The Roberts Family

Skipton Walks: Along the canal in the Liverpool direction

Canal towpath → Start from Skipton and walk as far as you wish → Walk back again or use public transport.
Or use public transport to do a section further away.

Walking In The Liverpool Direction

In the Liverpool direction, the obvious landmarks are the villages of Gargrave, Barnoldswick (pronounced Barlick) and Foulridge. All three have at least one cafe, pubs and are accessible from Skipton via public transport.


Skipton To Gargrave - 5 Miles

It will take you half an hour to leave behind the mills and housing estates of Skipton, but then you will be out in the countryside with excellent views in all directions.

You will pass under the A629 Skipton bypass, then past the farm, campsite and moorings at Niffany. You then walk parallel to the railway line for a while then under the A59 to emerge into open country.

The canal then passes through lovely country as it meanders between the railway line and the A65, until eventually it passes beneath the A-road near Holm House. There are several swing bridges and plenty of ducks, geese and swans to look at. It then goes across an aqueduct over Eshton Beck. Another 15 minutes and you're in Gargrave.


There is a co-op store, a delightful tearoom and a chip shop - but the latter two are only open at peak times. There are also two pubs in the village plus a third one next to the Premier Inn on the road out.

If you want public transport back into town, multiple bus routes pass through the middle of the village and there is a small railway station on the far edge, but it is probably best to research timetables in advance.

Barnoldswick to Gargrave - 7.5 Miles

'Barlick' does not have a railway station but there are regular buses. It's easy to get there.

From the town centre, walk in a north westerly direction and you will find the canal. You then pass the Rolls Royce factory and are soon at the Greenberfield locks and the summit of the entire canal. In summer the cafe here may be open. Pass beneath a couple of road bridges and you are out in the countryside.

A pleasant walk will eventually bring you to notable double bridge at East Marton. The Abbott's Harbour cafe is just off the canal here. It looks delightful, but I have yet to be there when it is open.


A little further on, the canal twists backwards and forwards through some of the most extreme contour-following bends I've seen. Some boaters' websites call these the 'curly wurlies'. Swans nest on the towpath here in the spring.

At the time of writing the towpath around Bank Newton is closed, so you have to divert on to the quiet lanes for a while. Next to the locks are some benches, which make an excellent place for a picnic.

There is then another short section on a quiet lane, before going down a spiral ramp as the towpath moves to the other side at the Priest Holme Bridge. Now the canal passes over the River Aire then immediately beneath the railway. Another short section and you arrive at the A65 where you turn right and walk into the village.

Thornton-in-Craven to Gargrave - 7.5 Mile(ish)

This is a variation of the walk above. Instead of going into 'Barlick' you get off the bus at the 'Old Post Office' stop in Thornton-in-Craven. There are then two routes you can choose to reach the canal. The western route goes up past Shed Laithe then over Castleber Hill. The shorter, eastern route follows the Pennine Way.


Foulridge to Barnoldswick - 4.5 miles

The same bus that you can catch from Skipton to Barnoldswick carries on to Foulridge. Foulridge is famous for its 1630 yard canal tunnel.

Walk from the main road to join the towpath at the wharf. Turn left to view the entrance to the tunnel. (There is no towpath through the tunnel.) Just to the right is the 'Wharf at Foulridge': a posh restaurant in the evening and an excellent cafe in the morning. (As ever, it is best to check opening times.) Cappuccino and a bacon sandwich please.


The walk to 'Barlick' is through pleasant countryside past numerous bridges and moorings. You pass the Anchor pub at Salterforth. Then past the Lower Park Marina and you're in 'Barlick'. There are cafes and pubs (check opening hours) and buses back to Skipton.