The Pennine Way is surely the greatest of all of the UK’s National Trails. This notoriously difficult trail runs up the spine of Britain and is typically completed in 15…
The Pennine Way is surely the greatest of all of the UK’s National Trails. This notoriously difficult trail runs up the spine of Britain and is typically completed in 15 – 21 days walking. The route begins in Edale in the south and meanders its way north to the village of Kirk Yetholm. Along the way you’ll encounter lovely villages, stunning views, and of course the Pennine Way’s famous bogs.
This Pennine Way map guide has been designed to provide your with an introduction to the Pennine Way by providing in-depth maps, navigational resources, and more!
Let’s get started.
In Pennine Way Map Guide
- Where is the Pennine Way?
- Interactive Pennine Way map
- How long is the Pennine Way?
- Pennine Way Elevation Profile
- Which maps should I carry on the Pennine Way?
- Pennine Way GPS/GPX
- Apps and offline mapping
Where is the Pennine Way?
The Pennine Way runs through the heart of England and even reaches into Scotland at its northern end. The walk crosses through three national parks: Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, and Northumberland. The route is traditionally walked from south to north, although it is possible to walk in the opposite direction as well.
The walk is easily reached from the rest of the UK, with Edale having good rail access from both nearby Manchester as well as Sheffield. On the northern end, Kirk Yetholm is a bit harder to reach although there is access to Edinburgh to the north as well as plenty of rail connections available in Berwick-upon-Tweed, to the east of Kirk Yetholm on the coast.
Along the route, the Pennine Way has some of the most beautiful and difficult walking of any of the National Trails. You’ll cross seemingly endless bog ridden terrain as you make your way north. However, don’t let that dissuade you from a walk along the Pennine Way!
There are nearly endless highlights along the walk including beautiful villages such as Hebden Bridge, stunning scenery such as Malham Cove and High Cup Nick, in addition to enjoying the quintessential pint upon finishing at the Border Hotel!
The time it takes to walk the Pennine Way varies greatly depending on your fitness, desire for long days, weather, and countless other factors. That being said, it is typically completed in 15 – 21 days, with most walker’s opting for somewhere in the middle.
Below is a common 19-stage itinerary for the Pennine Way:
- Stage 1: Edale to Crowden
- Stage 2: Crowden to Standedge
- Stage 3: Standedge to Hebden Bridge
- Stage 4: Hebden Bridge to Ickornshaw or Cowling
- Stage 5: Ickornshaw or Cowling to Gargrave
- Stage 6: Gargrave to Malham
- Stage 7: Malham to Horton in Ribblesdale
- Stage 8: Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes
- Stage 9: Hawes to Keld
- Stage 10: Keld to the Tan Hill Inn
- Stage 11: Tan Hill Inn to Middleton in Teesdale
- Stage 12: Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton
- Stage 13: Dufton to Garrigill
- Stage 14: Garrigill to Alston
- Stage 15: Alston to Greenhead
- Stage 16: Greenhead to Once Brewed
- Stage 17: Once Brewed to Bellingham
- Stage 18: Bellingham to Byrness
- Stage 19: Byrness to Kirk Yetholm
Interactive Pennine Way Map
The interactive Pennine Way Way map below will allow you to zoom in on the various stages as well as view the traditional stops along the route.
How long is the Pennine Way?
The Pennine Way is officially listed as being 268 miles long. However, in our estimation (using GPS!) we get closer to 255 miles along the route from Edale to Kirk Yetholm. Regardless, the Pennine Way is well over 250 miles and your certain to need a sturdy pair of boots to walk the entire length!
Most walker’s will agree that measuring the exact distance of the Pennine Way has little practical value. Given the number of days you’re likely to spend walking the route, you will certainly end up covering more miles than any guidebook provides. This is due to the fact that many of the accommodation options along the walk are located slightly off the trail requiring you to add a bit of distance. That combined with the countless side trips to local pubs and interesting attractions will have you adding up the miles in no time!
Regardless, we still find it helpful for itinerary planning to have a sense of the distances each stage of the walk entails. The two maps below show the distance of individual stages on the Pennine Way in both miles and kilometers. Be sure to consult them when planning your own route, just remember that these distance don’t include any side trips.
Pennine Way Elevation Profile
As the Pennine Way meanders from Edale to Kirk Yetholm the walk has approximately 40,000 feet or 12,000 meters of elevation gain! That averages out to be just over 2,000 feet of elevation gain per stage on the 19-day itinerary we presented above.
Of course, all of that elevation isn’t perfectly spaced out across the walk, although you will find that most stages do have some climbing. Some of the most notable climbs on the Pennine Way include the climb up Knock Fell out of Dufton, the steep ascent up Great Shunner Fell just outside of Hawes, and the long day of climbing from Malham to Horton in Ribblesdale.
The high point of the Pennine Way Way sits at Cross Fell, 2,930 feet above sea-level. You’ll reach this point between Dufton and Garrigill.
Check out the Pennine Way elevation profile below to get a sense of what each stage of the walk entails in terms of elevation gain and loss.
Elevation is shown on the left side while distance is shown on the bottom. Each blue dot represents a stop along the traditional 19-stage walk, with the stop name shown at the top.
The steepness of the line between any two points reflects the steepness of the trail for that particular stage. The distance between the two points shows the length of the stage.
Which Pennine Way maps should I carry?
Given that the Pennine Way is a National Trail you’ll find the route to be relatively well marked. The familiar white acorn associated with National Trails will grace signs at many trail junctions, pointing you in the correct direction. However, the sheer length and number of trail junctions you’ll encounter on the Pennine Way make having a reliable form of navigation essential.
For this reason, we always recommend that walkers bring a few map resources when walking the Pennine Way.
When we’re out on a long distance path, our general preference is to rely on GPS maps on our smartphones, and highly recommend this method for most walkers. All you need is a GPX file for the route, which is easily accessed on the National Trails website for the Pennine Way.
As far as apps go, we like to use Gaia GPS, although any good navigation app will work just fine.
In addition to digital navigation methods, we also recommend you bring a paper map or map booklet along. There is simply no replacement for a physical map, after all you never know when you may find yourself with a dead battery rendering your GPS app useless!
There are several excellent physical maps available for the Pennine Way, outlined below:
The Pennine Way Map Booklet – Cicerone Guides
In our opinion, your best bet will be to pack this excellent resource from Cicerone Guides. Their Pennine Way map booklet contains Ordnance Survey Explorer maps for the entire route, neatly organized into a small and portable booklet.
Pennine Way Way South & North Adventure Atlas
The Pennine Way Adventure Atlas’ are a great option for those looking for a more traditional style of map. These handy guides use OS Explorer maps, a proven navigational resource. You’ll need to pick up both the south and north versions to cover the entire Pennine Way, but it is certainly much easier than assembling all of the Ordnance Survey maps yourself.
Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps
Finally, no article on walking in England would be complete without including the required Ordnance Survey maps. These detailed maps are the quintessential maps for a detailed view of the Pennine Way. However, you’ll need to carry no less than seven individual maps to cover the length of the walk.
We’d recommend picking up one of the options above instead.
For those who insist on carrying all of the OS maps, you can pick up a complete set here.
Pennine Way Maps | GPS/GPX
If you are interested in getting access to the GPS data for the Pennine Way head on over to the National Trails website. Here you’ll find free downloads for the walking route.
You’ll be able to load the GPX file into the mapping software or GPS phone app of your choice!
Apps and offline mapping
As mentioned above we highly recommend utilizing offline downloadable GPS maps on our smartphones to navigate while walking the Pennine Way. This is a great way to navigate on the trail as it allows you to see your progress for the day and also doesn’t require a cell phone signal (which you may not have) to display the map.
Our How to Navigate on the Tour du Mont Blanc post has all the information you need to get set up using an app for your map. Although written for a different hike, this step-by-step article will teach you how to quickly and easily turn your phone into a GPS device for the Pennine Way.
Have a great Pennine Way adventure!
We hope this post has given you all the information you need to get a basic overview of the Pennine Way. Let us know your questions or comments below. Happy trails!