5 Best Sections of the Pennine Way

©Peer Lawther





For a poignant memorial to those we lost in WWII


Not long after leaving Edale on day one of your walk – shortly after passing the expanse of Kinder – you’ll hit another high, peaty gritstone moorland called Bleaklow. At first it may appear fairly featureless, an ongoing slog before you reach the campground and pub at Crowden, but it hides something worth stopping for. Just off the path, behind the summit of Higher Shelf Stones, is the well-preserved wreckage of an ill-fated Superfortress aircraft. It crashed here on November 3, 1948 in bad weather killing all 13 of its crew. Now a memorial is frequently covered with poppies and it offers a pensive place to remember those we’ve lost.


Malham Cove


For dramatic cliffs and limestone pavements


After the moorland that precedes it, the sight of the great limestone cliff that is Malham Cove, rising up in front of you like a huge rocky amphitheatre will give you the lift you need on a long distance walk. Look for the climber’s traverse that forms a lower lip above Malham Beck, and watch the strong heave themselves up its vertical face. Then continue above the cove to explore the naturally formed limestone pavement, a network of slabs and fissures that sprawl across the grass.


Tan Hill


Home to the highest pub in the British Isles


Following on from your ascent of Great Shunner Fell, while tackling your fair share of boggy ground (don’t forget the gaiters) on the lonely moors between Swaledale and Deepdale, you’ll be relived to find – slap bang in the middle – a single pub. But this isn’t just any pub, it’s the highest hostelry in Britain, sitting at 528m above sea level. Not only does it serve hearty food and ales to satisfy the hungriest of walkers, but also offers accommodation and, very often, evening entertainment…we’ll drink to that!


High Cup Nick


For a very grand ‘canyon’


From the top it looks just like any other stretch of moorland but get close to the edge of this natural wonder and you can’t fail to be impressed. It’s a U-shaped valley – which might not sound that edge-of-your-seat-exciting when you read it – but wait till you see it. Suddenly the ground below you is swallowed up in a giant tear in the landscape, edged with crumbling buttressed and pointy pinnacles. Make sure you have your camera ready.


The Cheviots


Aka the least visited section of the trail


Often left out of the walk by many – owing to the lack of places two stay on this, the last section – it’s for that reason alone that these lonely peaks make the list.  Head up from the tiny hamlet of Byrness and you’ll get high quickly and more than likely have the path to yourself. There could not be a more fitting way to end this glorious National Trail than with a wander through the wild and remote Cheviot Hills before arriving in Kirk Yetholm for a celebratory pint!





Phoebe Smith is an award-winning travel editor, writer and author. She is the editor of Wanderlust, the UK’s best adventure travel magazine (Consumer Magazine of the Year 2013, PPA, Independent Publisher’s Award) and in 2015 was named Editor of the Year (PPA, New Talent Awards). She is author of several books including Extreme Sleeps: Adventures of a Wild Camper and Wilderness Weekends: Wild Adventures in Britain’s Rugged Corners. She is as passionate about the outdoors as she is about travel and has written about both extensively in a range of magazines and newspapers in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. In addition to writing Phoebe has appeared on radio and TV talking wild camping, travel and women in the outdoors. In 2014 she became the first woman to camp at all the extreme points of mainland Britain on consecutive nights – these included the highest, lowest, northernmost, southernmost, easternmost and westernmost points of the country, also becoming the first person to include the centre of Britain in her quest. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the National Adventure Awards. Follow her on Twitter @PhoebeRSmith