Embsay Moor Circular

  • Wild moorland close to Skipton
  • Open Access and trackless land
  • Rylstone Cross and Cracoe War Memorial

The Embsay Moor Circular is a rough old tramp whichever way you look at it. Most of the moor is on a high plateau with thick heather compounded by the designation in 2005 that the land is Open Access. Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of Open Access land (despite the fact that it is only Open Access if you do not have a dog!) but the consequences of making such land as Embsay Moor open is that the area is pretty much trackless. Wrong, I found plenty of tracks but beware, with the exception of the path overlooking Rylstone and Cracoe, and the return from Upper Bardon Reservoir they are follies and will lead you nowhere of any use. Leave the tracks, which you have to, and the up and downs of thick heather creates a fairly exhausting walk, particularly in the wet.

Fortunately I walked the circuit in the dry and enjoyed it. Embsay Crag, Rylstone Cross and the Cracoe War Memorial all offer excellent viewing points with great gritstone boulders offering comfy seats and there is an O/S pillar at Crag Top whilst Upper Bardon Reservoir freshens the view to the east.

Recommend: To the north east of the Cracoe War Memorial is Thorpe Fell, a Marilyn for us baggers but a horrible boggy crossing lies between. Best leave Thorpe Fell and tackle it from the north.

Download GPX file

Embsay Crag map

All maps are copyright of Where2Walk © 2020

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL2 Yorkshire Dales South & West Buy Map
Start Point: SE 012543. Just after a sharp right turn between Embsay & Eastby is a bridleway, signposted to Embsay Crag. Parking is possible at the foot of this bridleway but better to park 200 yards back towards Embsay or in the village of Eastby.
Height to Climb: 559 ms (1,833 feet)
Terrain: Rough. From Embsay Crag to Crag Top and from the Memorial to Upper Bardon Reservoir the crossing is trackless and very hard work. Aside from this reasonable paths exist, but rather squelchy!
Eating & Drinking: The Cavendish Arms and the Elm Tree Inn are pleasant, quiet pubs but the town of Skipton is only 2 miles distant with all its facilities. Stick to the Cavendish!
Similar Walks Nearby: Sharp How near Flasby from Skipton
Addingham to Bolton Abbey
Cracoe & Rylstone Cross
Places to Stay:


Skipton Park Guest ‘OtelTempest Arms, nr Skipton