Leyburn and Wensley
Author: DogWalksYorkshire, Published: 17 Sep 2016 Rating:
North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty:
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A 6 mile circular walk from the village of Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales. At 6 miles this may seem a fairly long walk, but its climbs are gentle and the stunning views around Wensleydale are well worth making the effort for. The paths meander through a blend of cattle and arable fields offering you and your pooch some healthy exercise amidst the beauty and freedom of the Dales. The views from The Shawl, overlooking Wensleydale, are stunning. The traditional Dales market town of Leyburn has many visitor attractions, and the village of Wensley makes for a pleasant stop off if desired.

This is a varied walk, mostly along clear paths and tracks, through fields. There are lots of gentle gradients throughout. There is a short section next to the road in Wensley. Several stiles will be encountered and, whilst many have dog gates or something similar, dogs may need a hand or lift over a couple of them. There are also a couple of cattle grids on route and, whilst detours are normally available via gates alongside, again you may need to be prepared to lift dogs if these are locked. Being the Dales there will be sheep (and maybe cattle) so take care with dogs. You will need to cross the Wensleydale Railway twice so take care to look and listen carefully for trains. Allow 3 hours.

The walk starts and finishes in the Market Square in Leyburn town centre, near the Golden Lion and Black Swan hotels. There is parking available here, with a donation box. If this parking area is full, there is a pay-and-display car park nearby, signposted from Market Square. Approximate post code DL8 5BG.

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Walk Sections

Start to Farm Track

Start point: 54.3097 lat, -1.8295 long
End point: 54.3134 lat, -1.8679 long

From the car park head across High Street and along Commercial Square towards the Dalesman’s Club straight ahead. Keeping the club to the left, head along Shawl Terrace following a sign on the side of a house pointing the way to the Shawl. After passing a line of stone cottages, follow another sign for the Shawl and Playing Fields to the left then right through a metal kissing gate. Keep ahead on the stone path through a wooden gate on to the Shawl, and immediately take in the view of Wensleydale to the left.

After passing the Leyburn Shawl information board, continue ahead along a wide green path passing a children’s play area to the right. Pass through a waymarked metal gate and keep ahead along the edge of the ridge with a wire and post fence to the left and a dry-stone wall to the right. Continue ahead through obvious gaps in the wall towards the Leyburn Shawl Plantation. Keep a watchful eye out for sheep – especially in the springtime lambing season.

The path keeps basically ahead along the edge of fields, which narrow to a gap in the wall next to a wooden gate. Taking the gap or gate, continue ahead along the wide path aiming for another gate by a pretty stone house to the right.

Continue ahead, along the elevated path, which heads slightly uphill. There are several benches in this area on which to sit and enjoy the views. At a fork in the path next to a substantial dry-stone wall, head left downhill alongside another wall towards a waymarked metal gate with a makeshift stile – which some dogs will need a hand getting over. Enter the field and follow the path continuing downhill, diagonally across it towards the wall and tree-line to the left. Look for a waymarked metal gate in the corner of field, leading to a wide farm track.

Farm Track to Railway Crossing

Start point: 54.3134 lat, -1.8679 long
End point: 54.311 lat, -1.8813 long

With a dry-stone wall to the left and arable fields to the right, continue along the farm track towards some farm buildings. After passing a cattle shed to the left, and with an unfinished stone barn with a corrugated roof ahead, turn left following a waymarker. As the track bears left, continue straight ahead keeping a dry-stone wall to the right. Head downhill, passing a gap in the wall on to an enclosed path near waterfalls. Continue past a ruined mill as the path loops round to a quiet road.

Cross the road and follow a green and white public footpath sign through a gate and across a short field towards a wooden gate and stile ahead. Cross the stile then continue with care over the Wensleydale Railway (a heritage railway line) and another stile on the other side of the track.

Railway Crossing to Wensley Village

Start point: 54.311 lat, -1.8813 long
End point: 54.3026 lat, -1.8609 long

Continue ahead along a clear grassy path crossing a field towards a waymarked metal gate leading to a road. Cross the road and turn left along it, looking for a public footpath sign. Turn right at the wooden sign, and head through a gap in the dry-stone wall along a clear path through the trees.

Very soon head left along a wide clear track following a green and white public footpath sign towards a cattle grid – which has a convenient diversion around it through the field. Keep following the track round the edge of the tree line but at the next cattle grid take an immediate left following the faded direction indicator arrow. Do not cross the cattle grid at this point! Head around the dry-stone wall looking for a yellow waymarker and little wooden gate at the edge of a field.

Pass through the gate and head downhill alongside a wire and post fence towards another gate by a green and white public footpath sign, pointing diagonally across the next field. Enter this field and aim for the big oak tree, passing it to the right before the path eventually crosses a gallop before passing through a wide metal gate on to a tarmac track. Turn left along the track and keep going until it reaches a cattle grid, where there is a gate on the left near a dog waste bin. After passing through the gate, the track, which is actually the access road to the nearby Bolton Hall enters the village of Wensley.

Wensley Village to End

Start point: 54.3026 lat, -1.8609 long
End point: 54.3099 lat, -1.8295 long

Immediately bear left with the village green and church to the right, and head uphill along a pavement next to the road. This is the busy A684 so make sure your dog is on the lead. After passing the Three Horse Shoes Inn on the other side of the road, continue to head out of the village. Just where the road starts to bear left, cross it and head for the grass verge on the other side which drops down to a minor road where there is a public footpath sign by a metal gate. Pass through the gate into the field and follow the line of telegraph poles – some of which carry yellow waymarkers.

Pass through a waymarked metal gate at the far end of the field, to a smaller wooden gate – with a big gap for dogs (!) beyond. Enter the next field and keep to the wire and post fence near the hedge to its right hand side. After passing to the right of a large tree, bear diagonally left across the field, and head uphill towards a waymarked kissing gate. After passing through, keep ahead on the obvious path and pass through a waymarked gap in the dry-stone wall heading for the Old Glebe Nature Reserve. Follow the still obvious path, across a wooden footbridge over a beck into a field and turn left – keeping the dry-stone wall to the left heading towards a yellow waymarker ahead.

By the waymarker, pass through a narrow gap between two stones and carry on across the field towards a stile ahead. People will have to climb over the waymarked stile but Pooch will probably dive straight under it. Head left across this narrow field heading towards a tree ahead. After passing an old stile by a tumble-down dry-stone wall, head through a gap in the hedge and make for a new stile next to a metal gate ahead – while keeping the dry-stone wall to the left.

Head across the next field to another waymarked stile and cross it – again, many dogs will be able to go straight under the fence. Continue ahead on a green path past a cattle farm – all livestock is fenced in, towards a gap in the dry-stone wall next to a hedge. Keep walking along the left hand edge of the next field towards a waymarked stile (with a dog-gate), next to a metal gate. Cross the stile and keep to the grassy path while heading for a yellow waymarker – by a gap between two pieces of stone. High up on the left, is the Leyburn Shawl where the walk began. Continue across this field towards a waymarker on the fence in the distance, following a wire and post fence to the left – while ignoring the track leading away to the left. Climb another stile, with a dog-gate, then head through a gated gap in the next wall which leads into a field near the railway line. Pass through a gate then climb a concrete flight of steps over the fence to cross the track before using a similar staircase to cross back over the fence on the other side. The steps were easy – even for a small dog.

Cross the next field, heading diagonally uphill towards a gate and the road – near to some houses to the right. Pass through the gate and turn right on to a path alongside (but separated from) the road. Follow it as it bears uphill and to the left, back into the centre of Leyburn.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author DogWalksYorkshire and may not be reproduced without permission.

5 responses to "Leyburn and Wensley"

Fantastic walk! However, the stile before the railway line is broken and requires us to lift our 47kg dog over the fence! Also the cattle grid doesn't have an avoidance route so another lift & carry. Would still do the walk again though.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Glad you enjoyed the walk and thank you for the info - we have updated the access paragraph in the walk overview.

By InaMadhouse on 19 Aug 2017

Done this route on with 2 large dogs and is not advisable for some of the access you have so I wouldn't class this as dog friendly. Possibly for small dogs only!

ADMIN RESPONSE: Sorry to hear you struggled with the route with your 2 large dogs. This is the reason we do not tag any of our walks as Dog Friendly, as it really depends on the number, size and ability of the dogs you have with you. Remember to read the full introduction paragraphs of the walk where we explain what to expect - this walk's introduction does mention that dogs could need lifting in several places - so yes, only ideal for lighter dogs.

By Mattylloyd on 12 Feb 2018

Brilliant walk great views our dog loved it. Directions spot on and there is a great pub the Three Horseshoes about a mile from the end which is lovely and dog friendly well worth a visit.
Just want to thank admin we love this site Tam steph and Foxy

By Tamnicol on 21 Mar 2018

Fantastic walk. We had 3 different sized dogs and all managed perfectly. The route was clear and easy to follow.

By Samantha50 on 26 Mar 2018

Lovely walk with plenty of interesting sights along the route. No severe gradients, just right for my 6 yr old. Only thing is mention is the well hidden brook which runs thru the field before the 1st railway crossing. U can see it when u get there, but our kids running ahead didn't, resulting in wet feet for rest of walk.

By StanD73 on 03 Jun 2018

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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5 images to "Leyburn and Wensley"

Image by: Richard Wishart
Uploaded: 27 May 2018
track back up the hill
Image by: Richard Wishart
Uploaded: 27 May 2018
View from the Shawl
Image by: Richard Wishart
Uploaded: 27 May 2018
the path down from the Shawl
Image by: Richard Wishart
Uploaded: 27 May 2018
Looking back up the hill to the Shawl
Image by: Richard Wishart
Uploaded: 27 May 2018