Walks in West Yorkshire

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West Yorkshire has great access to much natural beauty, whilst also being surrounded by historical relics – particularly those of industry such as mills. It covers a total of 783 square miles and with a population of over 2,000,000 people. West Yorkshire also has a selection of great cities to visit – Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford – and all three have much to offer in terms of walking, as does the Calderdale and Kirklees areas.

Here’s some of the reasons you might want to visit West Yorkshire:

  • Bingley Five Rise Locks
  • Saltaire – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Ilkley Moor inc. Cow and Calf
  • The rivers Aire, Calder, Hebble, Spen and Worth

Some other well known landmarks include:

  • Emley Moor Mast
  • Bronte Parsonage
  • Hardcastle Crags
  • Castle Hill

Whilst West Yorkshire doesn’t have any National Parks, it does have plenty of moorland including the aforementioned Ilkley Moor which is part of Rombalds Moor and includes Burley Moor, Hawksworth Moor, Baildon Moor, Addingham High Moor, Morton Moor and Bingley Moor. Other Moors include Emley and Haworth.

Priories in West Yorkshire

Whilst not as well-known for it’s Abbeys as North Yorkshire is, West Yorkshire still has plenty of priories to offer.

If you’ll only settle for an Abbey, then check out Kirkstall Abbey – great for a short walk, or as a destination on a longer one, it’s location in Leeds is very accessible.

As for Priories, why not visit Arthington Priory – founded in the mid-12th century, it was home for a community of nuns.

Or why not pop over to Wakefield for a day out at the National Trusts Nostell Priory. Whilst it is also home to a large Palladian house, there is also monastic history behind it.

There are plenty of priories to visit in West Yorkshire, and are great to fit into a walk – either as your destination, or one of several points of interest along the way.

Country Houses in West Yorkshire

Perhaps the best known country house in West Yorkshire is Harewood House & Bird Gardens. The house itself is very impressive, but it also has a great deal of surrounding grounds.

Also in Leeds is Temple Newsam which, whilst not as grand as Harewood house again has large grounds which are great to enjoy with the family.

Yet another place to visit in the Leeds area is Lotherton Hall, near Aberford – it includes a deer park, animals and much more to be enjoyed.

Castles in West Yorkshire

Whilst not known for its castles, West Yorkshire does have some – such as Sandal Castle in Wakefield. More castle ruins then an actual castle, you can combine a visit with an amble around Pugneys Park.

If you’re looking for a more impressive castle, then why not check out Pontefract Castle – whilst also a ruin, it is much more intact than Sandal and covers a much larger scale. The castle dates back to 1170 and eventually fell into ruin when it became a Royalist stronghold.

History in West Yorkshire

Perhaps the most important historical features of West Yorkshire are the relics of industry which now dot the landscape. It is not short of mills, for instance. There’s the Bronte Weaving Shed which now acts of a reminder of what great importance the wool industry was in West Yorkshire. Not far away in Bradford you have the landmark chimney of Lister’s Mill. Halifax has Dean Clough Mill which at one point in it’s history was one of the largest carpet manufacturers in the world.

There is much Roman history to be enjoyed. Near Bardsey, Leeds – there’s a place called Pompocali – a Roman earthworks. Without a doubt Pompocali is one of the more accessible Roman historic locations, you don’t need a well trained eye to see the undulations of the landscape, and how that’s indicative of its past.

Ilkley isn’t short of Roman history either – All Saints Church possess not one, but two, Roman Altars, and next door to this is believed to be the site of an old Roman fort – Olicana.

Geographical Features in West Yorkshire

The cow and calf rocks on Ilkley Moor are easy to see from miles around, and all you to see for miles around when you’re on them. The rocks are millstone grit and the area includes a former quarry, that makes you feel small to be stood inside.

Whilst there aren’t many other places that are well known within the West Yorkshire area for their geographic features, there are still ones out there, such as the rock formations at Otley Chevin.

Rivers, Reservoirs, Canals and Waterfalls in West Yorkshire

These often make the most popular destinations for walks, as they offer a very clear direction to travel and often areas of beauty to appreciate.

One things for sure, you’re not short of canals in West Yorkshire – that’s for sure. The Leeds-Liverpool canal is the major one in the area, and it spans for miles, with multiple possible walks along it – such as going from Rodley to Apperley Bridge.

You also have the Aire & Calder Navigation and the Calder & Hebble Navigation. Though, perhaps the most famous part of a canal in West Yorkshire is Five Rise Locks at Bingley. This impressive feat of engineering is really worth seeing.

As for rivers in West Yorkshire, there’s the River Aire which finds its source at Malham Tarn in North Yorkshire and journeys a total 148 miles, though as the crow flies start to finish as only 58 miles. There’s the River Worth which itself is a tributary of the River Aire.

There’s also the River Calder which begins on Heald Moor, Todmorden – it flows for a total of 48 miles.

Reservoirs in West Yorkshire are numerous – such as Scammonden which, for anyone who travels on the M62 will be a familiar site as it is nestled up against the motorway. There’s Deanhead Reservoir which is near Scammonden if you fancy doing the double. Leeds has Eccup Reservoir and there’s the Lower Laithe Reservoir in Howarth – to name a few.

Finally, waterfalls in West Yorkshire. There aren’t many but they’re worth seeing. There’s Bronte Falls, near Haworth which isn’t far from the aforementioned Lower Laithe Reservoir – so if you’re planning to see one, then you may as well see the other. There’s also Goit Stock Falls, near Harden which combines beautiful, rural, countryside with the remnants of the industrial age – including a mill chimney in the middle of a field, as the rest of the mill burnt down. There are also the Folly Dolly Falls near Meltham.

Wildlife in North Yorkshire

If you like your wildlife then West Yorkshire has plenty to offer – Ilkley Moor has a population of ground nesting birds – as the location is a very suitable habitat for them. Otley Chevin has varied areas that allows wildlife to thrive, including a selection of ponds. Or why not visit the RSPB Nature Reserve, Fairburn Ings in Ledston where over 270 species of bird have been recorded.

Quaint Villages in North Yorkshire

Anyone look for a nice quaint places in West Yorkshire to visit should definitely consider Holmfirth, which is nestled in the Holme Valley and was the setting for the BBC’s ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ which ran for nearly 30 years.

Or why not visit Marsden, which is west of Huddersfield – it used to be an important area for the production of wollen cloth at Marsden Mill (formerly known as Bank Bottom Mill). Not forgetting that Marsden gained Walkers are Welcome status due to its well-maintained footpaths and facilities for walkers.