Kisdon Fell Circular

  • The best of the Dales in a single walk
  • Upper Swaledale waterfall
  • Muker, Thwaite & Keld all visited

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 3 of the 4 corners 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), 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. I prefer the great views from the higher route 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.

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

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Kisdon Hill map


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OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL30 Yorkshire Dales North & Central. Buy Map
Start Point: SD 894982. I believe Thwaite is the best start point for this walk, mainly to complete the climb early but the choice is not all that important.
Height to Climb: 288ms (945 feet)
Terrain: Varied as befits a classic route. Trackless to and from the summit of Kisdon Fell, bridleways predominate elsewhere.
Eating & Drinking: Each of the 3 lovely villages has something to offer. In good weather the Keld Tea Garden is a wonderful spot, otherwise wait till the Farmer's Arms or Tea Shop in Muker.
Similar Walks Nearby: Mining on Great Pinseat
Arkengarthdale & Reeth Low Moor
Industrial history up Gunnerside Gill
Places to Stay: Kearton Country Hotel, Thwaite


Rowleth End GH, nr ReethThwaitedale Cottages