Hiking to the 4th Highest Point in the Yorkshire Dales – Wild Boar Fell Car-free Day Hike

wild boar feel yorkshire dales hike

Incredible views, little tarns, stone men, rolling hills, steep drops, vast bogs and few people make a day on Wild Boar Fell a very enjoyable one! Wild Boar Fell is a little known but spectacular peak in the far north of the Yorkshire Dales national park. It is also surprisingly accessible by public transport, but you will still have to work to reach the summit! You can get a train to Kirkby Stephen, walk up to Wildboar Fell and go down to catch the train home from Garsdale train station. It is a long walk but a very rewarding one. Also, few people have heard of the 4th highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales which means you won’t be fighting through crowds to get to the summit!

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Hiking on Wild Boar Fell

My feet were drenched. Both my left and my right foot had been soaking wet for the last hour. Squelching sounds came from my boots as little puddles were trapped under the arches of my feet. I could barely feel my toes. I was wearing waterproof shoes but it turned out they were not bogproof. I groaned as I stepped into the next wet patch of grass. Using my walking poles to desperately find a spot for my foot which would not sink into freezing water, I searched in vain. As I placed my foot to the ground, I sank into the wet earth once more. To turn around now would mean a huge detour back upwards before I would be able to then descend into Mallerstangdale valley. I would also probably miss my train out of the dales. I sighed as I begrudgingly kept on going. Not caring as much about sinking into more wet patches. Afterall, my feet could not get any wetter.

Why was I up here? Why had I not paid more attention to that bog symbol on my map? Why had I chosen to ignore the advice that “it can get quite boggy up there”? As I gazed across the hills, which were bathed in an orange glow, I knew why.

The winter sun warmed my face as I stopped for a moment. There was no wind, a rare occurrence in these hills. I could feel the late afternoon rays against my skin. The Yorkshire hills were watching me but no one else. I could hear the faint sound of birds as well as the squelching sound of my boots gently sinking into the hillside. There was no sound of traffic or of other hikers. I was completely alone and I basked in the solitude. I smiled. Yes, I was slightly worried of getting gangrene or more likely trench foot, but it might have been worth it for the hike before this point. Reaching Wildboar Fell had been very enjoyable. The walk followed a ridge allowing for excellent views of Mallerstangdale below. On Wildboar Fell there was a curious group of stone men which have stood guard for decades. Bright blue skies across the fells had made for a wonderful day. Only the last section had resulted in very damp feet. Yet this did not dampen my spirits for I knew I would happily do it again… perhaps in wellington boots next time I thought as I dragged my feet out of the bog and carried on.

Wild Boar Fell is an epic hike in the Yorkshire Dales.

Where is Wild Boar Fell?

Wild Boar Fell is a peak in Mallerstangdale in the far North of the Yorkshire Dales national park.

The closest town to Wild Boar Fell is Kirkby Stephen. It is technically in Cumbria but forms part of the Yorkshire Dales national park.

What is Wild Boar Fell?

Wild Boar Fell on the right from Pendragon Castle

Wild Boar Fell is a peak (or fell) in the Yorkshire Dales national park. It is said to be either the 4th or 5th highest peak in the national park at 2,323 ft (708 m).

How can I get to Wild Boar Fell?

In order to reach Wild Boar Fell you will have to hike! You can drive or get the train to Kirkby Stephen and hike up. Alternatively you can do this hike the other way around and start in Garsdale and get the train back from Kirkby Stephen.

Why is it called Wild Boar Fell?

Wild Boar fell looking gloomy in the distance

It is believed to have been named Wild Boar Fell due to the wild boars that used to live up there. There are no more wild boars up there anymore but you can visit wild boars in the Yorkshire Dales at Bolton Castle.

Description of the car-free Wild Boar Fell Hike

The car-free hike of Wild Boar Fell from Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale is a fairly linear hike with little navigation. Whilst you can of course hike this walk from South to North this description of the Wild Boar Fell hike will describe the walk from starting in Kirkby Stephen and ending in Garsdale. This is a station to station hike. You could of course drive to one of these train stations and get the train back to your car. Keep an eye on current train time tables.

Starting the Hike to Wild Boar Fell

Starting the hike at Kirkby Stephen train station, leave the station and follow the A685 southbound. You will walk along the road on a grassy ledge which is not the most spectacular start to a hike, but don’t worry the scenery and path soon change!

Soon there will be a path on your left leading down to a farm. This is the A683. Go down here then ignore the first left but take the second left onto Wharton Lane. This is a quiet country lane. You will see a farm at the first bend, Manor Bend farm. Don’t go through the farm but follow a small path to your right which takes you through fields. You will then see the first glimpse of the rigdge that you be following for most of the day.

The track is not that obvious but there are various sheep trods and as long as you are heading towards the hills in a southerly direction you are going the right way. Soon you will see Tommy Road crossing the fields. Go down onto Tommy Road. Turn left and follow it until the first corner. There will be an obvious path on your right heading upwards, take this path. Now you are in the fells!

Follow the dirt path upwards. You will be able to see the Howgills on your right. Maybe you can spot England’s tallest waterfall, Cautley Spout over there!

Little Fell

Little Fell

The dirt path is faint but obvious enough until you reach a stream. Navigate your way across the stream, hiking poles come in very handy here! Then continue upwards towards Little Fell. On Little Fell you will reach your first Cairn of the day! Now look down into Mallerstangdale. Can you spot the remains of Pendragon Castle down in the Eden Valley?

Now you are on the ridge, all you need to do is follow the path along the ridge. Follow this path and dip slightly onto Low Dolphinsty (great name!) then go up to High Dolphinsty. You will see the Nab up above. Keep climbing upwards!

The Nab

Hiking towards the Nab

Up on the Nab, you should now be able to spy the stone men in the distance. You can choose whether to head to them first or go to the summit of Wild Boar fell which lies to the right slightly. This area can be quite boggy so walking poles once again come in very handy!

Wild Boar Fell Summit

Woooh you have made it to the 4th (or 5th) highest point in the Yorkshire Dales!

The Standing Stone Men

wild boar feel yorkshire dales hike

The views from the summit are incredible but I would argue that the standing stone men on Wild Boar Fell make for more photo worthy views. This is not a popular hill in the Yorkshire Dales. You may pass some hikers but for the section between Kirkby Stephen and High Dolphinsty, you might not have seen a soul. These standing stone men are welcome company 😊 Enjoy your lunch with them, admire the views into the Dale below and appreciate that you are higher up than most people in Yorkshire right now.

After the stone men, you head down slightly towards a picturesque tarn. After the tarn, once again it is quite boggy around the tarn, there is a steep climb onto Swarth Fell.

Swarth Fell

Swarth Fell

Once you reach Swarth Fell you have just ticked off another one of the Yorkshire 30 summits!

The path from Swarth Fell down to the Moor cock hill is quite similar. It is a long downhill path across boggy ground. The views are stunning and the lack of navigation required creates an almost meditative state of just putting one foot in front of the other and heading straight on. You may be able to see Mossy Bottom viaduct in the far distance. That is your end point. As you get closer to the viaduct you can choose whether to head straight to the train station or whether to make a small detour to the Moorcock Inn for a pint. Have a look at the time when you to a point when the path forks. If you have time climb over the sty and go to your left for a well-deserved pint. If time is a bit tight continue straight on.

Check out this hike as a video! I filmed my hike on Wild Boar Fell to show the beauty of this wonderful Yorkshire Dales hike.

If you have chosen the pub detour, there is a steep descent to the railway. Climb over the railway and follow the road southwards towards the pub. As you get to the pub, order a pint and have a well earned rest. Just don’t rest too long as the train station is still a mile away so leave about half an hour to stumble there afterwards.

What an epic Yorkshire Dales hike!

How long does it take to hike Wild Boar Fell?

It took me just over 7 hours to hike from Kirkby Stephen up to Wild Boar Fell and down to the Moorcock Inn. I did spend quite a while on the summit taking photos and was slowed down by the bog at the end of the route. I got an early train from Leeds which got me to Kirkby Stephen for 9:30. I got down to the Moorcock Inn around 16:30 which enabled me to grab a quick pint before getting the train back to Leeds at 17:30. Much of the day, I did not see anyone else making this a great crowd-free hike in the Yorkshire Dales.

It is a great day hike!

Public transport to Wild Boar Fell Car-free Hike

The Yorkshire Dales is blessed to have the wonderful Settle-Carlisle railway to run through the Western part of the park. The train runs through Mallerstangdale making the hike to Wild Boar Fell one of the best car-free hikes in the Yorkshire Dales. You can hop off the train in Kirkby Stephen and hop back on in Garsdale!

What are the Standing Stone Men on Wild Boar Fell?

The standing stone men are not actually situated on Wild Boar Fell summit. They are actually on the Nab and have an incredible view over the valley below. Arguably the view from the Little stone men is better than from the summit of Wild Boar Fell. No one is too sure why or how the standing stone men were built on the Nab on Wild Boar Fell. They are very elaborate cairns. Whilst cairns in this part of the UK are not unusual and have guided shepherds for centuries, the size and shape of this cairns are not usual.

What should I wear on the Wild Boar Fell Hike?

Make sure you wear suitable clothing on any hike in the UK. This means waterproof shoes, a hat, gloves, thick socks, fleece, sporty t-shirt and walking trousers or leggings.

Also bring walking pole with you if you have them. They can be very useful on the boggy ground.

Can I hike the Wild Boar Fell hike the other way?

Elevation hiking from Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale

Yes of course, I first debated whether to hike up to Wild Boar Fell from Garsdale to Kirkby Stephen. You actually start at a higher altitude too from Garsdale. I would recommend to do it from the other direction though. Firstly, there is a pub in Garsdale. Kirkby Stephen station is a bit out of the town which adds on a detour to an already long hike. Secondly, the section between Garsdale and Swarth Fell is very boggy. When I say boggy, I mean sinking above your ankles for about 2 hours kind of boggy. Of course, after a period of good weather it probably is not. Yet if it is boggy, to start your hike with very wet feet does not make for a fun day of hiking. On the way back down, it is a bit annoying but manageable. No one minds if you take your socks off on the train home right? Finally, the sunset to the West over Ingleborough is quite breath-taking.

Is there a shorter Wild Boar Fell hike I can do?

Err kind of. There is a slightly shorter hike you can do which starts and ends by Cotegill Bridge in Aisgill. It is a 7-mile hike which takes you up onto the fell via the Nab then to Wildboar Fell summit. You then don’t go up onto Swarth Fell but follow Ais gill back into the bottom of Mallerstangdale. Click here to see a description of the Wild Boar Fell circular hike.

Is there a pub at the end of the Wild Boar Fell hike?

Haha, of course there is a pub at the end of the Wild Boar Fell hike! As long as you walk in a north to south direction that is. In Garsdale Head there is a lovely pub called the Moorcock Inn. In winter, make sure you check the times as they are often only open Thursday to Sunday. At the Moorcock Inn you can grab a wonderful pint after finishing your Wild Boar Fell hike! There is also food as well as a couple of vegan options!

Where can I stay in the Yorkshire Dales?

If you would like to stay to do a few more hikes in the Yorkshire Dales there are plenty of places to stay! For the Wild Boar hike, you will probably want to stay in Kirkby Stephen or Garsdale. Did you know that there is a vegan B&B in Garsdale? It’s called Goats & Oats. Alternatively, you may prefer staying somewhere like Settle which has the hustle and bustle of a Yorkshire Dales market town or maybe even the quaint town of Hawes?

Wherever you fancy staying you can use this handy booking.com tool to search for the perfect place to stay in the Yorkshire Dales

Booking.com

Have you been inspired to hike Wild Boar Fell?

Have you been inspired to hike from Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale via Wild Boar Fell? Would you like to climb up Yorkshire’s 4th (or 5th) biggest peak? Let us know in the comments below!

Wild Boar Fell is an epic car-free hike in the Yorkshire Dales national park. Forget Ingleborough, Pen-Y-Ghent & Whernside and go to Wild Boar Fell instead! Start at Kirkby Stephen and head up to the Standing Stone Men before going to Wild Boar Fell Summit. Few crowds make this a great #hike in #Yorkshire and Cumbria. It is a long day hike though so pack plenty of water before enjoying a rest in Garsdale and getting the train home. This is an epic car-free station to station hike in Yorkshire! Wild Boar Fell is an epic car-free hike in the Yorkshire Dales national park. Forget Ingleborough, Pen-Y-Ghent & Whernside and go to Wild Boar Fell instead! Start at Kirkby Stephen and head up to the Standing Stone Men before going to Wild Boar Fell Summit. Few crowds make this a great #hike in #Yorkshire and Cumbria. It is a long day hike though so pack plenty of water before enjoying a rest in Garsdale and getting the train home. This is an epic car-free station to station hike in Yorkshire! Wild Boar Fell is an epic car-free hike in the Yorkshire Dales national park. Forget Ingleborough, Pen-Y-Ghent & Whernside and go to Wild Boar Fell instead! Start at Kirkby Stephen and head up to the Standing Stone Men before going to Wild Boar Fell Summit. Few crowds make this a great #hike in #Yorkshire and Cumbria. It is a long day hike though so pack plenty of water before enjoying a rest in Garsdale and getting the train home. This is an epic car-free station to station hike in Yorkshire!

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