Fountains Fell Ridge and Pennine Way

Walking trail

A strenuous walk up the Pennine Way to the top of Fountains Fell, where you will be rewarded with fabulous views of the Three Peaks and into Ribblesdale.

The nature reserve at Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales


Fountains Fell Ridge and Pennine Way walking trail map


Malham Tarn car park, grid ref: SD882672


Turn right out of the car park, then turn left onto the track. Go through the gate on your right and follow the boardwalk around the nature reserve. Please keep to the boardwalk to safely enjoy this special place. (Dog walkers please follow Point 2).

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Dog walkers will need to stay on the track and turn right at the post box. Pass the cottages on your left and then go through the gate on the left signposted Pennine Way. Continue from Point 4.


At the far end, by Sandhills Cottage, turn left to exit the reserve then go through the gate on the right signposted Pennine Way.


Continue along the Pennine Way, cross the road and head up the fellside past Tennant Gill Farm, leaving the limestone flower-rich pastures to walk up the rough moorside.

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The Pennine Way heads just to the right of the true summit of Fountains Fell and the path emerges at a tall cairn in the midst of the old coal mining area. Deep shafts remain and although some are fenced off, some may not be, so do be careful in this area.

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As you approach the cairn, take the waymarked track on your left past an old fenced mineshaft. Follow the waymarks to another large cairn on the horizon an excellent place to stop for a break in fine weather.


Turn left with Pen-y-Ghent behind you and follow the waymarks to meet a wall; you will pass Fountains Fell Tarn on your left. Keep the wall on your right and head up to the summit of Fountains Fell.


From the top of Fountains Fell head along the ridge, keeping the wall on your right.


When you meet a wall coming from the left, go over the stile in the corner and continue in a roughly southwards direction, keeping the ridge wall and an old electric fence on your right. Go through the gate and continue following the wall and fence on your right.


At the next wall which rises up the fellside from the left, cross the stile and continue following the wall on your right. When you meet another wall coming from the left, do not cross, but turn left and follow the waymark sign to head downhill, keeping this wall on your right.


Towards the bottom of the hill, bear slightly left to go through two gates, then continue following the wall on your right. Shortly before you reach the next fence, turn right through a gate and follow the bridleway, keeping the wall on your right. Go through the next gate and follow the path across a field to the next gate, go through gate and follow path for about 50 metres, then turn left to gate and stile. Go over stile and follow the path for about 100 metres to next stile and carry on straight down small valley to a waymark post overlooking Malham Tarn, turn left through gate onto the road and turn right to return to your starting point at the car park.


Malham Tarn car park, grid ref: SD882672

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Fountains Fell Ridge and Pennine Way


Strenuous and hilly walk, up the Pennine Way and across open fellside and moorland. Some gates and stiles. Can be muddy after wet weather.

Dogs are welcome on leads, however they are not allowed on the boardwalk of the National Nature Reserve. Watch out for local notices as there may be restrictions in woodland or farmland at sensitive times of year, during the lambing season, or between March and the end of July when ground-nesting birds are on eggs or raising their young.

Please be vigilant when walking near livestock, especially those with young. Try not to get too close and keep your dog on a lead under close control. If approached by cows, move away as carefully and quietly as possible, and if necessary let go of your dog's lead and let it run free, the dog will outrun the cows.

Fountains Fell Ridge and Pennine Way

Contact us

Fountains Fell Ridge and Pennine Way

How to get here

Malham Tarn, Waterhouses, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PT
By train

Settle station 7 miles (11.3km) away and Skipton station 19 miles (30.6km) away.

By road

Close to the A65 and Settle; 4 miles (6.4km) north-west of Malham. Follow signs from Malham.

By foot

6 miles (9.6km) of the Pennine Way runs through the estate.

By bus

From Skipton: 210/211 and 883/884 (passing close Skipton , w/e, to Malham village only); from Settle: 580/210 (to Malham village only). Also, National Trust shuttle bus service (890), Settle-Malham Tarn, Easter-Oct, w/e only.

By bicycle

The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway runs through Malham village and by Malham Tarn.

Fountains Fell Ridge and Pennine Way

Facilities and access

  • Nearest facilities are in Malham Tarn village 2 miles (3.5km), including: toilets, tea-rooms and pubs
  • Dogs are not permitted in the nature reserve, but are welcome elsewhere under close control; must be kept on leads at certain times of the year