Where is this walk?

Kisdon Fell from Thwaite

November 23, 2019

The walk starts at Thwaite, a village in Upper Swaledale. From here it climbs steeply up Kisdon Fell before dropping down to Keld. The low level return from Keld follows the embryonic River Swale.

Kisdon Fell is unusual (and the better for it) in the northern Dales due to it’s splendid isolation, steep sides and, in addition, lack of any official tracks to the summit. The deep clefts of Angram, Straw Beck and the upper reaches of the River Swale itself contrive to leave a square block of deep limestone, gorged out by the glacier’s retreat, on which Kisdon sits. At three of the fourcorners of the fell are the quintessential Dales villages of Thwaite, Keld and Muker, all attractive with qualities that make them stand out. My favourite is Keld even though it is the only one that does not have a pub!

I really enjoyed this circular, I had waited a long time to complete it and on a hot summer’s day discovered it encompassed all that is good on a Dales walk. Having climbed the steep slopes from Thwaite quickly there is a rough, trackless 10 minutes to the summit (a Marilyn at 1635 feet). This is followed by a steep descent and then a long stroll down the upper Swale with its small but picturesque waterfalls. Leaving Keld there are 2 options, the first takes to the west side of the river, the second follows a higher route on the bridleway to the east. A final tramp along part of the finely named Old Corpse Road (where they took bodies over to consecrated land on the west side of the fell) to Thwaite completes a great day out.


The walk is enhanced in May and June when the hay meadows just to the north of Muker are at their best.

Kisdon Fell from Thwaite is one of the best 20 walks in the Yorkshire Dales.

Navigation Tips on the Kisdon Fell walk

On leaving Keld and before reaching the woods turn left and drop steeply to the footbridge over the Swale. The walking on the north eastern side of the valley is of more interest and more enjoyable.

  • chris says:

    Great walk. Easy to navigate with OL30 OS map. Took a short cut and came back on the West bank of the river Swale to make sure we made it to the Farmer’s Arms in Muker (pronounced “Mew-ker” not “Mucker” as we found out!) in time for lunch which was very reasonable and the perfect place to stop when most of the walk was done. Thanks for posting it.

  • Leon says:

    Really nice circular walk. We did this today in a mixture of sunshine and cloudy weather with some strong winds. This made it a bit chilly now and then but great walk with nice mixture of paths and views. Especially liked the bit unto the top of Kisdon Fell. As you said no marked paths but easy to find, just keep an eye on the little stone pyramid on the top.

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