Lady Anne’s Way

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Lady Anne’s Way

Lady Anne’s Way is a hiking route in the north of England, between Skipton and Penrith.

The Clifford family owned many buildings along the path, such as towers and castles. This hiking route is named after Lady Anne Clifford, who was a key figure in the restoration of many of the buildings in the 17th century.

She often travelled north and south, visiting the buildings on her estate.

This 100 mile trek is a popular route that runs through scenic countryside and historic towns and villages.

There are a variety of habitats to enjoy, from open moorland to close woodland, riverside paths, sheltered valleys and windswept fells.

Highlights
  • Historic relics of the Clifford estate
  • Beautiful English countryside
  • Charming villages
  • Wildlife and natural habitats
  • Sheltered valleys and rugged fells
  • Riverside paths
Walk Map
About the route

This hike begins at Skipton Castle, where Lady Anne was born in 1590. It meanders through the rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, goes through the Upper Eden Valley and finishes in Brougham Castle, Penrith, where Lady Anne died.

Along the route, you will see many old buildings and towers once owned by the Clifford family. Many of them are now ruins, but this adds charm to the walk as you imagine what they might have looked like and what life was like for the people who lived and worked nearby.

There are two versions of the Lady Anne’s Way, one being six days in length and the other nine days. The nine day version means you can spend more time at sites of importance, and walk less distance each day.

Underfoot, the walk is a mix of earth and grass paths, some roads and concrete pavements. You will be walking along farmland tracks, bridleways or rocky paths. Some parts may be muddy.

  • Travel

Skipton or Penrith is accessible by public transport. There are train station at Skipton and Penrith, with regular services running north and south.

There are also regular buses that visit the small towns and villages along Lady Anne’s Way.

If you are coming to the UK from abroad, the nearest international airport to Skipton is in Leeds, 43 miles away.

There is also an international airport at Newcastle, 49 miles away from Penrith, and a smaller domestic airport at Carlisle, 19 miles away from Penrith.

  • Length

Lady Anne’s Way is 100 miles in length, and takes between 6-9 days to complete.

  • Grade and difficulty of the walk

This walk is graded 2-3/5. While most of the terrain is not too challenging, you do need to be fit enough to walk for several miles every day to complete the length.

There may be a few hills to climb and descend along the Lady Anne’s Way, but most hikers of average abilities will be able to manage.

If you are concerned about being fit enough for the walk, you can choose shorter and flatter stages of the route.

  • Experience

Having some hiking experience is recommended if you wish to complete this route as a multi-day hike. This is because you will need to have the stamina to walk for many hours each day, over the course of a week.

If you don’t want to complete the whole length, it is easy to walk the route in stages.

You do not need any navigational skills to hike the Lady Anne’s Way, as the route is well signposted and mapped.

  • Permits

You do not need a permit to hike Lady Anne’s Way.

  • Guided or Self-Guided

Due to the length of his walk, those who want to complete it as a multi-day hike go for self-guided. A guide is not needed for navigation, as the route is well-mapped and waymarked.

It may be possible to hire a guide for some parts of the trail, should you wish to learn more about the history of your surroundings.

If you don’t want to carry a heavy backpack from point to point, there are many companies that offer a transfer service.

best time to walk

Lady Anne’s Way is a route that can be hiked all year round, but the best time is during the warmer and drier seasons.

Spring can be chilly in the north of England, but there will also be sunshine and springtime flowers.

Summer brings the warmest temperatures, but it is also the busiest time on the trail.

Autumn is an excellent season for hiking, as the colours of the landscape mellow into browns and golds. The temperatures may still be warm, but there is more chance of rain.

Winter can be wet and cold. There may be snow and ice on the ground. As long as you are dressed for the season, winter can be a beautiful time on the trail.

Whenever you walk Lady Anne’s Way, it is a good idea to pack light layers, a waterproof and be ready for any weather.

  • Typical itinerary

There are two suggested itineraries for this trail, but you could mix and match between them to suit your own ideas or add extra rest days if you prefer.

Six day itinerary:

Day 1:
Skipton to Grassington – 15.5 miles

Day 2:
Grassington to Buckden – 12.5 miles

Day 3:
Buckden to Hawes – 18 miles

Day 4:
Hawes to Kirkby Stephen – 17.25 miles

Day 5:
Kirkby Stephen to Appleby – 16.5 miles

Day 6:
Appleby to Penrith – 19.75 miles

Penrith Castle

Nine day itinerary:

Day 1:
Skipton to Hebden – 13.75 miles

Day 2:
Hebden to Buckden – 14.25 miles

Day 3:
Buckden to Askrigg – 12.25 miles

Day 4:
Askrigg to Hawes – 5.75 miles

Day 5:
Hawes to Nateby – 15.5 miles

Day 6:
Nateby to Church Brough – 8 miles

Day 7:
Church Brough to Appleby – 10.25 miles

Day 8:
Appleby to Ousenstand Bridge – 8.25 miles

Day 9:
Ousenstand Bridge to Penrith – 11.25 miles

Accommodation

Throughout the route you will find a range of accommodation for any budget, such as luxury hotels, B&Bs, holiday cottages, camping and hostels.

In peak tourist season, booking in advance is recommended, even at campsites.

What to do

Learn about the history of Lady Anne Clifford, and her estate. Spend some time exploring building of historical significance along the route. Many will have facilities where you can get refreshments.

Watch the landscape change as you pass through the Yorkshire Dales and onto the higher ground of the fells in Cumbria.

Spot many species of birds and other wildlife. You may see birds of prey, deer, foxes, and rabbits.

Enjoy the hospitality at the shops and pubs in villages and towns along the route.

There are many other paths that connect to Lady Anne’s Way, including some National Trails. If you have time to spare, it is worth exploring some as side trips.

At a glance
Skills RequiredHiking, Walking
Difficulty 2/5 - 3/5
Starts at Skipton Castle, Skipton BD23 1AW, UK
Finishes at Brougham Castle, Brougham, Penrith CA10 2AA, UK
Length of route 160 Km
Average time to complete 6 - 9 Days
Possible to complete sub-sectionsYes
Highest point 561 metres
Permit requiredNo
Equipment neededPoles if preferred, Trekking gear, walking boots
Countries visited England, UK