St Hilda’s Way

4 day, English Heritage, North East England, Yorkshire & The Humber

St Hilda’s Way – 43 miles – 4 days – Hinderwell to Whitby Abbey. St Hilda’s Way celebrates the life of St Hild, Anglo-Saxon princess, spiritual leader, arts enthusiast and peacemaker, by visiting places dedicated to her (including eight churches) in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside. In 664 she hosted the famous Synod of Whitby as the first abbess of the double monastery of Streonshalh, now known as Whitby AbbeyIt is said that seabirds in Whitby still dip their wings in honour of her.

St Hilda’s Way (shorter version) – 22 miles – 2 days – Danby to Whitby. You follow the River Esk, Yorkshire’s only salmon river, to finish at Whitby Abbey.

St Hilda’s Way Website

£5 Guidebook available here 

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Danby Dale

Longlands Lane and Danby Dale

St Hilda’s Church, Danby

St Hilda’s Churchyard, Danby overlooking Danby Dale

Stone Cross Remains on Danby Beacon

Stepping Stones, Lealholm

River Esk just beyond Lealholm

Nicholas Postgate Memorial Stone, Egton Bridge

Nicholas Polegate Window, by Tom Denny, in St Hedda’s RC Church, Egton Bridge

Apse in St Hedda’s RC Church, Egton Bridge

River Esk before Egton Bridge

Old St Hilda’s Churchyard, Egton

St Hilda’s Church, Egton

Font of St Hilda’s Church, Egton

A typical view of the North York Moors

Esk Valley near Grosmont

All Saints, Ugglebarnby

First glimpse of Whitby Abbey at Sneaton


St Hilda’s Church, Sneaton

Whitby Harbour looking up at Whitby Abbey

St Hilda Statue, Priory of St Hilda, Whitby

Convent Priory of St Hilda, Whitby

Statue of St Hilda, Priory of St Hilda, Whitby

St Hilda’s Parish Church, Whitby

West Window of St Hilda’s Parish Church, Whitby

St Hilda’s Church, Whitby

Approaching Whitby along Cleveland Way

Caedmon’s Cross, Whitby

Triple decker pulpit of St Mary’s Church, Whitby

Sanctuary of St Mary’s Church, Whitby,

St Mary’s Church, Whitby

St Mary’s and Whitby Abbey

Train to Danby for start of Day 1 and Egton Bridge for start of Day 2. Or taxi if parking car in Whitby. 
The train line running alongside the route allows easy transport back to the start of each day’s pilgrimage, although there are only four trains per day so check timetable carefully.

Alternative Start
If wanting to start your pilgrimage at St Hilda’s Church, Danby, rather than the train station, you could drive there, or get a taxi from Danby station (book in advance). Otherwise, follow the alternative walking route to the Church from the station (adding 4 extra miles (2 hrs) to your first day), or miss out the church altogether and walk from Danby station straight up to Danby Beacon, where there are the remains of a stone cross.

Alternative End
At Crowdy Hall Farm on the outskirts of Whitby, you have a choice of a fork in the road. One route goes directly to Whitby Abbey and stays along the top on roads, the other drops down to walk along the Harbour, and then climbs the 199 Steps to Whitby Abbey from below. The main marked route also gives the option of walking around Whitby to discover more places with a dedication to St Hilda (this adds on an extra 4 miles, 2hrs). Otherwise, turn from the train station straight towards Whitby Abbey.

Optional first night in Danby (Duke of Wellington or Fox & Hounds). Then at the end of the first day’s walking, Egton Bridge (Horseshoe Hotel) or Grosmont overnight. Or Whitby if nothing available.


Check opening times of churches (particularly rural) to avoid disappointment. Or perhaps call their churchwardens if you want access.

Footpaths, fields, some roads and uphill walking.



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