The walk involves a total of approximately 52 miles (84 km) with an overall height gain of around 7,700 feet (2,350 m) and an equal amount of descent of course, as it is a circular walk.
The toughest section is likely to be the day that includes the ascent of Great Shunner Fell and although this involves a long steady climb, it is not steep, the path is generally good and is even paved for long sections to protect the peat bogs.
The walk should be well within the limitations of a regular walker or someone with a good level of fitness. The individual day walks themselves are not too arduous, but the fact that they come one after the other in quick succession does mean you need to be adequately prepared.
The walk is designed around the four villages of Aysgarth, Grinton, Keld and Hawes and as such is generally considered to be a four day walk. This four day itinerary also means the walk is broken down into four equal stages of about 13 miles (21 km) each day.
The traditional starting point of the Herriot Way is Aysgarth.
This guide describes the walk as starting and ending in Aysgarth as this is the way most walkers will proceed. However, as a circular walk, there is no specific need to start here; you could start at any point along the walk.
The walk, unlike most multi-day walks, is circular; the traditional start and end point being in Aysgarth in the heart of Wensleydale – possibly the most famous of all Yorkshire Dales.