and finishes above the village of Ben Rhydding (Hangingstone Road). Alternatively, you could start and finish above Ilkley (White Wells car park) travelling on sections of the Bradford Millennium Way and the Dales Way link path.
Pack a picnic? We highly recommend a visit to Moin Moin Bäckerei, a charming little bakery in Ilkley which serves the most delicious sandwiches, cakes, pastries and hot drinks.
4. STOODLEY PIKE MONUMENT (Calderdale, West Yorkshire)
Stoodley Pike Monument stands proudly above the Calder Valley and can be viewed for miles around. Built in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War, visitors can enter and climb to the top of the 37m high monument to enjoy a stunning 360° panorama of the surrounding area.
This route starts and finishes from the Top Brink pub at Lumbutts, but can also be extended into a longer and more challenging walk if you start and finish in the bottom of the valley (from Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge or Todmorden). Alternatively, you could add some extra miles on to this circular route by walking around Withins Clough reservoir, a relatively short descent and climb back up from the monument. It’s best to park at the Top Brink pub or on Mankinholes Bank.
New to this area? We recommend a visit to nearby Hebden Bridge, a truly unique market town, which is most famous for its vast array of independent businesses, including organic, locally sourced and vegetarian eateries, a wealth of local artwork and crafts and numerous culture venues.
5. FLAMBOROUGH HEAD (East Yorkshire)
Pictured: Flamborough Head - Unsplash
If you’re craving coastline, then a circular walk from the village of Flamborough around the prominent coastal feature of Flamborough Head is one of Yorkshire’s finest offerings. In just a few miles, you can enjoy views of some of the most spectacular chalk cliffs in Britain, breath-taking scenery, interesting rock formations and beautiful bays. It is also home to one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in the country.
This is a perfect family walk and can be extended to take in even more of the East Coast by travelling North towards Filey, or South towards Bridlington. For a greater adventure, start from Filey and finish in Bridlington (or vice-versa) and catch the train back to the start.
Feeling peckish? No trip to the coast is complete without a visit to a traditional fish and chip shop.
6. HUGGATE, THE YORKSHIRE WOLDS (East Yorkshire)
Despite not being quite as famous as the Cotswolds, the Yorkshire Wolds are no less beautiful. With gentle undulating hills and picture postcard views, this rural area of East Yorkshire is just waiting to be explored.
This circular walk, which starts and finishes in Huggate, is a good introduction to the area and an easier alternative for those not wanting to tackle the full Yorkshire Wolds Way, a 79-mile linear walk through the stunning chalk landscape of East Yorkshire. Just remember to take your camera to capture the stunning views of Horse Dale and Holm Dale.
Steak a break! We recommend paying a visit to the Yorkshire Wolds Pie shop in Huggate for one of their delicious steak pies.
7. BAMFORD & STANAGE EDGE (South Yorkshire/Derbyshire)
Pictured: Stanage Edge - Unsplash
Situated on the edge of the South Yorkshire/Derbyshire county line, this Peak District walk explores two of the gritstone edges in the Eastern area of the National Park. We recommend a circular walk starting in the village of Bradfield (South Yorkshire), following defined tracks and paths and traversing the rocky edge of Bamford Moor, where you will be greeted with stunning views of Ladybower Reservoir and the surrounding area.
8. LANGSETT RESERVOIR (South Yorkshire)
A walk around Langsett Reservoir in the Dark Peak combines woodland paths with access and views across open moorland. Much of the walk is across land owned and managed by Yorkshire Water, so paths are easy to follow and the area is well maintained. This low-level walk does include some small and undulating climbs, most notably from the top of the reservoir to the turn on the moor, well worth it for the views. It's also perfect for a summer or winter walk as the wooded sections offer shelter and protection from the elements. This route is suitable and accessible for most abilities and fitness.
For those wanting to explore further, it's possible to extend the route by climbing higher onto the moor. Check out the 27km 'Grin & Bear It' ace route for a much longer challenge - but beware of the peat bogs! It's advisable to walk and hike in pairs or small groups because it can be dangerous in parts.
Looking for more fun for the family? Why not combine this walk with a trip to the popular nearby attraction of Cannon Hall Farm.
If you’re looking to stretch your legs and explore the gorgeous Yorkshire countryside, it’s worth making sure you’re kitted out with the right hiking gear, walking shoes and outdoors accessories, to make sure your adventure is as comfortable as possible. Head over to our hiking hub for more inspiration and advice.
Related Post: WALKS AND HIKES WITHIN AN HOUR OF LONDON