Follow ancient packhorse routes, drovers roads and newly created bridleways through the magnificent Pennines.
Welcome to the Pennine Bridleway’s home page where you’ll find an introduction to the trail. You can access the trail’s main pages using the links above. Here you’ll find links to the Information & Map page, Trail Holidays page and the Add your information page.
If you’re thinking about planning a visit to the trail, please view the Interactive Map on the Trail Information & Map page. The map allows you to view the line of the trail alongside accommodation, things to do, services such as food and drink, transport, water points and more.
You can also find additional Pennine Bridleway pages by going to ‘The Trails’ dropdown menu at the top of the page, clicking on the trail name and browsing the pages in the Further Information column. Here you can access pages such as the trail’s Route Description page, Leaflets page, Circular and Linear Walks page and Events.
Find useful facts and learn more about the Pennine Bridleway below. Select the blue tabs below for more details.
The Pennine Bridleway is a 205 mile (330 km) long National Trail running through the Pennine hills from Derbyshire to Cumbria. It has been specially designed for horse riders and is also a fantastic trail for mountain bikers and walkers. The route was opened in stages with the final section and full length officially opened in June 2012 by the President of the British Horse Society, Martin Clunes.
The Trail is a linear route but it also includes 2 large loop sections: The Mary Towneley Loop and The Settle Loop. The Mary Towneley Loop in the South Pennines was the first section of the Pennine Bridleway to open and was completed in 2002. It is 47 miles long and makes a great weekend’s walk or ride (although some mountain bikers like to try and do it in a day!). The Settle Loop is a 10 mile circuit in the Yorkshire Dales. It makes an excellent day’s walk or ride and can be extended by using the bridleway network to take in the village of Malham too.
There are route descriptions covering the whole length of the Pennine Bridleway in the Further Information section of this website.
The route follows a variety of surfaces including minor roads, aggregate tracks, grassed stone tracks, stone setts and worn causey flags. Some of these were newly created specifically for the Pennine Bridleway but some are ancient highways such as drovers roads or packhorse trails and have been in use for centuries.
The National Trail is very well way-marked so following the route is easy. But it is always a good idea to take a guidebook or map.
The route runs through the Pennines so expect hills and changeable weather!
The best time to complete the Trail is April to October, when the weather is most favourable.
The Pennine Bridleway National Trail is not the same as the Pennine Way National Trail. The Pennine Bridleway follows a different route and has been designed especially for horse-riders and cyclists.
The Pennine Bridleway is the only National Trail specifically designed to be used by equestrians. The original idea for the Trail came about from a desire for a long distance horse riding route which would give riders (and their horses) the opportunity to enjoy the countryside away, as much as possible, from busy roads. Around the time this idea was being explored however, cycling was also on the increase and there was a recognition that the Pennine Bridleway could also provide a great opportunity for off-road cycling and furthermore be a great route for walkers too.
The Trail provides an amazing long distance, largely off-road ride/walk through the Pennines following old drove roads, packhorse routes and new sections of bridleway. The route passes through varied and beautiful countryside following a succession of different types of tracks and surfaces. It is by no means easy but well worth the challenge and completing any or all of the route will provide a real sense of achievement.
There are many highlights along the Trail. The southernmost section of the Pennine Bridleway follows the line of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway along the High Peak Trail and there is an alternative starting point (recommended for horse riders) which uses part of the Tissington Trail on the former Ashborn-Buxton line. Towards the south you’ll also find the flora and fauna in the vibrant, clean and green Chee Dale Nature Reserve; stunning views over the Kinder plateau either side of the exhilarating yet peaceful Roych Clough (one of Britain’s classic mountain bike rides); panoramic views of the Pennines and valleys in Calderdale, Rochdale and Lancashire; the 6 compartmented water trough at Mankinholes where packhorse ponies stopped for refreshment; and the Rochdale Canal.
New trails link with old to zig zag up, down and across the Lancashire moors en route to the village of Wycoller with its ancient packhorse bridge. The north Lancashire stretch offers a more pastoral scene and a bit of a breather before reaching the Dales. The Yorkshire Dales section features classic limestone landscapes, including great views of the nationally important Malham Tarn and the peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent. The route travels from Dales villages to remote open uplands via enclosed grassy tracks and wide drove roads with glimpses of limestone pavements, impressive viaducts on the Settle to Carlisle railway, and a prizewinning new bridge. Once up on Lady Anne’s Highway there are stunning views along the Mallerstang valley before a final push from High Dolphinsty to the Cumbrian village of Ravenstonedale.
Visit our Walking and Riding Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the Pennine Bridleway.
Visit our News Page for the latest interesting and exciting news on the Pennine Bridleway National Trail.
Discover reminders of the packhorses and drovers who passed this way leaving behind beautiful bridges and water troughs and wayside inns. Later reservoirs and waterways add variety and interest to the landscape.
Feeling inspired? Build a bespoke itinerary and start planning your visit to this great National Trail here.