The University of York Outdoor Society

Outdoor Society

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Week 7: Sunday Walk in Embsay

Embsay is a little village in the western part of the Yorkshire Dales. Embsay is home to a quaint traditional working steam railway that was built in 1888. The village is at the base of Embsay Crag from the top of which are panoramic views of the stunning Dales landscape.

Embsay is a village in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England and is situated about 2 miles north-east of Skipton. The village is grouped with the neighbouring village of Eastby in the civil parish of Embsay with Eastby, which has a population of 1,758.

The rock formation to the north of the village is called Embsay Crag, at the foot of which is Embsay Reservoir. The crag marks the start of Barden Moor, a large expanse of open moorland which is popular with walkers due to it being open access land. There are two reservoirs within the moor; Upper Barden Reservoir and Lower Barden Reservoir.

Embsay has two pubs, the Elm Tree Inn at the north end of the village, and the Cavendish Arms at the southern end of the village near the station. The Elm Tree Inn and surrounding Elm Tree Square take their names from the elm tree that stood in the centre of this junction for many years. It was replaced in the late 20th century due to Dutch elm disease, but in 2006 that replacement was also taken down. A replacement tree was planted in 2007.

We'll take a coach to Embsay, and from there split into two groups, one group takes a medium-length walk whilst the second group take on a larger route. Both walks are preplanned and lead by our trained walk leaders.

Medium walks are generally between 6 and 8 miles (10-13 km) long, and tend to be at a reasonably gentle pace and always include a stop for a pub lunch. Long walks are slightly more challenging and are between 10 and 12 miles (16-19 km) long and don't include a pub lunch but instead stop for a packed lunch along the way. At 4.00pm all the groups meet back at the coach and return back to the University, arriving no later than 6.00pm.

A view around Embsay

What to Bring

We run both medium and long walks - if you choose the medium walk, please bring money for a pub lunch, as not all places take card payments, and if you choose to do the long walk, please bring a packed lunch, as there is no guarantee that you'll be able to buy food when we get there.

Please wear appropriate clothing for a walk in the Yorkshire countryside! Walking boots are best, but if you don't have any, sturdy trainers or wellies should be fine. Also please avoid wearing jeans, because they get very unpleasant to wear when it rains. As this is Yorkshire, you should always be prepared for rain, no matter HOW sunny it looks, so remember to bring waterproofs or other appropriate wet weather gear.

When and Where to Meet Us

We meet near the white benches outside the Roger Kirk Centre in James College at 8.45am. Arrival time back to campus varies depending on where we are walking but we're normally back between 5-6pm.


These walks are open to everyone, the prices are as follows: Members pay £9, and non-members pay £11. To book a place on the trip, you must purchase a ticket from the YUSU website.

Tickets for the medium route go on sale from Monday - Wednesday of the given timetable week, and the long route tickets are available all week. Everyone purchases the same ticket, and if you're not a member, we'll ask for an extra £2 on the day.

If you wish to join the medium group but didn't purchase a ticket before Wednesday, you can purchase a long route ticket, however you must bring a packed lunch with you, as we can't gurantee you a spot in the pub for food!