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Hike the width of England in 13 stages — Coast to Coast

Barbara & Florian

Hike the width of England in 13 stages — Coast to Coast

Hiking Collection by Dan Hobson

13-28

days

3-6 h

/ day

186 mi

21,700 ft

21,625 ft

The Coast to Coast is an epic long-distance hike through three of England’s most-loved national parks: the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

Exploring an ever-changing landscape filled with history, heritage, tranquillity and wild beauty, the route travels 182 miles (293 km) from St Bees on the Irish Sea to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea.

Along the way you will discover some of Britain’s most stunning countryside as you hike over empty fells and past serene lakes, through patchwork pastures and into sleepy villages, over majestic moorland and along some spectacular coastline.

Despite being one of the most popular long-distance routes in the UK, the Coast to Coast is an unofficial trail and is mostly unsignposted. As such, navigation skills are helpful on some of the more remote parts.

The route was devised by legendary fellwalker Alfred Wainwright in his 1973 book, A Coast to Coast Walk. Wainwright recommends that walkers dip their booted feet in the Irish Sea at St Bees, at the start of the walk, and in the North Sea at Robin Hood's Bay at the end of the walk.

As Wainwright suggests, this Collection starts on the East Coast and finishes on the West Coast. This way, the prevailing winds are behind you and the hardest walking is completed in the first few stages. However, many people opt to complete the trail from West to East and it’s an equally valid choice.

In this Collection, I split the trail into 13 stages of between 10-19 miles (16-31 km). Of course, you can split up the route into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation.

Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options. However, places to stay are not abundant so it’s worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly. Campers are relatively well-served along the route.

Because this hike crosses from one side of the country to the other, it is best to arrive by public transport.

You can catch a train to St Bees Railway Station, which has connecting services around the country. To get home, you would need to catch the X93 bus service from Robin Hood’s Bay to Whitby and then catch a train from Whitby Railway Station, which has connecting services around the country.

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Coast to Coast

182 mi

21,550 ft

21,550 ft

Last updated: November 16, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge – Coast to Coast

    Difficult
    06:46
    14.5 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,025 ft
    1,675 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Classic coastal walking, breathtaking views from lofty fells, beaches and rolling countryside all combine on the first leg of the Coast to Coast walk, one of the most famous long distance hikes in Britain.

    

    Devised by legendary fellwalker Alfred Wainwright, the route passes some 182 miles (293 km) through

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    07:08
    14.6 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,875 ft
    1,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Coast to Coast is synonymous with solitude and along this stage you get a real flavour of remote countryside that lies ahead.

    

    From Ennerdale Bridge, the trail passes through farmland for the first couple of miles until you reach the stunning expanse of Ennerdale Water. The most westerly of all the

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    08:09
    15.4 mi
    1.9 mph
    3,625 ft
    3,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Rugged Lakeland fells, awe-inspiring views, glistening tarns and a sumptuous sense of solitude — this heavenly hike takes you high into the fells and should challenge your fitness and stamina.

    

    From Rosthwaite, hike through pretty pastures before a long and tough ascent of Lining Crag. Standing at 1,778

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    08:06
    15.8 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,875 ft
    2,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stage 4 continues higher into the fells to reveal a wild landscape that will take your breath away.

    

    The stage begins with a challenging ascent. From Patterdale, it’s a fairly relentless 4.7 miles (7.6 km) of tough climbing.

    

    Fortunately, the hills are filled with beauty. Angle Tarn, an enchanting stretch

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    08:26
    19.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,350 ft
    1,625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    With many ups and downs to contend with, as well as rugged terrain, this hike will push you to your limits. As joint longest in the Collection, this stage requires fitness and stamina.

    

    From Shap, the trail undulates as it climbs gradually through moorland. Once you have reached a high point, follow Wicker

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    05:27
    11.8 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 6 climbs to the curious Nine Standards Rigg, where epic views await, before descending through a landscape of moorland, farmland, rivers and waterfalls.

    

    From Kirkby Stephen, you make a long and gradual ascent to Nine Standards Rigg. Whilst the origin of the cairns is a mystery, some believe they

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    05:15
    10.9 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,475 ft
    1,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Waterfalls, wild landscapes and the signs of a bygone industrial age combine to make this a memorable stage.

    

    From Keld, you follow the River Swale and soon arrive at East Gill Force, an impressive waterfall in a stunning location. Continue into the hills past the Swinner Gill lead mines; ascending sharply

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Intermediate
    04:47
    10.7 mi
    2.2 mph
    900 ft
    1,175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The landscape changes from rugged moorland to picturesque farmland on this stage.

    

    With a relatively short distance to contend with, this leisurely stage ends in the jewel in the heart of North Yorkshire: Richmond.

    

    From Reeth, you follow Arkle Beck until it joins the Swale and continue alongside the river

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:05
    14.7 mi
    2.4 mph
    275 ft
    500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This steadily downhill stage explores a landscape of farms, fields, villages, ponds, rivers and historic places.

    

    As you follow the River Swale out of Richmond, you soon arrive at the breathtaking ruins of Easby Abbey. The free-to-enter ruins are one of the best-preserved monasteries of the Premonstratensian

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Intermediate
    04:40
    10.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    775 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage might be modest, but it has plenty of charm. If your legs are in need of a rest, the good news is that the terrain is forgiving and the hills are non-existent on this leisurely hike.

    

    Before leaving Danby Wiske, it is worth making a small detour to see the village church (as this stage does

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    05:00
    9.91 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,050 ft
    1,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This hearty hike takes you into the wild and beautiful North York Moors National Park.

    

    From Ingleby Arncliffe, you climb through a small section of woodland before joining the Cleveland Way, another long-distance national trail between Helmsley to Filey.

    

    After passing through Huthwaite Green, it’s a challenging

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    07:41
    17.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    975 ft
    1,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You hike onto the highest land in the North York Moors along this rugged stage.

    

    From Clay Bank, you rejoin the Cleveland Way and immediately begin a steep climb onto Urra Moor, a beautiful and peaceful place to be.

    

    As you continue through the vast expanse of Urra Moor, you soon arrive at Round Hill, the

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    08:45
    19.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,825 ft
    2,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The final stage of the Coast to Coast is a fitting homage to the route — a gritty, long-distance slog over majestic moorland to picturesque coastline.

    

    From Glaisdale, you descend to the River Esk and follow it through woodland and fields to the village of Grosmont.

    

    If you time your visit to Grosmont right

    by Dan Hobson

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    13
  • Distance
    186 mi
  • Duration
    86:16 h
  • Elevation
    21,700 ft21,625 ft

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