(distances in km)
The route passes through a variety of landscapes including tidal marsh, open moorland and limestone gorges. It begins to the south of the Ribble estuary, the route then runs through Preston and on to the historic town of Clitheroe. Next it heads up into the Pennines to reach its source on remote Cam Fell.
The idea of opening a walk along the Ribble called the Ribble Way was first suggested back in 1967 at the inaugural meeting of the Preston and Fylde branch of the Ramblers' Association. The Guardian reported in 1972 that the Ramblers Association were planning Britain's first riverside long footpath called the Ribble Way. At that time, the route being discussed was 103 kilometres (64 mi) from the estuary of the River Ribble at Walmer Bridge close to Preston to its source near the farmhouse of Far Gearstones in the West Riding of Yorkshire fells; just 45 kilometres (28 mi) of the planned route was designated right-of-way. The idea eventually attracted official support and was opened in 1985. The Ribble Valley is an area of 632 square kilometres (244 sq mi) of natural beauty from the north-west coast to the Lake District. The official course of the Ribble Way that is marked on the Ordnance Survey (2010) OS Openspace maps starts at Longton, the mouth of the River Ribble just west of Preston, 5 metres (16 ft) above mean sea level and finishes at Grove head, just north of Cam Fell, 558 metres (1,831 ft) above mean sea level. Grove head is actually the source of the Gayle Beck which feeds into the River Ribble near Ribblehead.
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The official start of the Ribble Way is the Dolphin Inn on Marsh Lane in Longton.
- Frenchwood
- Little Town
- Winckley Hall
- Horrocksford
- Paythorne
- Rathmell
- Giggleswick
- Stainforth
- Horton in Ribblesdale
- Chapel-le-Dale
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- "Ribble Way" (pdf). Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
- Paul Lawrence and John Sparshatt (2010). The UK Trailwalker's Handbook (8th ed.). Cicerone Press Limited. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-85284-579-7.
- Martin Collins (2003). The Pennine Way: a practical guide for walkers. Brit Long-distance Series (2nd ed.). Cicerone Press Limited. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-85284-386-1.
- "Rights of way – long distance routes". Walking. North Yorkshire County Council. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
- Morris, Michael (6 October 1972). "Ribble Way planned". The Guardian.
- Purcell, Steve (12 February 2005). "Ribble rouser; Steve Purcell goes back to his Lancashire roots". The Mirror. p. 56. Retrieved 10 October 2010.(subscription required)
- OS Openspace (Online) (Map) (2010 ed.). Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
- Graham Dean (2006). "The Ribble Way". Graham and Lin Dean's home page. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- "Ribble Way". Ramblers. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
- Gladys Sellers (1993). Ribble Way: A 70 Mile Recreational Footpath Close to the Banks of the River from Sea to Source. R. B. Evans illustrator (2nd ed.). Cicerone Press. ISBN 978-1-85284-107-2.
- Dennis Kelsall and Jan Kelsall (2005). The Ribble Way. Brit Long-distance Series (2nd ed.). Cicerone Press Limited. ISBN 978-1-85284-456-1.
- Alan Shepley and Graham Wilkinson (2005). Walking the Ribble Way: A Guide from Sea to Source. Wood Education Programme Trust. ISBN 978-0-9541809-1-1.
- Jack Keighley (1999). Walks in Ribble Country. British Walking Series. Cicerone Press Limited. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-85284-284-0.
- Andy Latham (2010). Landscapes of the Ribble. frances lincoln ltd. pp. 10,94,100. ISBN 978-0-7112-3028-6.
- "Ribble Way". Trails and Long Routes. Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
- Roy McKee (2009). "Ribble Way". National Trail Guides UK. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
- "The Ribble Way" (PDF 10.5MiB). Foxhill Barn Bed and Breakfast. Lancashire County Council. 2005. Retrieved 8 October 2010.