Saltaire to Ilkley via Ilkley Moor

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This walk can easily be reached by car, but for those living near to the excellent West Yorkshire rail network it may be more convenient and certainly more pleasant, to travel by train to the start of the walk at Saltaire. The walk starts by crossing the Leeds - Liverpool Canal and the River Aire, before heading up Shipley Glen.

After the glen the route takes the Millennium Way and Dales Way Link path, first of all on a bridleway, then on a good footpath over Ilkley Moor. The highest point of the walk is near the Twelve Apostles stone circle. After that the path descends gradually to Ilkley, where the train takes you back to Saltaire or anywhere else you may have a fancy to go.

Saltaire Village was built by Sir Titus Salt for his workers and is a World Heritage Site. The houses are light and airy and Sir Titus stipulated that there were to be no pubs within the 'square mile'. Instead he built chapels and libraries. Salts Mill once faced demolition, but is now a cross between a posh shop and an art gallery, which is a must-do for David Hockney fans.

Shipley Glen has been a playground for the people of the Bradford area from the nineteenth century and still is. You may see families, picnickers, horse-riders, stunt cyclists, rock-climbers and dog-walkers all sharing the same space. There is an interesting visitors' centre at Bracken Hall (signed), near the start of the glen.

The moor section is at its best on a clear day; look for the 'golf ball' aerials of Menwith Hill, which will probably not survive as long as the Twelve Apostles stone circle has. The circle of twelve stones was probably larger at one time, with up to twenty stones. The whole area must have been hugely important to our Neolithic ancestors and there are several examples of stones with ancient carvings nearby, the Badger Stone perhaps being the best-known. Also near our route is another carved stone, the Swastika Stone, which is possibly Iron Age.

The route drops down to Ilkley via the ancient well at White Wells, which was a spa in the nineteenth century and which now has a café and visitor centre. Ilkley is a town full of delights, ranging from a branch of Betty's Tea Rooms (of Harrogate fame), David Lishman's butcher's shop (one of Rick Stein's 'Food Heroes') and a fascinating museum.

All that and a train ride as well!

England - North England - Yorkshire - Pennines


Ancient Monument, Cafe, Church, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Moor, Museum, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Tea Shop, Toilets
1/9/2020 - Alison Hayward

Good walk with some great views. Easy to follow instructions. Plenty of interest on the route. Easily accessible for those using public transport.

9/17/2015 - Andy Booth

Great walk although I managed to lose the path between WM3 and 4. I followed a path down to the stream and through an open gateway but it became Saltaire Road and I ended up on Otley Road. However, I just turned right down Otley Road and then went right again on the treacherous Spring Lane (20mph? Yeah right!)until meeting up with WM4 by Golcar Farm. The direction post just before WM6 no longer exists and once over the stile there is a defined path heading straight towards the pylon in the picture and carries on diagonally before veering right towards a narrow gap in the wall at the top of the field which brings you onto the main road. Did the walk on 15/09/15 in glorious sunshine and stopped at Dick Hudsons for a rather expensive pint (£4.05?) but the views of Bradford from the garden were stunning. Also the views from the Twelve Apostles in all directions were magnificent!

10/22/2013 - peter hillas

I re-jigged this walk. We caught the bus from Bradford to Shipley Market Place and then walked down to the canal and on to Saltair, following Paul's route from there. We enjoyed the walk immensely as the directions were very good. We came across one obstacle at waymark 3. At the end of Shipley Glen the metal gate on the right had been locked by someone (?) with a coded bicycle lock so one had to climb over it. At Gill Head (before waymark 8 see map) you can divert to the right thus avoiding the steep steps that lead to Whitewells. It’s a little longer but those steps are very steep if your joints are past their sell by date like ours. Thanks, Paul. This is one of my favorite walks to the moor. Loved it!

12/4/2010 - Walkingworld Administrator

Our thanks to Paul Shorrock for his update and replacement photo for this walk. December 2010. Adrian (Admin).

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