The Fremington Edge walk was spectacular, but it almost wasn’t….
What I discovered, is that when walking along the official Fremington Edge trail, you don’t get that much in the way of views. As soon as I had opportunity, I got off it to a trail lower down, which is when the magic happened.
What I’m going to do in the guide, is first give you an overview of the circular walk up and along Fremington Edge, with some useful tips, full logistics, and a map. Then I will describe the route, step by step with lots of photos.
What is Fremington Edge?
Formed during the last Ice Age, Fremington Edge is a long steep craggy hill, in the very North of the Yorkshire Dales. There is a stone wall stretching along the entire length, and a vast expansion of heather moorland dominating the eastern side.
A good place to start the walk up to Fremington Edge, is from Reeth. If you are in Reeth, it’s the big hill looming behind.
What to expect on the Fremington Edge circular walk
This walk takes you up to the top of Fremington Edge straight away, where you will be rewarded with vast, impressive views down into the valley. The way up is quite challenging, and gets very steep, and a bit of a scramble may be involved near the top.
The official Fremington Edge Trail actually takes you further and away from all the views, but there is an alternate trail you can take which is just below, where you can continue to enjoy the views across the wonderful Swaledale.
After that, you will descend off Fremington Edge, into the valley, and walk through gorgeous undulating fields, and along the river side, as you make your way back to Reeth. Even from below, the views are gorgeous.
Swaledale is my favourite place to walk in Yorkshire. I highly recommend you try out this route through Gunnerside Gill. It’s my favourite of all of them. Another wonderful one, is this circular from Muker.
How long is the walk?
This circular walk up along Fremington Edge and back, is about 6.6 miles. It took me about 2.5h to complete.
Is the Fremington Edge walk challenging?
The first bit of the walk, getting up Fremington Edge is quite challenging. After that, it’s easy, as it’s all level walking, or downhill.
If you want something easy, starting from Reeth, you could try this circular. It’s only a few miles, and quite lovely.
Is the walk dog friendly
There is some sheep about, however, the main issue would be the stiles and ladders, which might make it difficult if you have a large dog.
Parking to walk up Fremington Edge
This walk up to Fremington Edge starts from Reeth. There is a large green in the centre of the village, which is the main parking area. Payment for parking is via an honesty box. From memory I think its about £2 for the day, or something like that.
Honesty boxes make me nervous. Do I pay for parking or don’t I? So I parked down the street, where roadside parking is free.
Tips for the Fremington Edge circular walk
- Do the route anticlockwise, so you walk up to Fremington Edge first. That way you get the tough part out of the way at the start. Plus, the way up gets very very steep and a bit scrambly. I would not want to walk down that.
- Hiking boots due to the rugged and steepness up to the top. It also looked like some parts can get very muddy with the rain. We just had a heat wave so it was dry for me.
- If you want the best views, don’t walk all the way along the top of Fremington Edge, but instead take the trail just below.
- Take layers. Despite how hot it was, when walking along the top (and the trail just below) of Fremington Edge, it got very windy and cold.
- Start/Finish: Reeth
- Where is it: Fremington Edge is located in the Swaledale area of the Yorkshire Dales. Post code for Reeth is DL11 6TX.
- Public Transport: The 831 bus runs through Reeth, from Middlesborough to Hawes you can see the timetable here. Bus 30 runs Mon-Sat between Catterick and Keld. Both are very infrequent. You can see the bus 30 timetable on the Little White Bus website (choose the Swaledale Shuttle).
- Distance: 6.6 miles
- Time: 2h 30 min
- Difficulty: Moderate (it’s mostly easy, but there is one very challenging bit)
- Terrain: Dirt trail, grass, rocks, maybe mud, wooden ladders, some stiles
- Amenities: Reeth has a few pubs, an ice cream parlour, bakery, corner shop, public toilets, and National Park Visitors Centre. Nothing along the route.
- Time of year: I walked Fremington Edge in late spring
Map for the Fremington Edge circular walk
You can find my more detailed route map for the Fremington Edge walk on Alltrails
Route Description for the Fremington Edge circular walk
Starting from Reeth, follow the road downhill out of the village, towards the bridge. Over the Bridge, just past the corner, you should see a trail signpost to the left.
There are two ways you can go here. Both take you to the top of Fremington Edge, interestingly to the same spot. So I decided to take the left trail.
Taking the left, you will initially be on a track type trail, which leads onto a grass trail. It’s easy to follow, as it then takes you through a little wooden gate, then further along, where you have the option of a gate to the left or stone wall opening to the right, take the gate.
Through the gate, continue up the little hill you will see ahead, which will lead you to the trail signpost pointing through the stone wall.
Now it’s a straight line up.
Walk to the top of Fremington Edge
Keep going straight, past the shed, and through the stone wall and gate. At this junction, the sign tells you to go left or right. Do neither, and just keep going straight up.
This is where it starts to get steeper.
Keep going, and keep going, to reach the ladder over the stone wall. Also, make sure to look back at the views.
Over the wall, it gets steeper again, as you continue straight up. You will reach a point which is steeper, and a bit more rocky. You may need to use your hands here.
When you reach the mass of rubble rocks, you are nearly there. Now, if I was to do this route again, I would take the left at this junction of rubble. However, to walk to the official Fremington Edge Trail, keep going up to reach the gate. Then through the gate, turn left.
Walk along the top of Fremington Edge
Now, although I suggested taking the route below, you can actually join onto it a bit later, if you want to at least walk a little bit along Fremington Edge. You know, so you can say you have done it.
I had expected to have some grand views from up here. But this was my view:
If the heather was in bloom, it would probably have been a lot better.
As I made my way along, I was sure it must change at some point. But it didn’t. I was a little annoyed at myself for not taking the other trail, and had a bit of fomo. The views I had seen on the way up were so fantastic, and this was not.
When I saw a gate in the wall, I immediately took it. At first all I could see was green. I had this anticipation of what was about to come.
And then it all appeared. Those views I had been longing. I ran into a couple of hikers along here, and they asked me if it was worth walking along the officially Fremington Edge. I said no.
Walk along the lower trail of Fremington Edge
Turn right, where there is a stile straight away, and continue to make your wall along the hill. I found it to be a lot windier here than when walking on the Fremington Edge Trail. I didn’t have that wall protection. But I was fine with that. The views were worth it.
Keep going all the way to reach the rock pile, which makes the start of the descent.
Walk down away from Fremington Edge
At the rock pile, back to the right, you should see the trail. Follow it, then turn left at the trail sign, and make your way downhill. The trail is loosely marked, switching between gravel and grass.
Then as it curves you around, you will have a wonderful view along the Fremington Edge hillside ahead.
Keep following the trail which curves you back and forth, all the way to reach the stone wall with a gate.
Through the gate, continue down along the right side of the field next to the stone wall. You will then be curved a bit more, to reach the gate by the cottage at the bottom.
Through the gate, turn left.
Walk through the valley
You will then walk in between the curving stone walls to reach a very large field, which you go straight across, with the wall of Fremington Edge looming above to your left.
Keep going all the way to reach the river, and gate.
Through the gate, you want to stick to the river edge. After seeing this, I was so glad I didn’t have to cross over:
The trail will then take you alongside the river, in and out of the trees, and maybe cherry blossoms if you are lucky (or timed it just right).
Then at the next trail sign, follow it, along the hillside.
I didn’t know what to expect on this section of the Fremington Edge circular walk through the valley, and had debated staying higher up for the views. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the views down here are also wonderful, mixed in with lots of prettiness.
Keep going along the trail as it gently undulates along the hillside, passing by stone sheds. Then when you reach the grass trail junction (last photo below), take the right.
Follow it, where it will soon take you slightly uphill (I know I said there were no more uphills, but this one is only small, so it doesn’t count), to reach the stone wall and gate.
Walk through more fields
Go through the gate, then straight across towards the farmhouse on the other side, then through two more gates.
Through the second gate, keep going straight, over the next stone wall, and through another field, and another gate and stone wall.
More prettiness and the tractors
You will now be lead down through the pretty trees, and onto more undulating fields, with more pretty views all around.
It was here that I heard a noise and looked over to see lots and lots of tractors. I counted about 10 of them going along the road in the distance. I wondered what that was about. Some sort of tractor festival?
Keep following the grass trail down, through another stone wall, and then past some surprise cottage ruins, to reach the river at the bottom.
Continue alongside the river, then at the trail signpost (second photo below), continue straight.
The final stretch of the Fremington Edge circular walk
This will take you on an undulating rocky and gravelly type trail, first through the pretty trees, and then alongside the stone wall.
After a big curve to the left then right, you will reach the trail sign you past near the start. Follow the direction to the right through the gate, and you should know where you are now. From here, make you way back to Reeth the way you came.
When I arrived back, it was timed just right for all those tractors I saw earlier, coming down the road. Or did I time it wrong? They were very loud. Jarringly so.
Pin it for later: Fremington Edge Circular walk
You can find out more about the Swaledale area, and it’s history, on the Yorkshire Dales website.