Riverside Walking at its best

August 21, 2020

The Lake District may be the queen of lakeside walks well but nowhere does pleasant strolls alongside a river or hill stream better than the Dales . There are very few standing areas of water in the Dales but plenty of fast and slow flowing rivers.

Each dale has its own river, full of character and history. If you would like to find out more about them just follow this link.

However the list below includes the 15 best river walks in the Dales (in my humble opinion). They vary in length but the majority of each walk is alongside a river or mountain stream.

1. Highlights of Wensleydale (River Ure)

One of the joys of this full day walk is you can see the riverside section from the escarpment to the north of the River Ure as you approach Aysgarth Falls from the Castle Bolton area. The riverside section is idyllic and looks it.

Walk Details 

2. Mallerstang (River Eden)

Mallerstang is wild, untamed with a fascinating history. Its rare to see anyone away from the immediate environs of Kirkby Stephen but the privileged few who do venture further are treated to 2 ruined castles and an area steeped in mythology.

Walk Details

3. Villages of Wharfedale (River Wharfe)

There is some very pleasant walking along the Wharfe near Grassington but my enjoyment comes from the lovely villages that pepper its banks; Thorpe, Hebden, Linton and the queen of them all Burnsall.

Near Burnsall

Walk Details

4. The Upper Swale (River Swale)

Upper Swaledale is one of my favourite places in the Dales; this walk takes in a lovely section of the Upper Swale as well as a short sharp climb up Kisdon Fell with great views of the rivers embryonic meanderings.

Near Keld

Walk Details

5. Jervaulx Abbey (River Ure)

The lovely setting in a deer park overlooking the River Ure of Jervaulx Abbey is the start and finish of a 6 mile walk through country estates and tranquil riverside, where the River Ure exits Wensleydale

Walk Details 

6. Lovely Littondale (River Skirfare)

The side valley of Littondale is one of my favourites; a quiet dale full of character, a U shaped valley with easy walking and a a few small hamlets with traditional pubs and fine ale.


Walk Details 

7. Exploring Arkengarthdale (River Arkle)

Arkengarthdale points due north from Reeth in Swaledale and is a great place to explore. The river itself is not as fascinating as other places but the walk is; enjoy the villages, farms, flowers and wildlife in this hidden corner of the Dales.

Easy walking along the Arkle

Walk Details

8. Lower Nidd at Dacre Banks (River Nidd)

Near Dacre

River walking tends to be better in their upper reaches but Nidderdale is the exception. The walk near Dacre Banks is lovely and peaceful; a walk perfect even in the winter months.

Walk Details

9. Cataracts of the Strid (River Wharfe)

Probably the most popular of all the riverside walks, the best time to take on the walk is after some rain, the fast flowing Wharfe has a magnetic power that always fascinated me.

The Strid

Walk Details

10. Eight Stiles at Long Preston

A peaceful walk along Long Preston beck. The return is via a short climb made up by wonderful views over Pendle Hill and the Forest of Bowland.

Long Preston Beck

Walk Details

11. Gunnerside Gill

The walk up Gunnerside Gill is alongside a tumbling beck full of character. However it is the rver’s use in the history of the lead mining industry which makes this walk so interesting.

Gunnerside Gill

Walk Details

12. A Walk through Dentdale

Dentdale is a hidden dale. The short walk alongside the river from the pretty village of Dent is a walk through the past. It is a dale largely untouched, farming holds sway.


Walk Details

13. Woods at Knaresborough

In many ways this is more of a ‘towny’ walk but very good. The path through the words and alongside the River Nidd is very pleasant with interesting historical reminders of an industrial past.

River Nidd at Knaresborough

Walk Details

14. The Head of Wharfedale

The Head of Wharfedale is a tranquil place. The waterfalls of Cray may be well known but the upper Wharfe itself meanders through some peacefull but wild countryside.


Walk Details

15. Malham Explorer (River Aire)

An unusual river walk as it takes in a large section of walking where the river has no water! However coupled with the tumbling beck at Gordale Scar this is a Dales classic which should not be ignored.

Walk Details

Enjoy your riverside walking


For a full list of all my ‘Best of…’ blogs please follow this link

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