Whernside Tarns and Whernside from Dent to Ribblehead

Walk 11 - By car/train or train: Two options: Either Dent Station or, alternatively, Dent village to Whernside (736m) via Whernside Tarns- 9 miles - 4 hours - In my view this is one of the best ascents of Whernside and unlikely to see too many people until you reach the top! The highlights are the walk along Dentdale and the Tarns which are surprisingly little-visited. The first option involves walking from Dent Station whilst the second [my preferred!] involves taking the Saturdays S1 Western Dales Bus from the Dent Station to Dent. Both walks could equally be undertaken in the other direction with Dent village being an attractive destination on a Saturday when the bus is running Back to Ribblehead

Whernside Tarns  

Both options involve alighting at Dent Station. Option 1: Follow the Coal Road steeply down hill from the station to Cowgill. Turn left at bottom and immediately over the bridge at Lea Yeat turn right to follow the path alongside river bank for 1/2 mile or so. This route eventually joins the back road to Dent for about 1/4mile passing Ewedales Farm some distance after which which bear left through a gate [footpath sign] and strike slightly uphill just below the farmhouse..

The path is well defined crossing through a recently felled and replanted plantation. There is a slight dog leg passing just below a farmhouse through a small field and across another plantation. Emerge through a stile at a field and cross the farm access track and two more fields. Eventually turn left along the track to Hackergill Farm crossing a stile opposite the house itself. Cross the paddock to another stile and bear right following with the wall on the right. Pass to the rear of Clint farmhouse and across a small footbridge. After a couple of fields bear left upwards along the access road to Laithbank the path passing to the back of the house by means of a foot path diversion. Pass through a gate and a stile and then turn sharply left uphill - this can b difficult to spot and confused with a lower path. A stile will be seen higher up the pasture followed by another stile [the going is fairly rough].
After crossing the stile turn right and circumnavigate the steep hillside bearing left. The path will become a little more obvious with the odd waymarker. Continue uphill eventually meeting a stile and on to the Craven Way. Turn left and continue up the recently restored droving road. Off-road vehicles are now thankfully banned!

The Craven Way Cairn above Dentdale
Cairn overlooking Howgills Whernside Tarns and Howgills

Option 2: Alight the bus at Dent Village. Walk back through the village [back towards the station] and follow the road down to Church Bridge and the River Dee. Turn right along the footpath immediately before the bridge and follow the river bank upstream eventually to meet a a small tributary stream. After a while cross over to the other side of the stream by means of a farm access bridge and continue on the left-hand bank. Maintain this course across the pasture eventually meeting a walled track leading to Double Croft. Pass through the two stiles and across a further field. Turn right at Deepdale Beck to follow the path uphill to Mill Bridge. Turn left along the minor road [towards Cowgill]. After a while turn right along the minor road passing a small chapel and after 200m turn left on to the Craven Way directly behind Whernside Manor, a droving road to Ribblesdale. This now climbs steeply uphill.

Both routes converge. Follow Craven Way track uphill for nearly 2 miles eventually with walls on both sides. At the end of the wall turn sharp right and follow grassy path uphill to the Tarns [about 1 mile]. This is an excellent place for lunch and unlikely to be disturbed with good views over the Howgills. Continue on roughly the same line towards the ridge of Whernside eventually meeting the main Wherside path and onwards to the summit.

Greensett Tarn as seen from the summit of Whernside Ribblehead viaduct

From the summit trig point continue along ridge path for approx mile eventually turning left down steep slope with steps formed in the hillside, crossing two stiles to reach the gate at Bruntscar.

Passing through the gate turn left through a small gate and along a path passing in front of Broadrake. Proceed through several meadows to reach Ivescar Farm. At the farm bear right and and turn quickly left over a stile passing diagonally across the first field over Lockiddy Hill and across two further stiles. After a short downhill cross a stile in the corner of the field and proceed diagonally across rough pasture through another stile and eventually reaching a farm access road . Turn left after 300m and then turn right to cross the bridge over Winterscales Beck. Passing Gunnerfleet Farm follow the un-metalled vehicle track for mile under the viaduct and returning to Ribblehead. Turn left at the main road and back to the station.

Note: an alternative return missing out the fields would be to carry straight on at Ivescar following the farm access road towards Winterscales Farm. However before reaching the farm turn right to reach Gunnerfleet and resume directions above for the return to Ribblehead.

The Western Dales Bus runs on Saturday throughout the year. The bus departs Dent Station at 0935 and takes 15 minutes for the journey to Dent. Alternatively if the walk is undertaken from Ribblehead the bus departs Dent village at 1705 with a later service during the Summer

Important note:- Whilst the author has taken every care in assembling the information on this site, no responsibility can be accepted for any error or omission herein. If in any doubt walkers should always consult the relevant OS map. All timings are approximate and for a person of average fitness and ability.

©John Carey 2010

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This page was last updated on 13-May-2020