The Pennine Way is Britain’s oldest and most iconic National Trail, spanning 257 miles along the rugged backbone of England to the Scottish Borders. The Central section runs for 103 miles (166 km) from Horton-in-Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, through the North Pennines, ending in the small village of Greenhead nestling in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country.
Your journey will take you along old Roman roads, packhorse tracks, and wild moorland leading you deep into the hills. This moderately challenging section offers a variety of landscapes which truly encapsulate the Pennine Way.
This section of the Pennine Way is packed with breathtaking natural wonders, including several highlights of the entire Pennine Way trail.
You will stumble across a number of waterfalls such as Cauldron Snout, Hardraw Force (England’s highest single-drop waterfall), and High Force, to name just a few.
One of the most spectacular sights along the entire Pennine Way is High Cup Nick, an extraordinary U-shaped valley that certainly makes for a unique view. Located in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you will follow the Pennine Way along the northern edge of the heavenly valley.
If you are lucky enough to experience the views of this geological wonder you are definitely not going to forget it in a hurry!
Even though the Pennine Way is a popular trail, you can expect to have the hills almost to yourself. You can look forward to the tranquillity of hiking through wild moorlands, rolling hills, and serene open valleys. There is nothing better than getting out into the wilderness and taking a break from day-to-day life.
The Pennine Way has built a reputation of being a bit of a long slog in the rain, but as you hike across the open and wild moors without a soul in sight, you realise how extraordinary and tranquil this is. The vast panoramas along this trail can offer you the space and solitude that we could all benefit from in our hectic and busy lives.
The Way officially opened in 1965, but the idea of the route came around in the 1930s as it was hoped the Pennine Way could become a spiritually uplifting getaway during the tough inter-war years.
As the Pennine Way creator Tom Stephenson wrote in 1937: “we shall open their minds to the beauty, the peace and the soul-satisfying gifts of high and lonely places.”
Throughout the Pennine Way, you will come across some of England’s idyllic and picturesque villages and small market towns, where you can look forward to kicking off your walking boots and enjoying a hearty meal after a long day of walking.
You will have the opportunity to enjoy a drink at the Tan Hill Inn, Britain’s highest inn sitting at 528 metres high (1,732 feet). Dating back to the 17th century it was once used as a meeting place for four packhorse trails.
Between Dufton and Garrigill, you will reach the highest point of the entire Pennine Way as you climb over Cross Fell, the highest mountain in the Pennine Hills. Sitting at 893 metres (2,930 feet), a cross-shaped dry stone shelter marks the summit.
Unfortunately, many people on Cross Fell do not get to see the beautiful views due to the fact that the hills are covered in cloud for two-thirds of the year. If you are lucky enough to be there on a clear day however, you will enjoy fantastic views all the way across to the Lake District.
Located close to Cross Fell, you will come to Greg’s Hut, England’s highest bothy which has a beautiful backdrop of the North Pennines. This usually makes for a good lunch spot or shelter in bad weather conditions.
As you start to head north into Hadrian’s Wall Country, you will begin to come across a number of Roman sights such as the grassy ramparts of Whitley Castle at Epiacum Roman Fort. This is the highest stone-built Roman fort in Britain at 330 metres (1,082 feet) above sea level. The Roman Army Museum is also situated in Greenhead at the end of your walk.
The Pennine Way will bring a different experience to each individual that decides to undertake this iconic trail. The Way offers a diverse range of natural wonders and beautiful landscapes that has something for everyone.
Not only will you enjoy your time along the Pennine Way – Central, but the sense of achievement in completing this challenging and spectacular walk will be the most amazing feeling of all!
The Pennine Way is renowned for being one of the toughest National Trails, but who doesn’t love a challenge?
P.S. Absolute Escapes offer award-winning self-guided walking holidays in the UK & Ireland. We offer three packages on the Pennine Way – the South, Central, and North sections – including carefully-selected accommodation, bag transfers, guidebook/map, and everything you need to enjoy an unforgettable walking holiday on this legendary long-distance trail.