This page began life as a place to highlight bus services that get you to and around English hill country. Since then, it has expanded to include other services of interest too, many of them with a more urban flavour. To get about England, both are needed so some of each will feature on this page for as long as it exists.
Those rural services will continue to be part of what you find here since even national parks have a patchy record when it comes to public transport information provision. The best ones include the Yorkshire Dales with the Dalesbus website and The Friends of DalesBus while Exmoor has the ExploreMoor one. Other parts seemingly need a little help so I’ll not stop doing my bit here.
Listings need maintenance and, while I do have tools to attend to this, please do send me a message should there be any oversights and I’ll set things to rights. Also, any ideas for other services that need adding are more than welcome too. An open mind is essential with endeavours like this.
1: Harrogate – Starbeck – Knaresborough
1A: Harrogate – Starbeck – Knaresborough – Aspin
1B: Harrogate – Starbeck – Knaresborough – Eastfield
1C: Harrogate – Starbeck – Knaresborough – Carmires
A previous day trip to Harrogate quite a few years ago and it was one or more from this collection of services that I chose as conveyance due to their more frequent than trains. That remains the case now and there is a 15 minute frequency on Sundays and it being double that on other days of the week. It is an early morning to late night core service with the version extensions beyond Knaresborough remaining daytime affairs.
10/10A: Macclesfield – Bollington
It appears that a few folk have been coming along here looking for a link to a timetable for this regular bus service so it’s about time that I offered one so here it is. The frequency is half hourly during Monday to Saturday daytimes but it is never less than hourly at other times. Evening services have been curtailed but there are days when it starts early and finishes late too. Bakerbus run later services on Fridays and Saturdays while Arriva does the same on Sundays as well as operating all the other journeys.
11: Altrincham – Wythenshawe – Cheadle – Stockport
11A: Altrincham – Broomwood – Sharston – Gatley – Cheadle – Stockport
It has been over ten years since I last bought a bicycle and this service featured during that search. Then, Bullocks operated buses between Altrincham and Stockport too but have sold out to Stagecoach since then. The 11A (formerly the 371) covers more of the day than the 11 and both combine to offer a high service frequency across a part of Greater Manchester that once was in Cheshire. Evening services are less frequent and attract financial support from TfGM and remain useful just the same.
16: Hanley – Leek – Buxton
For much of the time when this was the 118, this was the southern partner to a service running from Buxton to Sheffield via Bakewell and Baslow. That no longer is the case but this useful service lives on with a four times daily frequency in each direction from Monday to Saturday and two services each way on Sundays. Given that it passes some hilly countryside along its route, it easily earns its place here.
18: Trafford Centre – Sale – Manchester Airport – Altrincham
19: Altrincham – Sale – Manchester Airport
It was my attendance at a training course held at the Premier Inn on Runger Lane that has brought both these services to my attention. It is the second of the pair that is the more frequent on all days of the week (every fifteen minutes during the day versus half hourly; both run hourly in the evenings) with the exception when the frequency is hourly like the first. Both serve the cargo handling centre of Manchester Airport with the 19 having it at one end of its route and the 18 passing through there as it continues to Altrincham via Hale Barns.
19: Macclesfield – Whirley – Prestbury
There was a time when this was an ugly duckling of a route with buses that seen better days being operated by a company that was not known to me. That all changed with the award of a contract to Bowers and the availability of a council-owned low floor bus that formerly plied the roads between Macclesfield and Stockport on the 392/393 service; Hight Peak now operate the contract and largely use their own buses for it but low floor vehicles are dominant these days. The service goes around by Bond Street before continuing along Chester Road as far as Broken Cross from where it runs around by Whirley and Upton Priory before making it to Prestbury. There’s no Sunday service but that doesn’t appear to inhibit its patronage from what I have seen.
20/21/22/25: Keighley – Burnley/Burnley – Keighley
When I first caught sight of this service run by Burnley & Pendle, I thought it not to be of much interest. However, I was to realise later that its intersection with the Pennine Way near Ickornshaw (ick-korn-sher as the locals would have you say it) and Cowling more than made it useful. The hourly daytime frequency on weekdays and the two hourly one on Sundays certainly make it a valuable proposition for my Pennine Way project.
24: Harrogate to Pateley Bridge
825: Harrogate – Brimham Rocks – Pateley Bridge – Lofthouse – Scar House – Middlesmoor
Lower Nidderdale gets a next to hourly bus service from early morning to early evening for much of the week with five return journeys of a Sunday or a bank holiday when service 24 is augmented by service 825. The 825, also known as the Nidderdale Rambler, is part of the DalesBus network and is operated by Arriva Yorkshire at the time of writing. It extends beyond Pateley Bridge to the upper reaches of Nidderdale on Sundays and bank holidays while also passing by Brimham Rocks on its sole return journey from Harrogate where it is fed by an incoming 823 from York (probably the same bus but under a different route number though that needs confirming).
All of the service 24 journeys get their own branding too and that of The Nidderdale Branch appears on timetable information. To my mind, this reflects that a now lost railway line once served this part of the world. Still, the buses get none other than usual Harrogate branding but does that matter when a good service is on offer? After all, modern buses are in use and it appears that they get well used too based on what I saw when I tried it.
27/27A: Macclesfield – Knutsford
This useful rural service is operated during the daytime from Monday to Saturday; following service cuts in 2011, there are no Sunday or bank holiday services any more. Now operated by Springfield Bus & Coach after periods with BakerBus, High Peak and GHA Coaches, the frequency now is two hourly in the main. There was a time when it was hourly but public spending cuts and a business failure have seen the end of those happier days.
28 Middlesbrough – Lingdale
28A Middlesbrough – Stokesley
For all its distinctiveness, it may surprise some that Roseberry Topping is a hill that I have yet to visit, having only passed it recently while on a train destined for Whitby. The aforementioned train service only offers around four each way journeys from Middlesbrough a day so these Monday to Saturday bus services could have a use. They combine to offer a half-hourly service between Middlesbrough and Nunthorpe with the onward extensions seeing an hourly service to such places as Great Ayton, from where a stroll to the top of Roseberry Topping might start.
29: Easingwold – Linton on Ouse – York
29A: Easingwold – Alne – Tollerton – Linton on Ouse – York
31: Easingwold – Alne – Tollerton – York
31X: Kirkbymoorside – Helmsley – Easingwold – York
These are Monday to Saturday services that link York and Easingwold and the 31X also serves the walking territory around Coxwold, Ampleforth and Helmsley in the North York Moors. The frequency of services between York and Easingwold looks good with the North York Moors extension running every two to three hours. As is the case with many rural services these days, the 31X was under threat from funding cuts but appears to have been reprieved.
30: Richmond – Hurgill – Downholme – Grinton – Reeth
Spending cuts implemented in 2014 now mean that this service no longer runs the full length of Swaledale. Those needing to go beyond Reeth to Low Row, Gunnerside, Muker, Thwaite or Keld now need to make use of Little White Bus’s Swaledale Link and the same comment applies to anyone wanting to get to the Pennine Way by bus.
The changes now mean that there are five return journeys between Richmond and Reeth from Monday to Saturday with Little White Bus offering between three and four journeys in each direction further up the dale. In fact, it all looks more standardised than once might have been the case. However, it’s still over to the Dalesbus network for any Sunday services and these are not year round as they tend to operate from Easter through to the middle of October.
41: Chester – Tattenhall – Malpas – Tilston – Whitchurch
41A: Chester – Waverton – Tattenhall – Tilston – Malpas – Whitchurch
It is a shame that both of these timetables have not been pooled to make one because that would make things easier for bus users. What also has to be watched is that different journeys cover different lengths of the route. Whitchurch and Malpas see less of service than other parts and that especially applies on a Sunday when they are not served at all. Careful inspection is needed if those longer Monday to Saturday journeys are sought and there would be ample reward for this given that much of the Sandstone Trail can be accessed with these buses. In fact, the part between Beeston Castle and Maiden Castle is nearly the finest section of the whole route.
42: Congleton – Holmes Chapel – Middlewich – Crewe
If I had wanted to make a journey from Macclesfield to Holmes Chapel without a car, I would have been unsure of what to do until I saw this bus service (yes, a connection needs to be made in Congleton but that’s better than nothing at all). It runs on all days of the week except Sunday and bank holidays with the Congleton-Crewe frequency being two-hourly on Saturdays and hourly on the other days of the week.
43: Manchester Airport – Wythenshawe – West Didsbury – Manchester
44: Manchester Airport – Gatley – East Didsbury – Fallowfield – Manchester
45: Heald Green — East Didsbury — Fallowfield — Manchester
A delayed flight into Manchester Airport had me looking at transport alternatives when I was too late for the last rail replacement bus that would have helped me return home to Macclesfield. As frequent as this service is (and daytime Monday to Saturday frequencies are excellent), it was of little use with its taking nearly an hour to get me near Manchester Piccadilly train station. Even so, it might serve a use yet and others will need it so it goes into this list.
50: Stratford-upon-Avon – Shipston-on-Stour – Chipping Norton
With Chipping Norton being in the heart of the Chiltern Hills and Stratford-upon-Avon’s associations with English literature, this service does have its uses. The seven service does have its timetable eccentricities so it needs careful consultation because of that. Sunday service is less frequent than on other days so that is another thing to note.
58: Macclesfield – Buxton (- Chatsworth)
This one passes right through the heart of the hill country lining the Cheshire-Derbyshire border. The frequency is hourly Monday to Saturday and less frequent on Sundays when two journeys extend to Bakewell and Chatsworth House.
60/60A: Macclesfield – Rainow – New Mills – Hayfield
It is in getting you to places such as Rainow, Kettleshulme or Hayfield that this route really proves its worth when you’re heading into the hill country lining the Cheshire-Derbyshire border or exploring about Kinder Scout. Though timings are regular enough, this is a Monday-Saturday service so you need to find other means if you have a Sunday outing in mind.
61: Buxton – New Mills – Hayfield – Glossop
As if serving Glossop weren’t enough, it’s the passage by Hayfield of this service that guarantees its inclusion on here. The frequency is hourly and new buses were bought for it not so long ago either so my hope is that it’s a service that’ll stay the course. While I cannot claim to have used it yet, its allowing access to Pennine moorland could change that yet.
70: Oswestry – West Felton – Nesscliffe – Montford Bridge – Bicton – Shrewsbury
There was a time when this was a seven day service but funding cuts must have put paid to the Sunday operations since it now is a Monday to Saturday service; now the only Sunday bus connections between Oswestry and Shrewsbury are offered by the National Express 418 coach service from Wrexham to and from London. There are no evening journeys beyond the last one from Shrewsbury to Oswestry at around 19:00 either. That the service level is half-hourly from early morning to late evening makes the omissions all the more amazing. Where are risk takers these days?
72: Skipton – Grassington – Buckden
X43: Manchester – Burnley – Colne – Barnoldswick – Skipton – Grassington
Upper Wharfedale is a delightful spot to explore as I found on my first visit on a spring evening when clouds unexpectedly melted to give way to bright sunshine. Kettlewell is a pure delight but it’s but one wonderful location among many. So, it’s handy to have a regular bus service to get you there and away without having to bother getting a car along narrow lanes.
Service 72 is a Monday to Saturday service while service X43 operates as part of the DalesBus network on Sundays and bank holidays. The former is fairly regular between Skipton and Grassington and less so as far as Buckden.
The X43 is an hourly service that extends journeys between Manchester and Burnley so you now can get from those places into Wharfedale without a change of bus. For those wishing to go further afield, there are further connections available at Grassington with the 874 conveying you further up Wharfedale, for instance.
73: (Barnard Castle – ) Middleton-in-Teesdale – Langdon Beck
The service may be an infrequent one but it remains a useful means for getting into upper Teesdale and aids access to the hill country that stretches between there and Dufton in Cumbria. On Wednesdays, extensions to Barnard Castle are available and a 17:00 service from Langdon Beck runs upon prior request. This is empty countryside so a service like this is invaluable , even if it might be better for it to extend to Alston and other such places as well.
73: Bedale – Leeming Bar – Moreton on Swale – Ainderby Steeple – Northallerton
This is a half hourly daytime Monday to Saturday service that usefully connects with services between Bedale and Wensleydale. Those are of interest of anyone fancying a walk in that dale or even to embark on an outing that is a little more sedentary than that.
74/74A: Ilkley – Bolton Abbey – Grassington
874: Wakefield – Leeds – Otley – Ilkley – Bolton Abbey – Grassington – Buckden
There are a lot of nice places to explore along the part of Wharfedale served by either of these services. Service 74 used to be a Monday to Saturday service but council funding cuts mean that it is limited to summer Saturdays with service 74A operated by North Yorkshire Council on certain weekdays. Thankfully, service 874 operates year round on Sundays and bank holidays and is part of the DalesBus network.
75/76: Darlington to and from Barnard Castle
95/96: Barnard Castle to and from Middleton-in-Teesdale
Both of these used to be operated by Arriva following their takeover of Stagecoach’s Darlington operations. In fact, the same bus used to run all the way from Darlington to Middleton-in-Teesdale and vice versa rather than there being a change in Barnard Castle. However, things haven’t remained like that and Scarlet Band now operate the 95 and 96 while Arriva continue with the 75 and 76, adding in a change where once there was none unless you go with the 84, 84A or 85 from Bishop Auckland instead or if the occasional extension to Darlington suffices.
78: Keswick – Seatoller
Also known as the Borrowdale Rambler, this service lands you right at the end of the dale for easy access to the central fells. Other than high season when it runs half-hourly on weekdays, the frequency is hourly. Weekday services start early in the morning and continue until the evening and, while Sunday services are more limited, the timetable remains more than usable. Open-topped double-deckers are in common usage during the summer, though use of the top deck might be for the braver of disposition given it follows a road, overlooked by trees most of the way, that is narrow and hilly in places.
80: Lancaster – Ingleton
81A/81B: Lancaster – Kirkby Lonsdale
For me, journeys to and from the Yorkshire Dales have nearly always gone around by Leeds, so much so that it is hard-wired into my brain by now. Of course, there have been exceptions and two had me going via Bradford. What had me adding the above service 80 here is its opening up of a journey option involving getting from Macclesfield to Lancaster on every day apart from Sunday. The latter restriction does not apply to the far more regular Kirkby Lonsdale services that themselves make possible walks along the course of he River Lune.
88: Knutsford – Wilmslow – Altrincham
Following a request from a visitor, here’s the timetable for a service that seems to bring a fair few folk here. There is no Sunday service but the half hourly daytime frequency every other day of the week makes it useful and it passes runs by the Viewing Park and Cargo Centre of Manchester Airport too, though there is more of a walk than other ways of getting to those places.
108: Leek – Waterhouses – Ashbourne
There was a time when this ran all of the way from Macclesfield to Ashbourne but that now longer is the case and we get six return journeys a day from Monday to Saturday. That is an improvement on the three or four that bus users used to have. There is no Sunday service though so and that’s not so good.
109: Macclesfield – Bosley – Leek
This is the northern portion of what was the old route 108, albeit with the addition of a circuit around Leek town to make up for losing a dedicated town service, and the route splitting also brings more journeys each way on Monday to Saturday. The times are good for commuters too, unlike the previous arrangement, and we get six return journeys a day instead of three. Again, there is no Sunday service and that was lost during 2011 anyway.
156: Gayle – Hawes – Aysgarth – Leyburn – Newton Le Willows – Crakehall – Bedale
856: Gayle – Hawes – Aysgarth – Leyburn – Bedale – Northallerton
Until spring of 2014, there used to be a route 157 that complemented the 156 and gave a near hourly service but we lost that because of council funding cuts so a two hourly Monday to Saturday service has to suffice. It is the 856 that operates on Sundays and bank holidays the year round these days and it is part of the DalesBus network too.
170: Chesterfield – Baslow – Bakewell
One winter night during my early explorations of Derbyshire, I went home via Chesterfield and Sheffield. It wasn’t a direct route but bus times and the chill of that evening meant that I got going home anyway I could. This was the service that took me as far as Chesterfield and it is an hourly affair running during the daytime on seven days of the week. With its passing by Baslow, it is a good option for those wishing to explore the edges near there on foot so it gets into this list.
171: Chesterfield – Bakewell – Youlgreave – Middleton – Hartington
While out on a walk between Monyash and Bakewell, I spotted this Monday to Saturday service’s timings at bus stops in Alport. The backbone of the service is the section between Bakewell and Youlgreave and there’s a near hourly frequency too. Extensions to Chesterfield and Hartington are infrequent while Middleton does far better and that helpfully is not far from Youlgreave anyway. The Chesterfield connections are possible by the bus running to and from Bakewell operating the 170 without needing any change of bus. Some journeys on service 172 run between Bakewell and Matlock via Youlgreave so these are in this timetable too. It is all mix and match in this part of Derbyshire.
172: Bakewell – Stanton in Peak – Winster – Matlock
There are other ways of getting between Bakewell and Matlock by bus but this route gets a mention since some of its journeys go around by Youlgreave. The frequency is not quite hourly so you need to survey running times if you are planning on using it, and more likely then because of where it goes on its way between the two places unless a certain impatience has overtaken you.
173: Castleton – Tideswell – Litton – Bakewell
This bus service conveys folk through pleasing Derbyshire Dales countryside as it goes its merry way. Monsal Head is another of the places served but Tideswell has much to commend it too as do the two termini. As with many a rural bus service, having a copy of the bus timetable with you on a walk could help you get about without worry.
180: York – Scackleton – Castle Howard
181: York – Castle Howard
182: Castle Howard – Coneysthorpe – Malton
183: Castle Howard – Malton
194: Malton – Hovingham – Nuunington – Harome – Helmsley
195: Malton – Hovingham – Helmsley
Curiously, these services are bound up together in the same timetable leaflet from Stephensons of Easingwold. The first four of these take walkers into the Howardian Hills from York and Malton, principally to Castle Howard but also serving several picturesque villages in the area. It runs several times a day from Monday to Saturday. Services 194 and 195 serve the northern side of the Howardian Hills and link Malton, Hovingham and Helmsley. All of these pass through alluring walking country and face an uncertain future in these austere times. Let’s hope that a usable service level survives.
200: Wilmslow – Styal – Manchester Airport
On the few times that I have used the service, it didn’t seem particularly well used. I was left with the impression that it was one of those little known services that are operated with council and National Trust support (it calls at Quarry Bank Mill, an NT property). The service runs hourly seven days a week from around 09:00 until around 18:00 and serves Wilmslow’s train station. There is a rail alternative but it was running at almost the same time as the bus service when I last checked, a daft state of affairs. There was a time when service times were staggered, a more sensible approach, and it would be good to return to the way it was before.
236: Glossop – Woolley Bridge – Stalybridge – Ashton
237: Glossop – Hadfield – Tintwistle – Stalybridge – Ashton
These services used to extend as far as Droylsden and Manchester but that no longer is the case so you need to get as far as Stalybridge to make the most of them or use them to reach out into surrounding areas from Glossop and Hadfield. After all, there’s the nearby Dark Peak moorland awaiting exploration as well as the somewhat blighted Longdendale Valley as a breathing space of sorts. Both make the area worthy of visiting and it’s all very handy for many people too.
250/X50: Manchester – Trafford Centre
It takes a little more effort to get from Macclesfield to the Trafford Centre shopping complex by public transport so it is not one of my haunts when other places are more accessible. Nevertheless, there are many who will travel there so this service would be useful to them so it gets included here. Between both routes, there is seven day coverage from early morning until late evening and with a decent frequency too.
267: Berwick-upon-Tweed to and from Wooler via Etal
464: Berwick-upon-Tweed to and from Wooler via Lowick
Wooler is a rather sizeable little place with the Cheviots on its doorstep and does have useful bus services linking it to the outside world. This pair, operated on a council contract by Borders Buses, almost provides two hourly connections to the East Coast Mainline at Berwick; buses on both services appear to depart at near enough the same time from Berwick-upon-Tweed or Wooler. Saying that, there are no Sunday services and that makes it a bit tricky to get away after a weekend up there, unless you bring your own car or get a taxi.
272: Sheffield – Hathersage – Bradwell – Castleton
Very usefully, tickets on this hourly service are valid for train journeys and vice versa. It remains to be seen how long this arrangement lasts but it gives the sort of flexibility that is seldom seen in the world of public transport in Britain. It is the sort of farsightedness that makes scenic locations like the Hope Valley easier to explore, especially when train service frequencies are two hourly.
289: Northwich – Knutsford – Altrincham
The timetable for this service is not so regular but there are at least four departures each way on every day except Sunday. There once was a useful 19:05 departure from Altrincham, whose passage through Knutsford of a wonderful Friday evening one May reminded me of the existence of this useful council-supported bus service that currently is operated by Springfield Bus & Coach.
358: Stockport – Offerton – Marple – New Mills – Hayfield (- Glossop)
360: Stockport – Hazel Grove – Hayfield
Of these, the 358 is the one that you are most likely to meet unless you start walks at 06:00 or end them at around 0:00 when the 360 functioning more as a way to get a bus to and from the Hayfield terminus at those extreme ends of the day. Service frequency is approximately hourly so it cannot be described as anything other than reasonably respectable. That Hayfield is situated near Kinder Scout and other such Dark Peak moors cannot make this service anything other than useful for exploring those parts.
368: Wythenshawe Hospital – Wythenshawe – Cheadle Hulme – Stockport
369: Manchester Airport – Wythenshawe – Cheadle Hulme – Stockport
X69: Manchester Airport – Cheadle Hulme – Stockport
Stockport gets regular bus connections to Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport because of these services. The 368 and 369 are half-hourly for much of the period of their operation with the X69 running early in the morning or late at night. Of the three, the 368 only runs from Monday to Saturday though the others are seven day services. Journey times depend on the time of day though the range is from 35 to 45 minutes, not so disgraceful really.
375: Mellor – Marple – Bosden Farm – Hazel Grove – Stepping Hill – Stockport
383: Stockport – Marple – Romiley – Stockport
384: Stockport – Romiley – Marple – Stockport
A hole in a train timetable was the cause of my using the last of these to get from Marple to Stockport and I was at my destination in around 30 minutes, something that highlights how near the two places are to each other. As it happened, I was travelling on a Sunday but weekday travel times aren’t that much longer either. Another point in favour of 383/384 is their frequency of operation and the length of the day that is covered by each. In contrast, the 375 is a daytime only service that runs along a less direct route (takes much longer too) than the others on an hourly timetable. Well, you cannot say that Marple isn’t well served by public transport.
418: Alnwick – Beadnell – Bamburgh – Belford
The 401 and 411 ceased to exist recently and this is the partial replacement. Service frequency has been reduced to the point where I wonder why it still is needed and it only goes between Alnwick and Belford with no extensions as far as Berwick-upon-Tweed like there once was. It’s a Monday to Saturday affair too.
435: Shrewsbury – Ludlow
A recent walk around Church Stretton had me witnessing the passage of buses operating this service through the town. The frequency is hourly apart from one variation on schooldays and it serves Craven Arms too. There’s no Sunday service though but it remains useful for any gaps in train timetables on other days.
436: Shrewsbury – Much Wenlock – Bridgnorth
An article by Cameron McNeish in TGO has me pondering a visit to Much Wenlock to explore the nearby Wenlock Edge. Checking out public transport connections revealed this hourly Monday to Saturday bus service that also connections with the 890 from or to Wolverhampton at Bridgnorth. With transport options sorted, the next step is see how long a walk down the aforementioned edge would be if I were to continue all of the way to Craven Arms. That could be interesting.
441: Buxton – Newhaven – Ashbourne
442: Buxton – Hartington – Ashbourne
Dovedale isn’t a part of the world that I have got around to exploring very much just yet; so far, I spent a mere hour exploring a snippet of the Tissington Trail near Ashbourne and there’s more around there than that. Making use of these useful bus services should help to address that oversight and the Peak District is deserving of more of my attention too. That there is an hourly to two hourly service running between Buxton and Ashbourne should help too though there is only one each way journey on the 441, which is a partial replacement from the withdrawn 42 and looks more like a shopping trip service for folk living along the A515 now. Otherwise, it is the 442 that goes around by Crowdicote, Longnor, Hartington and Tissington that is the mainstay now and these are places to which visits are owed.
470: Alnwick to and from Wooler via Chillingham
473: Alnwick to and from Wooler via Whittingham
Another useful set of services that get you to and from Wooler, these are operated by Travelsure, another local company, on another council contract. An aspect shared with their Berwick-upon-Tweed counterparts is their regularity. The lack of a Sunday service and a last departure at 17:00 are other features shared with the 267/464. The fact that Alnwick itself is a few miles away from a train station (Alnmouth is the nearest), is another consideration but that won’t matter if you’re spending a few days in the area, something that it deserves.
500: Keighley – Hebden Bridge
663: Keighley – Oxenhope
664: Keighley – Stanbury
665: Keighley – Oakworth
It’s been a while since I sampled anything like one of these and a recent spring clean returned these services to my notice. The 500 took me from Hebden Bridge to Haworth one Sunday and it’s good to hear that it’s hourly ways are going still. Collected with the others, there is an excellent bus service through the Worth Valley. Some may go for the literary connections and the heritage railway but there are hills to trample too. Without those, none would find their place on here.
505: (Windermere -) Ambleside – Coniston
During the summer season, this service started from Windermere but it’s sadly not nearly as useful when Ambleside is the favoured starting point for the winter. Timings are not so useful for that longer day among the fells either so some enhancement for next year’s summer season would be ideal. However, if you are already stationed in the area, then timings are probably fine for you and it will have its uses.
508: (Carlisle -) Penrith – Glenridding – Patterdale (- Windermere – Bowness)
Ullswater might be the attraction for a lot of the people who use this service but it’s what sets off the lake so well that would be the draw for me. After all, Helvellyn is but one of them and there’s an empty quarter to the east too that offers parts away from madding crowds to the more intrepid wanderer.
The core of this route is the section between Penrith and Patterdale and that once was served mainly by a route numbered 108 on six days of the week with Sundays getting a service during the high season. Now, it is to be known as the 508 instead.
In addition to Ullswater and its surrounding delights, there are to be extensions to Carlisle in the north and Windermere, via the pretty Kirkstone Pass, in the south for the 2014 season. From April into November, Saturday and Sunday services follow that pattern as do Monday to Friday ones during school holidays. In addition, the service level has been increased with an hourly frequency on offer at certain times in the day. Even with that, you still need to watch out for the last buses in the day since it resolutely remains a daytime service with no evening journeys at all.
516: Ambleside – Dungeon Ghyll
The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel is at the base of the well known Langdale Pikes so this service easily gets the moniker of “Langdale Rambler”. In spite of the timetable stating otherwise for some services at the weekend, this service does restrict itself to Ambleside as one of its termini. It’s less than desirable to have to change there after coming from Windermere and further away but that seems to be the way. Even so, the service itself is a useful one, particularly when you consider how much a hotel stay in Langdale might cost you and how good the hill country is around those parts.
546: Shrewsbury – Pulverbatch
Until I saw its mention in a leaflet about walking along the The Ancient Portway in Shropshire, I hadn’t been aware of this bus service and the walking options that it makes available. This is a Monday to Saturday and it’s frequency is near enough to hourly, though it only runs in the day time and not into the evenings. Still, it opens up opportunities that may not have been there only for its existence.
552/553: Shrewsbury – Bishop’s Castle
Some county councils don’t do so well with providing a comprehensive collection of bus timetables and it seems that Shropshire is one of them. The result is that this timetable is a home made effort but I hope it remains useful nonetheless. The reason for its inclusion is Bishop’s Castle’s location in the heart of Shropshire’s hill country together with its relative proximity to the Offa’s Dyke Path. Add the fact that it pass the Stiper Stones as well and its usefulness becomes undoubted.
581: Settle – Ingleton – Kirkby Lonsdale
The only occasion that I have to use this service was after a hike over Ingleborough from Ribblehead but Ingleton’s proximity to delightful open hill country festooned with limestone pavement makes a service worth knowing. At either end, there are further public transport connections: by train from Settle or on the Stagecoach bus service to Lancaster from Kirkby Lonsdale. They make the Monday to Saturday service even more workable for a walk and there’s service 80 to Lancaster too for even more flexibility.
599: Bowness – Windermere – Ambleside (- Grasmere)
In the summer, this runs every twenty minutes and extends to Grasmere. For this winter, the frequency is hourly and the service is restricted to daytimes from Monday to Saturday. It remains a useful complement to the 555 and, given the hill country accessible from Ambleside or Windermere, it merits a mention here. That extension to Grasmere makes it more noteworthy again.
T01: Alnwick – Shilbottle – Warkworth – Amble
It’s predecessor was a Monday to Saturday service that had gone unknown to me until a visit to Northumberland that took in the details of Alnwick and Warkworth of a hot sunny Saturday in May. It is operated by Travelsure, an independent operator based in Belford, and serves the above locations with four return journeys a day.
X14: Newcastle – Morpeth – Rothbury – Thropton
As far as I can remember, this Monday-Saturday service didn’t always have this route and neither was it an hourly timetable either. Arriva even has given it MAX branding and added in the section between Newcastle and Morpeth that was not there before. That makes it far more useful than it used to be, never a bad thing given the hill country around its final destinations. Now, all that’s needed for a day outing from further afield is for those rail connections to work and that becomes easier with a Newcastle start for a bus journey.