Blea Moor and Denthead from Ribblehead

A Yorkshire Dales route that includes a traverse of Blea Moor from Ribblehead. The return route follows a section of the Dales Way across Gayle Moor. The walk includes some unavoidable road walking.

Technical sheet
No. 293322
A Ingleton (North Yorkshire) walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 06/07/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h40[?]
Distance Distance : 8.28mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 984ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 981ft
Highest point Highest point : 1631ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 958ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Yorkshire Dales
Location Location : Ingleton (North Yorkshire)
Starting point Starting point : N 54.208731° / W 2.361426°
Download : -


(D/A) The start is Ribblehead (grid ref. SD766792) where there are many opportunities for parking. Usually there is also a van serving refreshments. After parking take the often busy path running beneath the eastern side of Ribblehead Viaduct. Continue alongside the railway climbing gently passing Blea Moor signal box on your left. Reaching a junction (grid ref. SD760812) where the path to Whernside and Dent turns left across a railway bridge, keep straight ahead on a clear track.

(1) Down to your left the railway enters Blea Moor Tunnel and the onward route follows the course of this tunnel across the moor passing the tunnel ventilation shafts that were so vital in the days of steam locomotives. The track soon starts to descend with views of Upper Dentdale and Great Knoutberry Hill opening up ahead of you.

(2) Just before you reach the northern portal of Blea Moor Tunnel, bear left where the track divides and drop down to Dent Head Farm. Turn right along their access road to a lane (grid ref. SD777843). Turn right. You are now on the Dales Way and you follow this road, climbing steadily.

(3) Staying with the Dales Way, bear right onto a bridleway (grid ref. SD786836) that leads across Stoops Moss and onto Gayle Moor. The going is almost level before you start to descend into upper Ribbledale. Just before reaching a cross wall, follow the Dales Way as it turns sharp right (grid ref. SD786817). The Dales Way undulates across the hillside with High Gayle Farm below on your left. The path shadows the intake wall and where this turns left, the path follows suit dropping down to pass Winshaw and the B6255.

(4) Turn right along the road. You can avoid walking on tarmac as the road is unfenced on its northern side and you can cross the grassy slopes and under Runscar Scar using sheep trods and your own sense of direction back to the start(D/A). However do be careful on this section as there are old mine workings and sink holes.

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 961ft
1 : mi 2.11 - alt. 1227ft - Tunnel entrance
2 : mi 3.44 - alt. 1257ft - To the left
3 : mi 4.7 - alt. 1362ft - Bear right
4 : mi 7.01 - alt. 1050ft - Turn right
D/A : mi 8.28 - alt. 958ft

Useful Information

This walk crosses some bleak landscapes, which for part of the way is shared by the Settle and Carlisle Railway. The route is generally easy to follow with a section of the Dales Way and Ribble Way joined for part of the route. The only disadvantage is some roadside walking on the final section. However there is open ground on this section so you can avoid walking on the tarmac.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4/5
Number of opinions : 2
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 4/5
Walk interest : 4/5

on Mon 20 Sep 2021 09:14:08 CEST

Global average : 3.67 / 5

Date of walk : 18/09/21
Description quality : Average
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

A lovely walk overall although directions at the start could have been better. The description told us that where the path crosses the railway, take the path straight ahead. Whereas in fact the correct path is a good way back from the bridge over the railway and goes off clearly to the right. Another point says to take a left fork before reaching the end of the tunnel whereas the path only goes one way now past the tunnel exit towards the farm. Other than that we really enjoyed this walk, not at all busy, most people were walking up Whernside itself. There is a lot of roadside walking but that was ok as there were plenty of places to jump into to avoid the traffic

on Mon 01 Apr 2019 17:29:13 CEST

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 19/03/19
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

The route up to Blea Moor (following the course of the subterranean railway tunnel) is significantly more than a 'gentle climb'. The rough going along a brick-strewn track made for arduous walking in some places. But: taken as a whole; a very enjoyable circuit, despite the unavoidable road-walk back to the start-point.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.