Where is this walk?

Birks Fell, Upper Wharfedale

December 24, 2019

A small change in height in 2012 led to Birks Fell becoming both a ‘Marilyn‘ mountain and a member of the ‘Dales 30‘. The climb was rarely done prior to this, now it is certainly more popular (relatively).

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 tranquility of the area. Partly due to the faint path I couldn’t help thinking how many people arrived at the trig point and never made it to the summit. Compare it with the more obvious bridleway between Starbotton and Arncliffe that passes the trig.

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. It is excellent walking country.

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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