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Stunning views, packhorse trails and limestone pavements

Pennine Bridleway

What is the Pennine Bridleway?


The Pennine Bridleway is a 205 miles (330 Km) long National Trail running through the Pennine hills from Derbyshire to Cumbria. It has been especially designed for horse riders, and is also great for mountain bikers and walkers. 


The Trail has two potential starting points in Derbyshire, the main one being at Middleton Top visitor centre on the High Peak Trail near Wirksworth. The second start point, which is recommended for horse riders, is at Hartington Station on the Tissington Trail.


The Trail includes 2 large loops. The first is the Mary Towneley Loop in the South Pennines. This is 47 miles long and makes a great weekend’s walk or ride. The 2nd Loop is the 10 mile Settle Loop in the Yorkshire Dales. This makes an excellent days walk or horse ride and can be extended by using the bridleway network to take in the village of Malham too. 


Highlights of the Trail include the vibrant, clean and green Chee Dale Nature Reserve;  the Kinder plateau which provide stunning views either side of the exhilarating Roych Clough; panoramic views of the Pennines and the valleys of Calderdale, Rochdale and Lancashire; the 6 compartmented water trough at Mankinholes where packhorse ponies stopped for rest and the famous Rochdale Canal. 


New paths link with old and zig zag up down and across the Lancashire moors en-route to the village of Wycoller with its ancient packhorse bridge. The north Lancashire stretch offers a more pastoral scene and a bit of a breather before reaching the Dales. The Yorkshire Dales section features classic limestone landscapes of Malham and the Yorkshire peaks of Ingleborough and Whernside. The views just keep coming once up on Lady Anne’s Highway with views along the Mallerstang valley and a final push from the High Dolphinsty to the Cumbrian village of Ravenstonedale.  

How long does it take to complete the Pennine Bridleway end to end?

Derbyshire to the Mary Towneley Loop is approximately a 5 day horse ride/walk. The Mary Towneley Loop is usually a 3 day horse ride/walk. From the Mary Towneley Loop to Cumbria is approximately 6 days walking/riding. Cycling the route can take anything between 1 & 14+ days depending on fitness, motivation & whether or not you stop to take in the scenery.

How hard is the Pennine Bridleway?

The route runs through the Pennines so expect hills and changeable weather! The most southerly section follows the High Peak Trail, a reclaimed railway line where the surface is relatively level but after this there are more changes (and challenges) in gradient and surface. The South Pennine valleys (crossed by the Mary Towneley Loop) are particularly steep. The route follows a variety of surfaces including minor roads, aggregate tracks, grassed stone tracks, stone setts and worn causey flags. Some of these have been newly created specifically for the Pennine Bridleway but some are ancient highways such as drovers roads or packhorse trails that have been in use for centuries. The route is not a particularly fast route for horse riders due to the stoney nature of some of the tracks however there are still opportunities to canter. As the route progresses northwards through the Yorkshire Dales it becomes more remote and the settlements are fewer so Trail users should be sure to carry to supplies and be prepared for all weather conditions.  

Which direction should I walk/ride the Pennine Bridleway in?

Most people start in the south and head north as the southern section of the Pennine Bridleway offers an easier and gentler start to the trail and guidebooks are written in this direction.

Who can enjoy the Pennine Bridleway National Trail?

The National Trail has been developed in particular for cyclists and horse riders, although it is of course open to walkers too. All users share the same path, so it is important that everyone is considerate of others. Cyclists must give way to walkers and horses.

Taking your dog on Pennine Bridleway

Your dog is welcome on Pennine Bridleway. There are no awkward stiles to encounter and many stretches of the route are enclosed although in places the Trail crosses open moorland where sheep may be grazing or ground nesting birds breeding so please ensure you have your dog under control. Dog owners need to be aware of cyclists using the route who may be travelling at speed and ensure that their dog is under control should they meet horses on the Trail. Cows with calves are very protective and can be aggressive towards dogs. Try to avoid walking close to cows with calves, if you encounter any aggression release your dog, do not try to pick it up.  

What is the best time of year to walk on the Pennine Bridleway?

The best time to complete the Trail is April to October, when the weather is most favourable. However the route itself can be steep and exposed, so be prepared, especially if you are planning a journey of a day or more. 

Can I buy Pennine Bridleway merchandise?

We sell a range of Pennine Bridleway merchandise including enamel badges, sew on badges, mugs and other merchandise. 

Can I get a Pennine Way Bridleway National Trail completion certificate?

Our personalised Pennine Bridleway completion certificate is a great momento for anyone that has completed the trail.

Maps and Guidebooks for the Pennine Bridleway

Cycling the Pennine Bridleway Cycling the Pennine Bridleway loading
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Pennine Bridleway Harvey map Pennine Bridleway Harvey map loading
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Pennine Bridleway Pennine Bridleway loading
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Calderdale & South Pennines Calderdale & South Pennines loading
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Day Walks in the South Pennines Day Walks in the South Pennines loading
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Pennine Bridleway Merchandise

National Trail sew-on woven badge National Trail sew-on woven badge loading
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National Trail Mug National Trail Mug loading
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National Trail Completion Certificate National Trail Completion Certificate loading
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Personalised National Trail Sign Personalised National Trail Sign loading
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National Trail souvenir signs National Trail souvenir signs loading
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Pennine Bridleway signs Pennine Bridleway signs loading
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Trail Tealight Holder Trail Tealight Holder loading
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Pennine Bridleway enamel badge Pennine Bridleway enamel badge loading
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Map of the Pennine Bridleway

What are National Trails?

National Trails offer some of the best long-distance walking, riding and cycling experiences in England and Wales, officially supported by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. All of the National Trails are within easy reach of buses, trains and the services of nearby towns and villages. In fact nowhere in England or Wales is more than 50 miles / 80km from a National Trail. Each National Trail has dedicated staff, often working with local volunteers, to look after the physical condition of the Trail, keeping paths, gates, stiles and signs in the best condition.

Which trails are National Trails?

The National Trails are: 
  • Cleveland Way
  • Cotswold Way
  • England Coast Path
  • Glyndwr’s Way
  • Hadrian’s Wall Path
  • Norfolk Coast Path and Peddars Way
  • North Downs Way
  • Offa’s Dyke Path
  • Pembrokeshire Coast Path
  • Pennine Bridleway
  • Pennine Way
  • The Ridgeway
  • South Downs Way
  • South West Coast Path
  • Thames Path
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way 

The Coast to Coast is not currently a National Trail but will become one in the next couple of years.

Are there National Trails in Scotland?

In Scotland long-distance routes are called Scotland's Great Trails. There are 29 routes, at least 25 miles in length providing over 1,900 miles of well managed paths from the Borders to the Highlands. Each is distinctively waymarked, largely off road and has a range of visitor services and are are suitable for multi-day outings as well as day trips.


Scotland's Great Trails are:


  • Annandale Way
  • Arran Coastal Way
  • Ayrshire Coastal Path
  • Berwickshire Coastal Path
  • Borders Abbeys Way
  • Cateran Trail
  • Clyde Walkway
  • Cross Borders Drove Road
  • Dava Way
  • Fife Coastal Path
  • Formartine and Buchan Way
  • Forth & Clyde/Union Canal Towpath
  • Great Glen Canoe Trail
  • Great Glen Way
  • Great Trossachs Path
  • John Muir Way
  • Kintyre Way
  • Loch Lomond & Cowal Way
  • Moray Coast Trail
  • Mull of Galloway Trail
  • River Ayr Way
  • Rob Roy Way
  • Romans and Reivers Route
  • Southern Upland Way
  • Speyside Way
  • St Cuthbert’s Way
  • Three Lochs Way
  • West Highland Way
  • West Island Way