This walk from Bolton Abbey climbs through the Valley of Desolation to Simon's Seat. It's a beautiful, varied walk with waterfalls, rushing becks, heather moorland, woodland trails and spectacular views from the high points. The route is a fairly challenging 3 mile hike to the summit, using a good waymarked path which rises steadily before reaching a peak of 485m (1590ft).
The walk starts from the estate car park next to the River Wharfe. Cross the bridge over the river and then turn left to pick up the trail along the Posforth Gill to the Valley of Desolation. You'll pass some pretty waterfalls before heading into the woodland and moorland of the Valley of Desolation.
The marked trails then take you along the Great Agill Beck to the interesting rock formations of Truckle Crags. Shortly after you arrive at the 485m peak of Simon's Seat where you can enjoy wonderful views over the countryside of the Yorkshire Dales.
To continue your walking in the area you can explore the splendid Bolton Abbey estate. The 12th-century Augustinian monastery is surrounded by lovely woodland and parkland. There's also miles of riverside trails with a series of popular stepping stones to try as well.
You could also pick up the The Dales Way long distance trail which runs through the abbey estate. Heading north along the path will take you along the river just to the west of the hill.
Simons Seat Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Simons Seat Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Simons Seat OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Simons Seat Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
The Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway is a great way to see the lovely scenery surrounding the abbey. You can pick up the heritage railway just to the south of the abbey at Bolton Abbey Station. Here you can enjoy a ride on a vintage steam locomotive to Embsay where you can visit Embsay Reservoir. The rolling stock on the line consists of 20 ex-industrial locomotives, the oldest of which was built in 1908, three diesel-multiple units, and ten other diesel locomotives. Embsay station dates back to 1888 and has good facilities with a cafe, gift shop, bookshop and picnic tables. It's a nice place to stroll around and watch the trains come in and go out.
Pictured above left Embsay railway station looking towards Bolton Abbey station. On the right part of the track between Embsay and Bolton Abbey with a siding to the left. This section was restored in the 1990s over 100 years after its initial opening as part of the line from Ilkley to Skipton.
For an alternative route to the summit you could try our Burnsall to Appletreewick and Simon's Seat Walk. This visits the pretty villages of Burnsall and Appletreewick where you can pay a visit to the historic Craven Arms Pub.
Just to the north of the abbey you can pick up the Barden Bridge to Bolton Abbey Walk via the Strid. It's a popular riverside walk starting from close to the 15th century Barden Tower. There's a car park here and the opportunity to pick up the Lady Anne's Way long distance trail too.