A Walking Guide to Pen Y Ghent

Pen Y Ghent is one of the three Yorkshire Peaks.  Of the three famous hills, it is the easiest to hike and so is a popular choice for day rambles.

A moderate six-mile circular walk will take you to the Pen Y Ghent summit and along a section of the Pennine Way to deliver magnificent views over the Yorkshire countryside.

About Pen Y Ghent and the Three Peaks Challenge

In this part of the Yorkshire Dales, the neighbouring hills of Pen Y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough are known as the Three Peaks.

Serious walkers enjoy the challenge of tackling all three of these peaks in one gruelling twelve-hour hike.  This is a classic hiking challenge that takes you to all three summits: Pen Y Ghent (694m), Whernside (736m) and Ingleborough (723m).  The challenge is to complete all three in less than 12 hours!

Of the three peaks, Pen Y Ghent offers the easiest day hike.  The following six-mile circular hike can be easily completed within four hours and is suitable for families.

Where to Start the Pen Y Ghent Walk

The walk starts from the village of Horton in Ribblesdale, a small and attractive village in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The village has its own train station on the Settle to Carlisle railway – so you can arrive in style on this iconic line.

Alternatively, the village boasts a couple of pubs and tea rooms from where you might like to start or conclude your day’s hiking.  There is a pay and display car park to the north of the village, close to the Pen Y Ghent Café.

The Pen Y Ghent Circular Walk

Begin the walk by heading out of the village to the south, passing the Golden Lion pub, the village church and a small stream.  Turn left up a minor tarmac road towards Brackenbottom Farm.  A footpath on your left, signed to Pen Y Ghent, takes you through fields, gradually climbing towards Pen Y Ghent.

The final section of the ascent is quite steep and the footpath is quite eroded in places, so take care with your footing.  After the scramble up, you arrive at the trig point where you are treated to some magnificent 360 views of the Yorkshire Dales as reward for your efforts.

How High Is Pen Y Ghent?

Pen Y Ghent is the lowest of the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.  The summit is 694 metres above sea level.

However, you aren’t starting at sea level in the Yorkshire Dales, so you’ll find that this six-mile circular Pen Y Ghent walk requires a total ascent of just 445 metres.

The Homeward Leg of the Pen Y Ghent Walk

Rather than heading back down to the village the way you climbed, we recommend that you follow the path onwards to pick up a small section of the Pennine Way.  This way, you are treated to a rewarding circular route that showcases some more of the Yorkshire Dales beautiful scenery.

Cross the wall at the summit and follow the clear path downhill signed to Horton.

The Pennine Way zig zags downhill to Hunt Pot where you reach a stile.  Before you, you have views across the village and its quarry to the neighbouring peaks which are featured in the Three Peak Challenge.  The tallest, Ingleborough, is directly west of you, while Whernside can be seen to the northwest.

After the stile, a gate leads on to a walled lane which you can follow back down to the middle of the village.

What Do You Need on the Pen Y Ghent Walk?

The weather can change quickly here.  Plus, the higher you go the colder and wilder it will be.  Make sure you pack your rucksack sensibly, with water and snacks as well as your packable waterproof gear and warm layers.

Although the route is relatively straightforward and well-marked, it is always worth investing in the appropriate Ordnance Survey Map (OS Explorer map: OL2: Yorkshire Dales) and a compass when you’re hiking in this part of the country.  You need to know you can find your way back if the cloud descends.

Of course, it almost goes without saying that you’ll need sensible footwear.  Well-fitting walking boots will help you keep your feet on the uneven ground and eroded paths you are likely to encounter on this circular hike.

About the Pen Y Ghent Walk

This is a popular and rewarding walk that can easily be accomplished within a day.  For full details, you can download the Julia Bradbury route here.

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