Addingham to Simons Seat 18 miler
This is an amazingly picturesque 18 mile trail run for anyone wanting a challenge.
With panoramic views of outstanding natural beauty, it is also perfect for anyone training for a marathon and in need of a long run route. It is quite possibly one of my favourite run routes ever!
Starting and finishing in the picturesque village of Addingham, this route begins by following the Dales Way. There is space for a few cars to park on Bark Lane, just next to the Addingham Suspension bridge which crosses over the River Wharfe, a popular spot for river swimming.
From where you are parked, there are some steps down to the suspension bridge and a signpost for the Dales Way. Do not cross over the bridge but turn left, staying on the Dales Way. Follow this clearly marked signage for a few miles.
This beautiful long distance footpath follows the river, taking you through a log cabin and static caravan site and out towards Bolton Abbey.
There is a section where you will need to cross the B6160 or Bolton Road, where you will pass the Quaker Meeting House. Make sure to turn right, and the path will follow this road beyond the drystone wall.
Eventually this path will come to an end, with a stile, and you will need to cross the B6160 once again to re-join the Dales Way heading into Bolton Abbey. There is a footway which takes you up and over Bolton Bridge, still signposted for the Dales Way. This leads you into the Bolton Abbey estate, and past the Devonshire Arms across the fields. Keep following the river and enjoy this beautiful flat trail which takes you past the Abbey ruins and across the stepping stones or bridge (entirely your choice how you get across!)
Across the wooden bridge follow the track up the steep incline heading towards the Pavillion, there are toilets and a cafe here if you need a pit stop.
Opposite the bridge which leads you to the Pavillion cafe and toilets, there is a road turning right. Go up and through the gate, following this small road, and turn left rather than going straight on. This road will take you uphill for a short distance, until you reach a sign on the right for Simon’s Seat and the Valley of Desolation. This sign takes you off the road, and through a narrow gate in the dry- stone wall. This takes you into an open field, with a faint track to the left heading up and through another gate.
It is worth noting that from this point on dogs are not allowed, or on Barden Moor heading up to Simon’s Seat.
Keep following this track upwards until you reach the waterfall. The track takes you around the waterfall, downward and across a narrow bridge. Follow the stream upwards again until you reach the entrance to a pine forest. There is a clear path and sign here for Simon’s Seat and shortly you will leave the forest to follow a clear, quite wide stone path across the moorland.
On a fine day the panoramic views up here are breath taking, and once you reach the rocky outcrop that is Simon’s Seat, your climb is over.
The path back down is a little rocky, so take care and keep the drystone wall to your right. You will cross a small stream and descend into a clearly marked and beautiful pine forest trail. Once you reach the bottom of this long downward hill, you will leave Barden Fell through a wooden gate. Cross over the road (although there is a lovely brownie cafe a short way along this road to the left if you need to refuel!), and continue downhill towards the village of Howgill.
When you come to a second road, cross over and you will meet the Dales Way Path and a signpost. Do not follow the sign for Appletreewick, also well known known for Mason’s Campsite (although again, if you need a pitstop there are a couple of lovely pubs in this village).
Instead follow the Dales way signage for Barden Bridge and Bolton Abbey. You should pass a farm and a couple of wooden holiday cabins if you are on the right track.
This lovely Dales Way footpath takes a flat route following the River Wharfe all the way to Barden Bridge, where you will once again enter the Bolton Abbey estate. Once you reach Barden bridge, do not cross (although there is also a path on the other side of the river which takes you through the Strid wood which will also bring you to the Pavillion cafe). My route map follows the undulating path through the Bolton Abbey estate, eventually bringing you back to the Abbey ruins, and joining the same path back out of the estate to Bolton Bridge.
This time, instead of following the Dales Way path all the way back to Addingham, head across the bridge and follow the cycle signs which take you on an underpass with the A59 above you. Follow the cycle path which runs parallel to the A59, until you reach a narrow country road which is called Beamsley Lane, a popular circuit with the Ilkley cyclists.
Beamsley Lane eventually veers off to the left (and a further climb up Beamsley Beacon if you fancy another hill challenge), but if not, you need to keep straight and continue onto Lowfield Lane. This countryside road turns into West Hall Lane and takes you all the way to Ilkley.
But about a mile or so from the end of your route there is a fork in the road – you take the road leading to the small Hamlet and the end of this track. There is a narrow gate which takes you through a field towards the River and the Addingham suspension bridge.
Cross over the bridge and up the steps to your start point.
I added on a little section around Addingham village at the end to make it over 18 miles, but this is certainly optional!
If you wanted to extend the route by a few more miles, you can start and end in Ilkey, where the Dales Way begins or if you wanted to shorten the route, you can park at Bolton Abbey, although you may need to book and pay depending on what time you set off.
Addingham village has public toilets, cafes and pubs. Bolton Abbey also ahs a number of public toilets, cafes and pubs situated near all the main carparks.
The Brownie cafe at the bottom of Barden Fell also has an excellent range of well… brownies.
Close by there are also the villages of Burnsall and Appletreewick, which also have a selection of cafes, pubs and toilets.
Getting there by public transport
The closest train station direct from Leeds is Ilkey, which is about 3 miles from Addingham. Perfect if you wanted to turn this into a marathon instead! Just start the Dales Way here instead.
If not then you can get a bus to Addingham from just outside Ilkley train station.
Getting there by car
There is space for a few cars to park on Bark Lane in Addingham village, next to the suspension bridge.