Day one of The Dales Way

At Masons Campsite, we get visitors doing all sorts of physical activities – cycling, wild swimming, running and hiking. Because we’re situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, we’re in the heartlands of challenge country, from fell running and ultras to The Yorkshire Three Peaks. And we’re right on the route of The Dales Way.

What is The Dales Way?

The Dales Way is an 80-mile walking route that runs from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, to Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, heading upstream along the banks of the River Wharfe – the river that runs beside our campsite. Heading north through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it’s quite a commitment, generally taking six to eight days to complete.

It’s reportedly one of the easiest long-distance walking routes in the UK, well-signposted with breathtaking scenery, and importantly – and unusually for this part of Yorkshire! – not too hilly.

Imagine drystone walls, rolling fields, misty moors and many, many stiles to climb…

Starting The Dales Way – the right way

The best time to walk The Dales Way is April to October. Phone signal can be patchy enroute, so consider this when you’re looking at on- and offline OS maps. Consider purchasing a guidebook to help you navigate each day.

Obviously, there are a lot of considerations when you’re planning a week’s walking – from what to wear, what’s practical to carry to where you’ll eat and sleep. Decide whether you’re going to really challenge yourself, carrying camping gear for 80 miles, or you can make life a bit easier by organising baggage transfers between locations.

This is a popular challenge, so booking accommodation in advance is a must, especially if you’re looking at completing it during the summer holidays.

The Dales Way day one route

You’ll start The Dales Way in the old market town of Ilkley. Some walkers decide to stay the night there to get an early start on their first day. You’ll walk up through Addingham and Bolton Abbey, then Strid Wood before taking a left to Appletreewick. You can stop here, or carry on to Burnsall on day one.

Day one is a treat – if you are taking a more leisurely path, consider taking your time over the 12th century ruins of Bolton Abbey, set in the Duke of Devonshire’s estate. The ancient woodland of Strid Wood is among the most visited in the Yorkshire Dales, and you can spot all kinds of wildlife there. You can take a short detour to The Strid, a natural attraction where the river narrows suddenly, forcing the water through a channel at great pressure.

Where to stay for The Dales Way

Start your journey as you mean to go on. To complete the journey in six days, a rule of thumb is to stop at Burnsall at the end of the first day, but stopping just half an hour earlier on the route, you could stay the night at Masons.

According to Google Maps, it takes three hours and 56 minutes to walk from the centre of Ilkley to Masons Campsite – that’s 11.7 miles of your journey done!

If you’re carrying your camping gear, you’re welcome to stay in our field – or if you’re planning on travelling with style, we can ready your glamping tent for the night!

With food on-site and our proximity to The Craven Arms, you’ll also be well catered for when it comes to dining. Again, because you know your planned route and know you’ll have earned your dinner by the time you arrive, we’d recommend booking.