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Hike a wild and ghostly part of the North York Moors — Lyke Wake Walk

Hill Explorer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Hike a wild and ghostly part of the North York Moors — Lyke Wake Walk

Hiking Collection by Dan Hobson



3-6 h

/ day

40.1 mi

3,975 ft

4,400 ft

The Lyke Wake Walk is a challenging hike across the wildest and most isolated part of the North York Moors National Park. Steeped in folklore, the trail is synonymous with moorland coffin routes and explores a melancholic landscape that's been used for macabre ceremonies since the Bronze Age.

The Lyke Wake Walk is actually a 24-hour challenge that crosses 40 miles (64 km) of the North York Moors between Osmotherley in the west and Ravenscar on the east coast. It’s an undulating and exposed route with gruelling climbs and some boggy sections.

Every person who completes the challenge within 24 hours and reports it to the New Lyke Wake Club is eligible for a free membership. Female members are titled ‘Witch’ and males are titled ‘Dirger’.

The trail’s name gives a clue to its ghostly sensibilities. ’Lyke’ means ‘corpse’ while ‘wake’ is the act of watching over it, hence ‘watching over the corpse walk’. The name originates from Lyke Wake Dirge, one of Yorkshire's oldest surviving dialect verses.

The route was developed in the mid-90s and chosen specifically for its remoteness. With the exception of a few road crossings, the trail is almost entirely natural terrain. You do not encounter much civilisation on this hike.

In this Collection, I split the Lyke Wake Walk into two stages of 17.7 miles (28.5 km) and 22.4 miles (36 km), respectively. Due to how remote the landscape is, accommodation is very limited and splitting the route any further will take some forward-planning.

Whilst dividing the 24-hour challenge makes the trail much more achievable, each of these stages remains very challenging. Both routes involve long distance, a great deal of ascent and descent, rough terrain and do not pass facilities and shops.

Only experienced long-distance walkers with a good level of fitness should attempt this hike. Preparation is vital. Ensuring you have the right clothing, enough food and water and the correct equipment is essential.

If you're planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Northallerton, which has direct trains from York, Leeds, London, and Manchester. From Northallerton, you can catch the 80 or 89 bus service to Osmotherley. From the village it is just over 1 mile (1.5 km) to the northern tip of Cod Beck Reservoir, where the hike begins. To get home, you would need to catch the 115 bus service from Ravenscar to Scarborough, where you can catch direct trains to York, Leeds, and Manchester, as well as connecting services around the UK.

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Lyke Wake Walk

39.0 mi

4,150 ft

3,950 ft

Last updated: November 15, 2021

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Cod Beck Reservoir to Blakey Ridge — Lyke Wake Walk

    17.7 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,700 ft
    2,050 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stage 1 takes you high onto remote moors where melancholic beauty and spellbinding solitude combine. You explore the Cleveland Hills on this hike, which boast great views over Teesside and the rolling North York Moors National Park.


    Starting from the northern tip of Cod Beck Reservoir, it’s level walking

    by Dan Hobson

  • Expert
    22.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,275 ft
    2,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The centuries fall into each other on this hike as Bronze Age burial chambers, medieval crosses and 17th-century industry merge amid spectacular moorland scenery.


    From Blakey Ridge, descend gradually over Wether Hill and Rosedale Moor through a vast expanse of wild heather and bog. The trail reaches

    by Dan Hobson

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    40.1 mi
  • Duration
    18:41 h
  • Elevation
    3,975 ft4,400 ft

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