The Coast to Coast walk is very popular and accommodation is limited in the small villages along the route. Many walkers resort to carrying heavy camping gear but independent hostels and bunkhouses are a great alternative. Hostels, bunkhouses and camping barns provide information from staff and fellow travelers along with self catering kitchens, drying rooms and often private bed rooms. The most famous route was devised by Wainwright and travels from St Bees Head in the Lake District to Robin Hood’s Bay on the Yorkshire Coast.
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk is generally walked from West to East, starting on the Cumbrian coast at St Bees Head and finishing on the Yorkshire Coast at Robing Hoods Bay. This page gives details of the accommodation in this West to East order. We also have pages on this website showing accommodation along the C2C Cycle Route and C2C Mountain Bike Route.
Suggested itinerary for walking Wainwright’s Coast to Coast in 12 days staying at Independent Hostels and bunkhouses
The first day’s walk of 14 miles from St Bees Head is typically completed at Ennerdale Bridge. Following the independent hostel itinerary, you need to walk a further 4 miles along the route to reach the small isolated hamlet of Ennerdale. Which makes the first day 19 miles. This extra effort is well rewarded at LOW GILLERTHWAITE FIELD CENTRE where an evening can be spent by the open fire or enjoying a BBQ in the stunning isolation of this valley. The centre’s bunkhouse-style accommodation straddles Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk and welcomes individual walkers and groups, there are small bunk rooms and self-catering facilities. Alternative accommodation for your first evening would be WILD WOOL BARN which is closer to Ennerdale Bridge than Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre, lying just north of Ennerdale Water about 1 mile from the path.
starts 4 miles ahead of the normal itinerary making a 10 mile walk to Rosthwaite. Small parties and larger groups can choose to make a detour off the Trail along the popular valley of Borrowdale for 1.7 miles to the isolated High House, giving a total day’s mileage of just under 12 miles. HIGH HOUSE provides bunkhouse-style self-catering accommodation and small bunkrooms. It has an overnight charge of £145 which covers a group of 1 to 26 people! An alternative to High House is BOWDERSTONE BUNKHOUSE, a small groups-only bunkhouse which lies around 1/2 mile north of the C2C route. Leave the route at Rosthwaite and walk along the road for a bit, then take a footpath that leads you to this enchanting bunkhouse. If you are walking in a group of 5-12 Bowderstone would make an ideal stop-over.
follow the route from Rosthwaite to Grasmere (9 miles) then head south for approx 2 miles until you get to the village of Rydal. Here you have a choice of independent hostels. There is RYDAL HALL which offers a groups-only bunkhouse (sleeps up to 26), a campsite, eco pods or B&B in the main hall. Alternatively, the OLD CAFE BUNKROOM may suit you better. There is a self-contained micro bunk room, with one set of bunks, a small kitchenette and dining area. Bunkhouse guests are welcome to enjoy the facilities of the main guest house where B&B rooms can also be booked.
Another option for your third night’s accommodation is ELTERWATER HOSTEL. Leave the path at Grasmere and head southwest. Some careful map reading will take you to Elterwater and the comfortable hostel geared up to the needs of walkers.
From Grasmere the day begins with the climb up to the saddle above Grisedale Tarn and descent along Grisedale Valley to Patterdale, a total of 8 miles. SHEPHERDS CROOK BUNKHOUSE is in Patterdale five minutes walk from the route.
from Patterdale to Shap is 16 miles and usually takes about 6-8 hours. Walkers are rewarded at the end of the day by a stay at the very comfortable NEW ING LODGE. New Ing Lodge, high up on the Cumbrian fells, has warm carpeted rooms, a log burner, a bar, and delicious evening meals. A great place to relax and exchange stories with other walkers.
An alternative stopover on day 5 is REAGILL VILLAGE HALL. This would make the day’s walk a total of about 19 miles. Leave the route at Shap and walk for another 3 miles to the sleepy village of Reagil
from Shap to Kirkby Stephen is 20 miles. A longer walk than the previous day but over much easier ground. KIRKBY STEPHEN HOSTEL is in the centre of the village and provides a warm welcome to walkers. It has rooms for 2 to 8 people and a range of restaurants, cafés, pubs and takeaways on the doorstep. There are also food shops to stock up on food. As well as self-catering if you would rather stay in and enjoy the hostel chatter.
Kirkby Stephen to Reeth (21 miles) then stay on the Walk for a further half a mile beyond Reeth to Low Fremington. Here join the road to Fremington where the Dales Bike Centre (formally in the independent hostel network) provides accommodation. Depending on which guide book you read Dales Bike Centre is either exactly on route at Fremington or 100 metres off route if looking at the footpath near Grinton. It’s close by regardless. The next morning you can rejoin the route just down the road at Grinton Bridge. Total days mileage is 22 miles.
is 18 miles to BROMPTON ON SWALE BUNKBARN, 3 miles east of Richmond and less than half a mile from the path. Brompton on Swale Bunkbarn provides duvets and sheet sleeping bags that can be hired. Cooking facilities are available (bring £1 for the meter). Ideal for lightweight walkers. Please note that Richmond Camping Barn, which was situated 3 miles west of Richmond is now closed.
has a total distance of 23 miles and ends with a three-quarter mile diversion from the route to reach the next Independent Hostel at COTE GHYLL MILL (also known as Osmotherly Youth Hostel). Follow the route to Ingleby Arncliffe then walk a further two miles along the route to Mount Grace Wood. Using careful map reading, leave the C2C route at a hairpin bend in the path at Mount Grace Wood and take a three-quarter mile diversion via Chapel Wood Farm towards Osmotherly. Turn left when you reach the road and look out for signs for Osmotherly Youth Hostel.
If you decide to continue to Bank House Farm the next day, this involves two very long day walks in a row. So you might like to spend a rest day at Cote Ghyll Mill before embarking on exploring the delights and cafés of the pretty village of Osmotherly. It’s well worth a visit.
Rejoining the route north of Cod Beck Reservoir, a further 26 miles will take you to a location one mile before Glaisdale, where, using careful map reading, you can leave the route to take a one-mile diversion to BANK HOUSE FARM HOSTEL accommodation. Bank House Farm Hostel has also offered to collect you from Glaisdale and deliver you back the next day for free if you eat in The Arncliffe Arms in Glaisdale. The total mileage for this day is getting on for 28 miles. This includes the walk to the trail from Cote Ghyll Mill and the walk to Bank House Farm.
Another option on day 10 is a night at the YORKSHIRE CYCLE HUB. Situated north of the route in Great Fryup Dale. Once again careful map reading will lead you to this new purpose bunkhouse that is geared up to the needs of walkers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Back up to the Route for a mile, and then continue to Robin Hood’s bay 19 miles away, where THE OLD SCHOOL HOUSE provides 4 and 6 bedrooms when not booked by a group. Buses from Robin Hood’s Bay are available to take you to SCARBOROUGH HOSTEL. The X93 from Middlesborough goes via Whitby and onto Robin Hood’s Bay. It then passes through Burniston and Clougton before arriving in Scarborough. Either Scalby or the Scarborough Railway Station stops are good for Scarborough Youth Hostel. In the summer months, there are 2 per hour.
Accommodation on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk gets booked quickly and many walkers and cyclists carry heavy camping gear. However, it is possible to walk the route using Independent Hostels.
This article shows the location of the hostels and gives suggested day-by-day itineraries. Full details of the route and other resources can be found on the LDWA website. The Walking Englishman’s website is also very interesting with photographic journals of his two C2C walks. In 1994 he walked it from East to West and in 1999 he walked it again in the opposite direction.