Grassington to Cray
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Wharfe DalePhoto: Macs Adventure
Today sees you leave the charismatic town of Grassington following the second stage of the Dales Way with opportunities to stop at Kettlewell, Starbotton, and Buckden to sample the local ales and fine wines, eventually leading you to the historic White Lion Inn, in Cray.
Early doors, as you leave Grassington, the first thing that will hit you is the glory of isolation and getting away from people in the bustling market town as you start walking towards loftier heights amongst the exposed fells. The views are quintessentially English and what you'd expect of Yorkshire, with pretty farmland laid out like a patchwork quilt around you as you head up your first climb to Coniston Pie, before dropping back into Kettlewell. After Kettlewell, its gentle woodland walking skirting the River Wharfe, leading you into one of the prettiest villages in the Dales, Buckden. Pop into the fantastic Buck Inn, grab a cold drink or two and some light snacks before the final short sharp climb into Cray.
For those staying in the White Lion Inn, in Cray, we recommend holding off having an evening meal till you arrive at the White Lion. They do some of the best food in the region and it's 100% not to be missed!
Rest stopsThe Blue Bell Inn
The Fox & Hounds Inn
The Buck Inn
The White Lion Inn
There is a fair degree of ascent and descent in today's walk mainly at the start and end of your walks. We recommend taking it easy on all your walking days to make the most of the pubs and tearooms in small villages along the way.
There may be sections where you will be walking through fields containing livestock. Be vigilant and respectful of all animals.
For any river crossing - there are always normally stepping stones or an obvious way to cross - be careful when crossing as it can be very slippery.
The path over the moor as you leave Grassington can be tricky to follow at times, especially in very bad weather (especially fog). Make sure to stay on the correct trail by concentrating carefully on your GPS tracks and maps.
Take care on the roads around Grassington and over the road bridge in Kettlewell. Walk on the right side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a right-hand turn, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum chance to see you.
If you wish to carry a hardcopy map, we would recommend buying the Yorkshire Dales Outdoor Atlas by Harvey Maps. Alternatively, you may wish to print the daily maps directly from our app.
Tips and hints
Points of Interest
Please see the interactive map for notable points of interest along the walk, including recommended pubs/restaurants and tearoom stops. Simply click the icons on the map for more information as you walk.
1. Various public bus services run regularly via Grassington, Kettlewell, and Buckden. https://www.dalesbus.org/skipgras.html
2. No regular bus service that runs onward to Cray.
Bus timetables change year on year and can be seasonal. Be sure to check https://www.dalesbus.org/ for the most update to date information.
For a more user-friendly experience to find when the next bus is due visit www.traveline.info.
Local Taxi Services
Dales Cab Company: +44 (0) 7515 868 788
*** To help you follow the route with confidence we have provided a general overview below of the Grassington to Cray walking route to keep you on track. The Ales and Dales Trail largely follows England's national walking trail networks and is navigationally straightforward, however, please ensure that you follow the GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone app to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and problem-free day. The daily maps can also be printed from the web version of the app should you wish to take paper copies with you. ***
Stage 1 (Grassington to end of Bank Lane) - 0.0 to 0.7km: The Dales Way stage 2 actually starts in Burnsall and makes its way through Grassington Main Street which is where you will pick up the trail and then shortly cut off onto Chapel Street and head towards the upper end of the town, here you will start to see a change from the modern amenities of the cobbled market square to the quieter backstreets where the locals reside. Continue on Chapel street till you reach a wooden signpost that points you in the direction of Bank Lane, follow Bank Lane (Stony dirt track) till it comes to its obvious end. At this point there a selection of routes you can take over the Upper Wharfedale Fells and the Ales and Dales Trail follows strictly to the Dales Way.
Stage 2 (Bank Lane to Coniston Pie) - 0.7 to 5.0km: Barring a mast tower and some remnants of those that worked here in the past such as an old Lime Kiln you are largely walking through wide empty fields with only the livestock to keep you company for around 5 kilometres to Conistone Pie - A sprouting rock formation that is a good spot to sit and grab a snack and drink! As a rule of thumb when walking this section, is to keep to the higher ground paths where possible and ensure you pay close attention to the red line on the Macs app that follows the official Dales Way route - there are many paths that veer off in other directions (normally leading to the same place in most cases with a detour) but it might mean you end up walking down a hefty slope that of course in turns means you have walk back up it when you realise you've taken a wrong turn!
Stage 3 (Coniston Pie to Kettlewell) - 5.0 to 10.1km: With Conistone Pie now behind you, the path continues along the top of the valley for a further 2 kilometres or so before it and starts to descend towards Kettlewell via some woodland sections. With the village in sight, the walk to actually get there is notorious for some hopscotch over a multitude of fences, styles, gates and ladders! Kettlewell is the perfect spot for some lunch in one of its many pubs or cafes, keep in mind you will return back to Kettlewell on your final day so perhaps don't spend too much time here.
Stage 4 (Kettlewell to Buckden Bridge) - 10.1 to 16.8km: Leaving Kettlewell things are much gentler (and simpler, there is really only one path the entire way to Buckden) as you skirt the side of the River Wharfe with the classic Dales countryside and drystone walls anchoring much of the stunning backdrop around you. Around 3 kilometres after leaving Kettlewell there is an "in and out" circular detour to Starbotton, a friendly village pub for those seeking further refreshments! If you plan on doing the Buckden Pike memorial route later in the tour then we suggest skipping it for now as you will have the opportunity to visit it again on Day 7 - Buckden is only a further 3.5 kilometres up the path where you can pop into the Buck Inn for food and drink (which we thoroughly recommend),
Stage 5 (Buckden Bridge to Buckden Car Park - where the trail to Cray Starts) - 16.8 to 17.2km: As you come off the riverside path outside Buckden, cross the Buckden bridge walk along the small country road (be mindful of cars) into the village centre - For those overnighting in Buckden tonight, your walk ends here. Be sure to follow the remainder of this section the following morning before switching to the Cray to Hawes route on the Macs App.
If you plan on skipping a pub stop to the Buck Inn, you can carry on following the red line up on the Macs App and cut off via the small dirt road towards the line of stone houses ahead of you. From here it is a short walk to a car park where Stage 3 of the Lady Anne's Way begins as it climbs towards Cray.
Stage 6 (Buckden Car park to White Cray Inn turn off) - 17.2 to 19.0km: Head to the gate at the top end of the car park that's signposted for Buckden Pike and Cray, follow this stony path for around 2 kilometres to the turnoff at Cray. The first kilometre is very steep but the bridleway eventually levels out and the path is flat for the remainder of it. After passing through some gates, you will actually be above Cray and the cut off to the White Lion Inn is shown on the Waymarker on the Macs App.
Stage 7 (Turn off on the path to White Cray Inn) - 19.0 to 19.3km: Turn off the path as it drops down to a stream, where you can use the stepping stones to cross and the White Lion Inn is just ahead of you.
Post Walk Drinks recommendation in Cray: The White Lion Inn
*** This is the end of our Grassington to Cray route, Please use your included documentation to find your overnight accommodation ***
Sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes, and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required. The weather can change quickly in the Dales so be sure to take all equipment even if the weather looks okay. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
You walk through various towns and villages today so there should be plenty of options for food and drink stops - please however always ensure you have plenty of water and emergency food (energy bars/trail mix) with you at all times. Please also ensure you check in advance of Pubs/cafes and shops opening hours on the day you are due to walk, in Yorkshire opening hours are varied and they can be closed on certain days of the week (walking post-Covid19 lockdown restrictions means their opening hours could be even more erratic, so please check to avoid disappointment).
- 21 Waypoints
- 21 Waypoints
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