Wild Boar Fell, near Kirkby Stephen, is the fourth highest fell in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Despite this fact, Wild Boar Fell remains a fairly unknown quantity when it comes to fell walking. By doing the Wild Boar Fell Walk, starting in Mallerstang, near Pendragon Castle, you’ll enjoy a quiet walk in an untouched and remote area of northwest England. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Wild Boar Fell Walk via Hell Gill Force – an underrated and barely known waterfall in the Mallerstang Valley.
Whilst we’re at it, we’ll also talk about Pendragon Castle, which is another less-known attraction near Wild Boar Fell in Mallerstang. Indeed, you could easily visit Pendragon Castle after completing the Wild Boar Fell Walk.
Table of Contents
About Wild Boar Fell
So you might be thinking, are there wild boar in Yorkshire? Well, no, not any more. But, there were once wild boars living in Yorkshire some time ago. In fact, Wild Boar Fell was the home of the last ever wild boar to survive in England.
As the story goes, it was supposedly killed by Sir Richard Musgrave of Hartley Castle in the 15th century. And, to ensure he wasn’t lying, Sir Richard’s tomb was opened sometime in the 19th century, where he lay with two tusks! So, there may even be some truth to the legend!
Wild Boar Fell Walk via Hell Gill Force Information
Also known as the Wild Boar Fell Circular Walk and the Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell Walk, the Wild Boar Fell Walk via Hell Gill Force is a great walk to explore the legendary fell. Starting in Mallerstang, near Pendragon Castle, you’ll explore the glorious Mallerstang Valley and Mallerstang Edge before reaching the summit of Wild Boar Fell. By way of a circular loop, you’ll then visit Hell Gill Force, before making your way back to Mallerstang to complete the walk.
Before we describe the Wild Boar Fell Walk in greater detail, let’s have a look at some trail specs of the walk starting from Mallerstang.
Wild Boar Fell Walk Stats
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 15.7km
- Time: 4.5–6 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 530m
- Trailhead: Mallerstang
- Map: Wikiloc
Personally, we considered the Wild Boar Fell Walk from Mallerstang to be of moderate difficulty. We’ve given this difficulty rating because of the substantial length of the walk and the decent amount of elevation gained. Also, trail navigation can be tricky when walking along the Mallerstang Edge. This is especially true from Wild Boar Fell to Swarth Fell and Swarth Fell Pike. Even more challenging is trail navigation as you make your way from Hell Gill Force to Mallerstang. You’ll find seemingly accessible trails on maps which are actually restricted, overgrown and too wild to continue.
Personally, we got a bit lost on the way back to Mallerstang from Hell Gill Force. A faint trail we were following from Hell Gill Force seemed to lead us into no man’s land near Howe Top! Essentially, we had to backtrack to a small cascade of Rigg Sike, where a public footpath led us back over the River Eden and onto the road. We were left scratching our heads as we hiked back to Mallerstang via the B6259, passing a few more public footpath entrances where we could have potentially exited a bit closer to Mallerstang.
Anyway, we’ve amended our GPS-guided map of the Wild Boar Fell Walk via Hell Gill Force to reflect navigation on unrestricted and accessible trails. Basically, we’ve done all the hard work for you. Simply use this map and you won’t struggle with trail navigation, as we did!
You’ll find the moorland terrain along the Mallerstang Edge, particularly between Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell to be boggy in winter. Because of that, we don’t recommend this walk in winter as it simply won’t be as enjoyable. In the summer months, the terrain is much drier and kinder on your feet.
Wild Boar Fell Walk Map
Below, you’ll find a map of the Wild Boar Fell route from Mallerstang. Feel free to click on the image below to access the GPS-guided map mentioned previously.
Wild Boar Fell Walk Trail Description
In this trail description, we’ll talk about the highlights of the Wild Boar Fell Walk via Hell Gill Force from Mallerstang.
Wild Boar Fell Walk Starting Point: Mallerstang
In terms of Wild Boar Fell parking, options are quite limited in Mallerstang. We found street-side parking here on the B6259 road. Personally, this is where Beck and I started the Wild Boar Fell Walk via Hell Gill Force.
Wild Boar Fell
From Mallerstang, the Wild Boar Fell Walk begins with a gentle climb up a section of the Pennine Bridleway towards Lock Hill. After passing some other smaller hills, you’ll arrive at High Dolphinisty and turn left.
You’ll begin to enjoy sweeping views of the Yorkshire Dales and even the Lake District as you hike towards the Nab – a wonderful cliff-edge viewpoint! Afterwards, you’ll turn right and head across the flat summit area to arrive at the trig point of Wild Boar Fell. From the summit plateau near the trig point, on a clear day, you can enjoy views of the Howgills, Pennines, the Lake District fells and even the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
Just a little while away, perhaps 300 metres to the west of the trig point and below the western lip of the plateau is Sand Tarn. The sand found there is composed of millstone grit. Sand Tarn is a wild, remote and untouched tarn to explore. Personally, Beck and I didn’t head to the tarn; but, be our guest!
From Wild Boar Fell, you’ll then continue south towards Swarth Fell, where you’ll initially pass a fascinating series of cairns on the edge of High White Scar. Soon enough, you’ll be following a faint trail that descends the fell towards Aisgill Farm (also written as Ais Gill).
Interestingly, you’ll briefly straddle in between the counties of Yorkshire and Cumbria, as you make your way to Hell Gill Force.
Hell Gill Force
Hell Gill Force is an unassuming waterfall found in Aisgill. It’s formed from Hell Gill Beck and gushes over the lip of a high rock wall platform. Unfortunately, when we visited, Hell Gill Force was looking fairly tame. It was summer after all, so there hadn’t been as much rain. That would be one reason to visit in winter – you’ll likely have a stronger and more powerful Hell Gill Force to enjoy.
After scoping out Hell Gill Force, you’ll then head north along Slade Edge, walking through the overgrown and unkempt countryside. You’ll pass some small streams and quaint cascades as you head back towards Mallerstang. Once you arrive at Rigg Sike, we recommend using the exit trail that leads you back over the River Eden and back to the B6259 road. From there, you’ll road walk the remaining 2km to complete the walk.
Although not forming part of the Wild Boar Fell Walk from Mallerstang, we recommend visiting Pendragon Castle afterwards (or beforehand). Pendragon Castle is a ruined 12th-century castle, resembling what we’d class as a fortified tower. It’s believed that Pendragon Castle was founded by Uther Pendragon, who was the father of King Arthur. Certainly, it’s worth a quick visit to explore the ruins at Pendragon Castle.
How to Get to Mallerstang
The easiest and quickest way to get to Mallerstang is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car.
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
As far as we’re aware, public transportation doesn’t go to or via the small settlement of Mallerstang. Of course, it’s possible to get a train to the nearby Kirkby Stephen and then catch a taxi to Mallerstang, which is about 10km from Kirkby Stephen. Feel free to check the train times and prices here. We recommend using Google Maps to plan your journey.
Trainline is one of the best online platforms for booking trains. By using Trainline, you can easily find the best available prices and times for your journey. We always use Trainline to book our train journeys in the UK and in Europe.
Personally, we don’t recommend using public transport as you’ll likely have a long-winded journey to get there. Certainly, it’s best to drive to Mallerstang yourself.
Wild Boar Fell Weather Forecast
For the latest weather forecast in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, check here. Certainly, the Wild Boar Fell Walk via Hell Gill Force would be much more enjoyable in good weather conditions. Additionally, as mentioned, the terrain around Wild Boar Fell can get very boggy during winter and after heavy rainfall. For that reason, it may be best to keep an eye on the weather and time your visit after a relatively dry spell.
Where to Eat
The Moorcock Inn, just south of Mallerstang, is the quintessential country inn. Indeed, it’d make a great place to eat and have a pint after the Wild Boar Fell Walk.
Nearby Attractions in the Yorkshire Dales
Below, we’ve listed some of the other best places to visit and walks to do nearby in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
- Aysgarth Falls: explore the truly spectacular Lower, Middle and Upper Aysgarth Falls.
- Cauldron Falls (West Burton Falls): a lesser-known waterfall that’s nearby Aysgarth Falls.
- Hardraw Force: one of the most famous waterfalls in Yorkshire after featuring in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
- Cautley Spout: England’s highest waterfall above ground, can be seen on a walk via Howgill Fell.
- Keld Waterfalls Walk: go waterfall chasing in Keld! You’ll see Catrake Force, Wain Wath Force, Kisdon Force, Currack Force and East Gill Force.
- Nine Standards Rigg from Kirkby Stephen: a great nearby walk that’s also lesser-known.
Recommended Maps and Guidebooks
These are our five gear essentials for this walk.
Osprey Skarab 30
The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.
BUFF Original Ecostretch
The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
Other Yorkshire Dales Guides
Best Villages to See in the Yorkshire Dales
- Grassington: Everything You Need to Know About Grassington
- Hawes: The 16 Best Things To Do In Hawes
- Ingleton: 10 Awesome Things To Do In Ingleton
- Masham: Everything You Need to Know About Masham
- Buckden: The 5 Best Things To Do In Buckden, Yorkshire
- Keld: The 5 Best Things To Do in Keld, North Yorkshire
- Clapham: The Top 13 Things To Do During A Visit to Clapham, Yorkshire
- Ribblehead: 15 Awesome Things To Do In Ribblehead
Bonus Navigation Tips and Other Recommendations
- Plan beforehand: don’t just rock up to do this walk. Have a quick look at a map or do some research before arriving in Mallerstang – you shouldn’t rely on having a phone signal there.
- Use our GPS-guided map: don’t rely on any online map (e.g. Maps.me) for this walk. Many of the trails on the right-hand side of the B6259 road, between Hell Gill Force and Mallerstang are overgrown, undefined and restricted. If you don’t have an OS map, feel free to use our GPS-guided map.
- Explore other nearby national parks: don’t just stop at the Yorkshire Dales. Head to the beautiful Lake District (guides coming soon) or visit the underrated North York Moors National Park.
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