However you have travelled to Richmond, whether by car or public transport, there is a lot of sense in  giving yourself a break from driving and parking, instead looking at the view while someone else drives. 

Leaving the car behind and walking is fun – and excellent for your physical and mental well being. Travelling on local buses is also fun – you can see more from the higher seats, and drivers can concentrate on the landscape not on the car in front. There are no parking problems. Above all it enables you to undertake linear or point to point walks, which are by far the best and most enjoyable kind of walks in the Yorkshire Dales – along and through the glorious landscapes of the Dales, or even climbing across the high country between one dale and the next.  A car can restrict you to circular walks, which means some of the finest walks in the Dales are not available to you.

So here’s a selection of six half or full day walks in Swaledale and Wensleydale. All are fully accessible without a car using the local Dales Bus network.  By using the local buses you are not only helping the environment  by reducing global warming CO2  emissions, you are also helping to support vital services that local communities in the Dales need – a double benefit.

Most are linear walks, but Walk 1 is a circular walk starting and finishing in Richmond Market Place, so there is no need to worry about any form of transport on that walk, and you can combine it with a visit to both Richmond Castle and Easby Abbey.


How it Works

To make it easier we have done the hard work for you by suggesting the actual buses to use on the linear routes, all starting from Richmond town centre, leaving from the Market Place. Times were correct at April 2017, but please check before travelling - see, or call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33.

In most cases, if you are catching an outward and a return bus to do the walk ask the driver about Day Return or Rover tickets, but single tickets – typically costing between £2.20 and £3.00 are also available if you are only using the bus one way.

Drivers who are reluctant to leave the car behind totally, can, of course, park and get the bus to start the walk, then not feel nervous about walking back to their parked vehicle rather than worrying about bus times.  But catching a bus too can be part of the fun, and if you have plenty of time in hand it means time for a cup of tea or even a pint of excellent locally-brewed Yorkshire ale (no need to worry about drinking and driving) at the end of the walk.


A few Tips – and Requests

The text has been designed to help walkers who are reasonably experienced walkers, but the information is intended to supplement, not replace, good quality maps.  We have no hesitation in recommending either the OS Explorer 1:25000 series  - OL30 Northern and Central Dales and Explorer 304 Darlington & Richmond. 

Also very good are the new Harvey Dales Maps; Dales North covers most of the six walks, though not sadly Richmond itself. All these maps show field boundaries, so you can quickly work out exactly where the path goes even if it not visible on the ground, to avoid getting lost or missing a path.  Almost without exception, only public rights of way have been suggested, as indicated on current maps, and where this is not the case with well established permissive routes or short section of CROW Act Open Access land, this is clearly indicated in the text.

None of these walks are over difficult terrain, but it is sensible to have at least a lightweight pair of boots for comfort and protection – Dales paths can be muddy on even the driest days.   Always carry an extra sweater and rainwear because even the finest morning can turn wet in a matter of hours.  Carry at least a litre of water per person with you, and, even if you intend to buy lunch at a pub or a café, enough emergency supplies (fruit, chocolate) to keep you going if there is a problem.  Many people these days also carry a mobile phone – but remember in some isolated parts of the Dales reception can be problematic.

We’ve also included, with each walk, the phone number of an especially helpful local taxi firm - Amalgamated Taxis of Richmond - who will provide a get-you-home backup service if you have an emergency, miss a bus or something goes wrong. It rarely happens, but it will give you more security and confidence.  They will also quote for journeys if and when public transport is not available, whether for individuals, couples, families or larger groups.

Also always remember to treat our magnificent Dales countryside with the kindness it deserves. Take all litter back home with you, and especially on all farmland, please keep to marked paths.  Dogs should be kept on leads, especially when there is livestock about, and close all gates behind you unless they are clearly propped open for a purpose. Never climb drystone walls – they are fragile and you can easily injure yourself badly and do hundreds of pounds worth of damage.  When walking across meadowland, especially in late spring or early summer, farmers are especially appreciative if you walk in single file, reducing the damage to what is an important winter crop for their livestock. Do these things and you will always be sure of a warm welcome in the Dales.

Finally whilst we have taken every care to be as accurate as possible, details do change and mistakes do occur - we cannot be held responsible for any inconvenience or loss, but please let us know if there are any problems and we will update the information as soon as we can – Car Free Walks, c/o Westend Guest House, 45 Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4EX.  


The Walks

Walk 1 - Easby Abbey and Round Howe

Walk 2 - Kisdon Gorge - Keld to Gunnerside

Walk 3 - Gunnerside to Reeth

Walk 4 - Reeth to Richmond

Walk 5 - Castle Bolton to Reeth



This series of walks has been jointly sponsored by Westend Guest House, Transport for Leisure Ltd and DalesBus. The text is by Colin Speakman and is copyright – © May 2005.