Where is this walk?

Birks Fell, Upper Wharfedale

June 2, 2024

Birks Fell is one of four “Dales 30” mountains that ring the head of Upper Wharfedale. Birks is the long uniform ridge high above the villages of Buckden and Kettlewell on the west side of the dale. It is a steep climb from any start point but easy walking along the flat summit ridge, great for views and mountain spotting.

The Walk

Birks Fell is part of a 10 mile grassy ridge of nearly uniform height which loops round the splendid dale of Littondale. The summit lies between Upper Wharfedale and Littondale and is insignificant in stature. As a result most will head for the more obvious trig point and those who are interested then head for the summit.

On my first visit to Birks Fell I climbed its steep slopes on a sunny winter’s day from Starbotton,  Finding the high point is not a difficult challenge as long as you have studied the map and realised it is not the obvious trig point. The summit/highest point is a mile away and is simply found by keeping to the dry stone wall heading north. Just before arriving at the summit there is a fine body of water. This is Birks Tarn and a good place to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the area. The summit is marked by a small cairn on the Wharfedale side of the wall where it meets a second wall. I must admit some reservaying may be in order because the cairn and highest point marked on the O/S 1.25,000 map are not the same.

I have always enjoyed my walks on Birks Fell, it is a pleasure to stride out along the ridge and enjoy the views. However there are also some excellent walks that cross the broad ridge between Upper Wharfedale and Littondale. The links to these walks are at the foot of this page.

Birks is one of the Dales 30 Mountains.


Birks is also one of the 3 Peaks that makes up the Wharfedale 3 Peaks Challenge. It is an increasingly popular option to the traditional Yorkshire 3 Peaks, quieter, rougher but not quite as long.

Navigation Tips:

The summit wall is key to navigating this walk. Stick to it and you will never go far wrong in the cloud. The paths on the mountain slopes are patchy in places but both keep to a direct/compass line.

  • Lance James says:

    Looks good. I fancy
    Kettlewell, great whernside,buckden pike, yockenthwaite moor,yockenthwaite and back via the Dales way. What do you think

    • Jonathan says:

      Perfectly good but if you do that you may as well come back over Birks.
      The Wharfedale 3 is growing in popularity but does miss Yockenthwaite (never had good weather up there)

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