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Keld to Reeth - High Route

Hiking route · North Yorkshire
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  • Derelict Stone Buildings
    / Derelict Stone Buildings
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Descending towards Reeth
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Beautiful Gravel Road
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
m 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km Cambridge House Butt House Blakethwaite Smelt Mill The Black Bull Keld Lodge Two Dales Bakery The Buck
The high route to Reeth, via Melbecks Moor. 
Distance 17.7 km
5:15 h
460 m
583 m
577 m
190 m

This higher route between Keld and Reeth is a unique walk which most hikers choose not because it is more beautiful than the low route (though it does provide splendid views), but because it navigates between long-gone lead mines and infrastructure that shaped the Swaledale we see today. Lead mining peaked in this area during the 18th and 19th century, and the paths which today bustle with walkers would once have been frequented by miners. 

Along the way, you will discover rusting machinery, many derelict buildings which would once have been peat stores, smelting mills and miners’ houses. Mounds of excavated rubble and scree transform the tops of the moors into a lunar landscape making for a bizarre walking experience.

Reeth is known as the ‘Capital of Swaledale’ and is the biggest settlement in the area, yet still maintains that charming ‘small-village’ feel, centred around a village green and surrounded on all sides by rolling hills, fragmented into a patchwork of fields by drywalls.

Profile picture of Laura Paterson
Laura Paterson
Update: April 22, 2021
Highest point
577 m
Lowest point
190 m

Rest Stop

Two Dales Bakery
Keld Lodge
The Black Bull

Safety information


There are a few stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement or verge. 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.

There are several river crossings in today’s walk. There are always stepping stones available but these may be slippery.

The section across the moors can be featureless. It is important to read the instructions and check the map regularly to ensure you stay on the correct path.

This route can become very boggy; take your time to work out the best route to navigate across it.

There are a few sections on steep scree slopes; place your feet carefully. Walking poles will help a lot if you have them.


If you wish to carry a hardcopy map, we would recommend buying the OS Explorer Map OL30 - Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central Area. 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. There are no regular buses between Keld and Reeth.

2. Taxi - BD Taxis - 01768 371682


Keld (323 m)
OS Grid
NY 89285 01118
54.405412, -2.166562
54°24'19.5"N 2°09'59.6"W
30U 554098 6028949



Turn-by-turn directions

To help you follow the route with confidence  we strongly suggest that you follow the GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone app to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and problem-free day.  You will also receive a Herriot Way Guidebook to assist you.



all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
NY 89285 01118
54.405412, -2.166562
54°24'19.5"N 2°09'59.6"W
30U 554098 6028949
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Such is the way of British hiking, that you need to be prepared for all seasons and weathers; sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required, as is plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.

Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of the 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.

This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so be sure to bring enough with you.

Basic Equipment for Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Kit para bolhas
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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Photos from others

17.7 km
5:15 h
460 m
583 m
Highest point
577 m
Lowest point
190 m


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