- The National Trails
- Cleveland Way
- Cotswold Way
- England Coast Path
- Glyndŵr's Way
- Hadrian's Wall Path
- North Downs Way
- Offa's Dyke Path
- Peddars Way / Norfolk Coast Path
- Pembrokeshire Coast Path
- Pennine Bridleway
- Pennine Way
- South Downs Way
- South West Coast Path
- Thames Path
- The Ridgeway
- Yorkshire Wolds Way
Trail Information and FAQs
We have tried to provide answers to the most common questions about the Trail here. If you can't find the information you are looking for please contact us directly and we'll do our best to help.
About the Trail
The Pennine Way National Trail is a 268 mile (429 Km) walking route from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. It crosses some of the finest upland landscapes in England, from the Peak District, through the Yorkshire Dales, across the North Pennines and over Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland to the Cheviots.
It was the very first National Trail, opened on 24th April 1965, and remains one of the most famous.
You can spend as little or as long as you like walking on the Pennine Way National Trail.
Some people like to walk the full length between Edale and Kirk Yetholm. Others like to spend a week, a few days or even a day at a time taking in spectacular lengths of the route. Most full length walkers allow between 16 to 19 days to walk the Way.
The full length of the Pennine Way is 268 miles, but chances are, that if you walk from one end to the other you will walk nearer to 253 miles. The longer length includes both sides of the Bowes Loop, both route options into Kirk Yetholm, the alternative route at High Cup Nick and the de-tour to the summit of The Cheviot.
The Pennine Way record is held Mike Hartley, who ran the route in 2 days 17 hours 20 minutes and 15 seconds, finishing on the 23rd July 1989.
Mike did 2 years of research on the Way and peaked his training at 170 miles per week. He's still running now in his mid 50s (if not quite as fast or as far). He ran without stopping for sleep. In fact, he stopped only twice for 18 minutes each time, one time for fish chips in Alston! The Way took its toll on his feet - he ran the last 40 miles with a borrowed size 10 shoe on his (ordinarily) size 8 right foot.
The Way follows the Pennines – it is hilly and in places remote. Some sections are harder than others. Know your limitations - the first couple of days on the Pennine Way are quite hard and if you are unprepared may be a bit much - do a few weekends hill walking in preparation!
If you aren’t sure perhaps try a circular walk on the Trail, or walk some of the gentler sections in the Yorkshire Dales or North Pennine valleys.
The terrain on the Pennine Way is varied; in some places such as Malham Cove and High Force the paths are smooth and firm, but in others the path may be narrow and uneven or wet and boggy. The length of trail which is still persistently wet is much reduced from what some walkers experienced in the past, but you should be prepared to spend time on at least a few days traversing wet peat bogs. If the weather has been good then you may well get away with dry socks, but it wouldn’t be the Pennine Way if wet socks were no longer a hazard
The Pennine Way is managed by the 13 Highway Authorities through which it passes. The management of the trail is coordinated by the Pennine National Trails Partnership, which employs a Partnership Manager. The Partnership Manager is employed and hosted by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
Exploring the Trail
You can reach both ends of the Pennine Way, and many places in between, by public transport.
Edale is around 45 minutes from both Sheffield and Manchester by train. Kirk Yetholm has a bus service to Kelso (30 minutes), where a service runs to Jedburgh where a connection can be made with Newcastle (90 minutes) and Edinburgh (75 minutes).
See the Public Transport page for more information.
There are a number of campsites along the Trail (see the interactive map).
Wild camping is not legal in England although there is a tradition of backpackers sleeping in the hills and there are a few suitable sites along the Pennine Way. If you do plan to wild camp you must ensure you take all your waste away with you.
Fire is a serious risk in the uplands - be very careful during dry periods to avoid starting an accidental fire on moorland.
Take the opportunity to go to the toilet where they are provided - if you need to go to the toilet in the wild go at least 50m from any water course, excavate a small hole with a walking pole etc. and fill in the hole once you are finished.
The best weather on the Pennine Way is usually from mid May to September, however it can be walked all year round.
Check the weather forecast daily - the Pennines receive around 2.5 metres of precipitation a year and can be windswept. You need to be prepared for hot sun and heavy rain. With wind-chill the temperatures on the summits can be zero even in summer.
It's best to walk south to north - you get the wind at your back and the official guide book is written in that direction!
Keep the weight of your rucsac to a minimum - or alternatively take advantage of one of the baggage carrying services that operate on the Way. As a minimum you will need to carry a map and compass and know how to use them. Be properly equipped, take waterproofs and spare warm clothing. Wear robust walking boots. Take an emergency pack including whistle, torch, first aid kit, survival bag and spare rations. Don't wear denim jeans - they don't dry if they get wet. Plan your route properly - be aware of escape routes in the event of an accident. Make sure somebody knows your plans.
You should carry sufficient water with you for each day's requirements - it is strongly advised that if you take water from streams then you should use purification equipment.
Mobile phone reception is patchy at best, don’t rely on your phone to help you navigate.
The entire Pennine Way follows a series of defined Rights of Way along which you have a legal right of access.
An acorn is the symbol of the National Trails and it will be found at regular intervals along the Trail.
When using the Pennine Way you will see the following symbols on the Trail or on connecting paths, which can be used by vehicles, horse riders, cyclists or walkers as indicated.
An acorn, the symbol of Britain's National Trails, is used to guide your journey by marking the route in a variety of ways. It is used in conjunction with coloured arrows or the words 'footpath', 'bridleway' or 'byway' to indicate who can use a particular right of way.
The yellow arrow indicates a path for use by walkers The word 'footpath' and/or a yellow arrow indicates a path for use by walkers only and where, without the landowner's permission, it is illegal to cycle, ride a horse or drive a vehicle.
The blue arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders and cyclists The word 'bridleway' and/or a blue arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders and cyclists but where, without the landowner's permission, it is illegal to drive any vehicle.
The plum arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders, cyclists and carriage drivers. The term 'restricted byway' and/or a plum arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders, cyclists and carriage drivers but where, without the landowner's permission, it is illegal to drive any motorised vehicle.
The red arrow indicates a right of way which can be legally used by walkers, horseriders, cyclists, carriage drivers and motorists. The word 'byway' and/or a red arrow indicates a right of way which can be legally used by walkers, horseriders, cyclists, carriage drivers and motorists.
To report a problem on the trail go to the Report a Problem page. From here you will need to identify where the problem is on the map and add some details. If you want to be informed about progress to resolve the problem please add your email address.
Trail staff aim to resolve problems as quickly as they can, but some things do take a long time. Please be patient if you do not see an immediate resolution.
Who can enjoy the Trail
The Pennine Way is a route for walkers. 30% of the Trail is along public bridleways, but these are fragmented and often steep with rough loose surfaces.
Cyclists and equestrians looking for a trail in the Pennine are advised to try the Pennine Bridleway National Trail - purpose built and a real challenge.
Your dog is welcome on the Pennine Way. Much of the Trail is across land where sheep or cattle may be grazing. Please respect farmers and their livestock and keep your dog on a lead or under close control.
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.
Due to the nature of the terrain and seasonal changes in ground conditions it is difficult to advise users in general re suitability of sections of the Trail.
You do not need consent to use the Pennine Way itself for a walking or running event as it is a public right of way. You may need landowner permission and possibly other consents if you are arranging car parking, portable toilets etc.
In order to prevent conflict with other users out for a quiet day it is good practice to provide advance notice of your event in order that other users can be forewarned.
What is special about the Trail
The Pennine Way is one of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales. National Trails are designated by the Secretary of State and are administered by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, and managed by the local authorities and National Park Authorities whose area they pass through.
Most National Trails have a dedicated Trail Manager responsible for maintaining the high quality standards on the Trail. National Trails are waymarked with the distinctive “acorn” symbol.
National Trails are special because they pass through some of the best landscapes, and they are managed to a very high standard. Because of this you can be confident that any journey you make along a National Trail will be one of the best you have taken.
Natural England sets quality standards for National Trails and their management. You can find out more on the Natural England website.
Originally the inspiration of walker and writer Tom Stephenson in an article published in 1935 in the Daily Herald titled 'Wanted: A Long Green Trail', the Pennine Way was designated by the Countryside Agency in 1965 as Britain's first National Trail.
Today the Pennine Way is one of the most famous and popular walks in the country. To many the Pennine Way is much more than a walk, it is part of the history of access to the hills in England, and walking the Pennine Way makes you part of that story.
The Trail passes through three National Parks, The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, two National Nature Reserves and 20 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The variety of habitats make it one of the best places in Europe to observe birds like breeding waders in the spring and early summer.
Highlights include Kinder Scout, Stoodley Pike, Top Withins, Malham Cove, Pen-y-ghent, Tan Hill, High Force, Cauldron Snout, High Cup Nick, Cross Fell, Hadrian’s Wall and The Cheviot.
Maps, guides, certificates and merchandise
The official Guide Books for the National Trails are produced by Aurum Press. The guides are regularly updated and all details are checked by the trail managers. The books include sections of Ordnance Survey 1:25,00 maps and are the very best accompaniment to your walk. You can buy them from the National Trails shop.
As well as a guide book we recommend a good quality map and you can buy these in paper or digital format - to browse the maps and books available please visit the Maps and Guide Books page.
Regardless of which direction you walk the Pennine Way, the pub you reach at the end will offer you a certificate, sponsored by a local ale. There is no central administration of certificates or a hall of fame for the Pennine Way at the moment.
There is a DVD of the trail ‘The Pennine Way from the air’, which was filmed for the 40th anniversary of the trail in 2005. The DVD contains a 45-minute aerial film of the Pennine Way showing the highlights of the route from Edale to Kirk Yetholm.
If you would like a copy, please contact us with your name and address. There is no charge for the DVD, but we would appreciate a donation towards the maintenance of the Pennine Way.
How to add information to the Trail map
Anyone can add information to the website. We hope that people who have enjoyed the National Trails will want to share their good experiences and that businesses will promote their services by adding information to the map.
You can add information to the map. This includes:
- Points of interest or attractions
- Services - for example shops, pubs, vets, cycle hire shops etc
- Details of your accommodation business
- Events - for example farmers’ markets, village fetes, guided walks
- Information to help horse riders or cyclists such as busy road crossings or water points
To add content you will need to sign up – click the join button in the top right corner. You’ll need a username and an email address. We won’t give your email address to anyone, we’ll only use it if you need a password reminder or if we need to contact you directly. For more information read our data protection policy.
Once you’re signed in you can add information to the map by clicking here.