The Roberts Family

Thornton-in-Craven / Pinhaw Beacon / Cononley

One Way: 7 miles: Bus to Thornton-in-Craven → Up hill on Pennine Way → Pinhaw Beacon → Down hill to Cononley Station → One stop on train back to Skipton.
(Good paths. Moderately wet in places. A few stiles. About 3½ hours.)


On this walk you climb up to the trig point on top of Pinhaw Beacon. There are excellent views all around. You could walk there and back, but I choose to take a bus out and the train back.


Most of the walk is on the Pennine Way so the paths are pretty good. The beacon itself is on grouse moor, but the rest of the walk is through pretty farmland. There a few stiles but nothing too difficult.

Skipton to Pinhaw Beacon

I take the Mainline 280 Burnley/Clitheroe bus and get off at the pretty village of Thornton-in-Craven. Ask the driver for the 'Old Post Office' stop.

Straight away we're on the Pennine Way. From the bus stop walk back a few yards then go down the pretty 'Old Road'. Part way down you see this intriguing door way, and at the bottom this structure. It's in a field and there is a bench and a bell next to it. (If you know what it is, please e-mail me. I can't even guess.)

A little further on, take the right fork leading to Brown House Farm. Follow it down over a couple of cattle grids and into the farm yard. At the back end of the farm take the clearly marked path over the fields to the left.

Now the slog begins. You're in beautiful farmland, but its uphill for the next hour or so. The path is easy to follow - it's the Pennine Way - until you reach this gate and stile. Here you have to turn diagonally right across the field, and follow a faint path as it curves around the field and eventually brings you to this footbridge. Once over this bridge you are on to moorland. Be sure to keep looking behind you as you climb. There are excellent views over to Skipton More and the Hawes.


Thankfully there are wooden 'duckboards' here, as this section has the potential to be wet. Follow the path uphill and eventually stone slabs will replace the boards. You may still find that you need waterproof boots. Cross this stile, and follow the stone path. Even on a nice day it can be a little wet here.

Eventually you pass through this tall gate, go right and you're on to tarmac. Follow the quiet lane up hill until you come to a crossroads with a bigger road, then straight across through a wooden kissing gate and on to Elsack Moor. At the finger post, bear left and you'll soon see the trig point and toposcope. Excellent 360 degree views here, but the wind was cold the day I took these photos.

(I took these photos at 11 a.m. on a June Sunday and had the moor to myself.)

Down From Pinhaw Beacon to Cononley Station

Leave the trig point heading east. In a quarter of a mile or so, there's a junction where I went the wrong way the first time I did this walk. Be sure to keep right. Follow the path down as it starts it's descent. The section down by the stone wall can be wet. Thank goodness for the duckboards and slabs.

Follow the path as it turns to the right then goes down towards farmland. Cross this stile then a couple more gates/stiles and you'll see a bench. A nice place for a picnic if it was too breezy up on top. Carry on down the tarmac farm road until you reach the lane at the bottom. Cross the stile opposite, then cross small field to another stile.

This is where we leave the Pennine Way. It goes off to Lothersdale, but we are heading for the train station at Cononley.

The Pennine Way goes right, but we carry on straight ahead, the down the gill toward Tow Top Farm. This section can be a little overgrown but there is a reasonable path and a little bridge over a pretty beck. Notice the little sheep gate(?) in the wall.

(The only challenge I had was bunch of young cattle blocking my route. Once I got past them they decided to follow me.)

Go up hill onto the farm road then follow it as it bends to the left at the top. Lots of lovely views here. Keep up hill on this concrete road and enjoy the views including back towards the beacon. Eventually you come to a tarmac lane. Go left.


(If you look at the map here, you may get tempted to take a 'shortcut' past Tow Top. Don't. The path is well hidden and it was an absolute quagmire the day I tried it. The farmer, however, was very helpful when I got lost in her farmyard.)

Walk up the quiet lane then turn right on to the dirt road with a sign for 'The Healthy Home Retreat' and soon you will come to the houses at Street Head Farm. (At this point you could, should you wish, turn left and return to Skipton via Ramshaw. We have done this route, but today the railway station is calling.) Right then left through the houses then follow the long farm track which edges the fields down towards Cononley.

Eventually you arrive at a tarmac lane then straight across and down the quiet tarmac Netherghyll Lane into Cononley. If you look to the right here you'll see and tower up on the hill. There's also a trig point nearby. Unfortunately these are on private land with no public access.

Now the lane goes steep downhill into Cononley. If you're like me, your toes are going to hurt.

Watch out for the garden railway in front of a bungalow as you enter the village. Bear right, then, assuming you are able to force yourself past the two pubs, you will soon find yourself at the railway station. It's one stop and a just a few minutes into Skipton. You're a better person than me if you can work the ticket machine.

Click here for my .gpx file.