Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales.

Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales.

He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales.

To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

SKIPTON, ‘the Gateway to the Dales’, is an interesting market town with great access to the area’s delights. However there is an excellent walk from the town centre which soon climbs on to the wonderful viewpoint of Skipton Moor.

It is possible to park on Shortbank Road for the start of the walk or walk the extra half mile by parking in the town centre. Shortbank Road heads south east from a small roundabout on the A6069 heading out of Skipton. At the end of Shortbank the road turns in to a rough track and starts to climb steeply through some woodland. The footpaths climbs to the right but there are paths which are used by mountain bikers that wind through the trees for 30 metres. The path exits the woods to the left and a stile at a junction of paths leads up Jenny Gill on to the open hillside.

The path continues to climb steadily up the fellside but after crossing a boundary take the faint path heading east across the access land. Take time to turn round and enjoy the views over Skipton. To the right of Skipton is the distinctive summit of Sharp Haw, with Rough Haw beside, a good walk for another day. Soon the path arrives at the trig point of Skipton Moor. There are three further cairns on the summit area, one 100 metres to the west and two more to the east, a prominent site on the A65 road! There is also a set of boulders great for a picnic.

Return from the summit along the path heading now south west till it meets a public right of way heading east. This path was dry when I walked it (I suspect it isn’t always) two or three miles with excellent views south down Airedale, until it leaves the access land and enters more farmland/sheep farming. Drop south for a few hundred metres to High Edge Farm, east towards Middleborough House and take the footpath north through Snow Hill Farm. This part of the walk sounds a little messy but is enjoyable and a good contrast to what has gone before. Any other option from the summit of Skipton Moor falls foul of the well-built stone walls that border the access land!

The footpath heads north from Snow Hill Farm and after two stiles joins the Roman straight bridleway/lane used for amongst other walks as part of the Dales High Way.

Turn left on to the track and follow it for one-and-a-half miles back to the woods above Jenny Gill. This section of the walk is highly enjoyable with good views north over Embsay Moor and on into the Yorkshire Dales. It is easy to see why Skipton is known as the ‘Gateway’.

From Jenny Gill drop through the woods and back on to Shortbank Road.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 6.5 miles (8 from central Skipton)

Height to Climb: 300m (985 feet)

Start: SE 001512. There is parking at the end of Shortbank Road or just walk from Skipton centre.

Difficulty: Medium. A steep climb to the summit and the paths to the east are intermittent on the ground.

Refreshments: Plenty in Skipton

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.