124 km / 77 miles
A route tracing the River Swale upstream from Boroughbridge near the confluence with the Ure to the Swale's origin in the head of Swaledale near Keld, at the meeting of Birkdale and Great Sleddale Becks (at NY856008), within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and then onto Kirby Stephen.
Partly because of a lack of rights of way, the Way does not slavishly follow the river, in some places diverging, with the largest detour to visit the market town of Thirsk on Cod Beck, itself a Swale tributary. The fine and historic market town of Richmond upon Swale is also en route, with its castle ruins.
Between Richmond and Reeth, in contrast to the Coast to Coast walk that keeps north of the river mainly on field paths, the Way goes south of the river to enter the Yorkshire Dales National Park to reach Hudswell church and Downholme, then below Stainton Moor and its military ranges to Haggs Gill and Grinton Lodge (now a Youth Hostel) to descend to Grinton and re-cross the river to Reeth. This part includes road walking and hard surfaces.
In Swaledale, the classic patterned landscapes of neat stone-walled fields, each with its stone barn, and on the hillsides above the heather grouse moors and the spoil tips from past mining activity, testify to the economic bases that have sustained the dale's prosperity for many centuries.
Beyond the Swale's origin alternatives of a short circular route back to Keld via Ravenseat and a longer extension westward to Kirby Stephen with its rail links are described. The extension climbs across moorland on Birkdale Common and, leaving the Yorkshire Dales National Park, goes across Nine Standards Rigg, a landmark of cairns at the watershed dividing northern England with good views, to descend to Hartley. These options are in essence the reverse of the Coast to Coast route and in the area of Nine Standards Rigg erosion issues have led to recommended seasonal alternatives that are described in the revised Wainwright guide below - the described Swale Way itself follows the Red Route option.
En route the Pennine Way National Trail and Yoredale Way are also encountered.
|Path Type:||Other Paths|
|Attributes:||Average Gradients; River|
SE395668 - Boroughbridge, N Yorks
NY774087 - Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
|Web Sites:||Swale Way|
Publications, Badges and Certificates:
|Booklet:||Swale Way (Richmondshire District Council - 1997)|
|Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:|
|OS Landranger:||91, 92, 93, 98, 99|
|OS Landranger Active:||98|
|OS Explorer:||19, 26, 30, 299, 302, 304|
|OS Explorer Active:||19, 26, 30, 299, 302, 304|
Walking Support Providers:
|Support Providers:||Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Contours Walking Holidays)|
Group Accommodation within 5 Km of this Path:
|Camping Barn:||Brompton on Swale Camping Barn YHA, Richmond, N.Yorks||< 1 Km|
|Camping Barn:||Richmond Camping Barn, Westfields, Richmond, N.Yorks||1 Km|
|Camping Barn:||Richmond Camping Barn||1 Km|
|Hostel Accommodation:||Grinton Lodge YHA||< 1 Km|
|Hostel Accommodation:||Dales Bike Centre||< 1 Km|
|Camping Barn:||Low Whita Farm, Low Row, Richmond, North Yorkshire||< 1 Km|
|Camping Barn:||Low Row Camping Barn YHA, Richmond, North Yorkshire||< 1 Km|
|Bunk House:||Keld Bunk Barn & Yurts||< 1 Km|
|Hostel Accommodation:||Kirkby Stephen Hostel, Yorkshire||< 1 Km|
|GPS Exchange Format Route File:||Swale Way GPX Exchange Format Route File||Login to Download
|MemoryMap Route file:||Swale Way Memory Map Route File||Login to Download
|Tracklogs Route file:||Swale Way Tracklogs Route file||Login to Download
|123.8 Km (76.9 miles)
1,962 m (6,437 ft) ascent
573 m (1,880 ft) maximum height