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Trail Information

The 268 mile (435km) Pennine Way is the oldest, and arguably the most iconic, of England’s National Trails. Starting in the Peak District and stretching north to the Scottish Borders, it is one of the most challenging but rewarding long-distance walking routes and is steeped in history.

Prepare for your trip

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Exploring the Trail

You can spend as little or as long as you like walking on the Pennine Way National Trail.

The Trail is 268 miles (435km) long. 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 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 detour to the summit of The Cheviot.

The Fastest Known Time for completing the Pennine Way is 64 hours and 40 minutes, set in July 2020 by John Kelly.

The Trail 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!

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!

There is one section of the trail which is currently inaccessible through Forestry England land in Northumberland, but a diversion is in place. For more information please read this news post:

Temporary diversions may be necessary from time to time in order to permit maintenance works on the trail or on other land/infrastructure. Anything significant will be shown on the interactive map below.



Top tips for Enjoying the Trail

Both ends of the Pennine Way are accessible by public transport. Edale railway station is about 5 minutes walk from the centre of the village, where the Trail begins. Trains from Manchester and Sheffield stop at Edale.

At the northern end of the Trail, Kirk Yetholm has a bus service to Kelso. Connections can be made onwards from Kelso to all parts of the country and to pick up rail services at Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The closest airport to the start of the Pennine Way is Manchester Airport. You can take a train from Manchester Airport (via Manchester Piccadilly railway station) to Edale.

To return from Kirk Yetholm, you can catch a taxi or bus to Berwick upon Tweed and then catch a train on to Manchester Airport, Newcastle Airport or London.

For information on public transport links along the Trail please click here (pdf).

For detailed rail information please see

You can find up-to-date public transport information including a journey planner at

There is a good choice of accommodation close to the Trail and it can be viewed on the Interactive Map below or on the Create Your Own Trip page here.

Download and print a list of accommodation for each section of the Trail.

We recommend that you book your accommodation in advance – it’s limited in some areas.

There are a number of campsites along the Trail and they can be viewed on the Interactive Map.

There is a tradition of backpackers sleeping in the hills, but please be aware that wild camping is not legal in England unless you have the permission of the landowner.

If you do plan to wild camp you must ensure you take all your waste away with you. Water supplies may be scarce, so stock up where you can.

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.

There are several companies that will arrange to move your bags for you, help you plan your trip, or arrange a full package.

View a list of these companies here.

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.

Most people walk south to north – you get the wind at your back and the official guide book is written in that direction! However, there is nothing to stop you walking from north to south.

Keep the weight of your rucsack to a minimum – or alternatively take advantage of one of the baggage carrying services that operate on the Trail.

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. Wi-Fi is available at some accommodation and pubs/cafés along the route.

The UK is unique in having a network of paths that the public can use, this is the Public Rights of Way network. You can see these paths on Ordnance Survey maps.

National Trails are signed with an acorn symbol and/or the Trail name which you will see on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails.

As you are walking along the Trail you will also see waymarkers pointing to other paths. You can use the public rights of way network to leave the Trail to explore places of interest, reach your accommodation and find places to eat and drink.

You will often find a coloured arrow on signs which indicates the status of that section of path. The most common are yellow arrows which are footpaths and blue which are bridleway.

A GPX file can be downloaded from the Create Your Own Trip page (the button is below the map).

Holiday Inspiration

Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the Pennine Way.

Circular and Linear Walks

There are some great linear and circular walks to enjoy along the Pennine Way, giving you the opportunity to experience the wonders of the Trail over shorter distances.  Find the perfect walk for you in the Further Information section.

Leaflets, Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the The Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.

You can find a list of Ordnance Survey maps for the Trail here.

Useful leaflets about the Pennine Way can be downloaded from the Further Information section of this website.

Interactive Map

Use the Map Filter to see places to visit and where to stay along the Pennine Way. View information on the map by ticking the boxes in the Map Filter.

(c) Crown Copyright 2020. Ordnance Survey 100022021

We are aware that the Distance Counter is currently not working as expected. We are currently working on a fix for this and hope to have a resolution soon. We apologise for any issues this causes in the meantime.

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The custom route elevation is created when you use the distance calculator (above) to draw a line.

Hiking the UK's Oldest & Most Challenging National Trail

Create your own trip

Feeling inspired? Build a bespoke itinerary and start planning your visit to this great National Trail here.

Contact the Trail Officer

If you have feedback or a question about the Pennine Way,  please contact the Trail Manager.

Contact Heather Procter