This week’s 8.5-mile walk is a beautiful circular route from the St Ives Estate close to Bingley, BD16 1AT.
It’s taken from the book Stepping out from Leeds and Bradford, by Keith Wadd, and is available to buy from ramblersyorskhire.org. The route passes through beautiful scenery – yet remarkably only a stone’s throw from the centre of Bradford. You’ll need both OS Maps OL21 and 288.
It’s shorter than the published walk; only because I changed the beginning and end [well, I got lost!]. We began from the first car park you find when entering the St Ives Estate [GR SE 100 389].
Walk back down the access road and take the first path on the left, descending through the woodland to meet Harden Road. Turn left along the road for a short while, until an un-marked path leaves on the right via a few stone steps.
A steep descent brings you to the River Aire. Turn right to continue through woodland, pass to the left of a house across a field to meet Beck Foot. Pass through the second ‘gap stile’ on the right, along a corridor then before the next house, cross the beck.
You reach a golf course, the path across it is marked by white painted stones. Beyond the course, pass diagonally across a meadow to enter woodland. Climb right up the woodland track, you’re now following the Millennium Way [MW].
At the plateau, the main track continues, but instead follow the MW leaving left along a fence. The forest gives way to meadows. A clear path across two fields then turns right to bring you to Lee Lane.
Turn left then immediate right to continue along the MW. Follow the wall on the right across five fields to a path T-junction, turn right, before a descending path on the left continues through woodland above Wilsden Beck.
You meet a track, turn left down a narrow path, left again before the house, cross the beck then climb to meet and cross the road.
Turn left and beyond the houses, continue right. This lovely path passes along the top of Crag Wood. After some time, you emerge into a field; shortly after, the MW re-descends right, through the wood, turning left at the bottom to follow Hallas Beck.
The stunning woodland path brings you to a waterfall, continue beyond until the footbridge passes over the water.
Just after the bridge, turn right to climb through a very boggy field to re-enter woodland and retrace the brook, pass through a meadow, cross Cow House Beck then a short climb up to a boundary wall.
Turn left here to follow the wall, keeping it on the right, pass through a narrow gap-stile to follow the opposite side and the clear path eventually brings you to Bingley Road.
Turn right along the road until a bridleway leaves on the left to climb up to Catstones End.
Turn right at the top, pass alongside the woodland then keep to the upper, left-hand path. You come to the hamlet of Ryecroft – walk down the quiet lane through the houses.
The lane continues and curves left. Just before the very last property, set back from the rest, take the path on left to climb up to the disused quarries of Harden Moor.
Here there are a myriad paths, but to quote Keith Wadd “the broad strategy is to aim for the top right-hand corner, about 300 yards to the right of the visible mast.”
The path then continues almost opposite, keeping to the field edge to finally meet a wider track.
You begin to see the beautiful views of the Keighley valley and the Bronte Moors.
We continued right along the wide track to come to a road. Cross over and continue to follow the track, peeling off right to follow the edge of the woodland.
When the path re-entered the trees, I got confused within the St Ives Estate [I’m terrible at navigating through woodlands, plus the estate has created many paths that don’t all appear on the map].
We followed the sign indicating “Mansion” through the trees and down country lanes; eventually finding ourselves at the junction of Cross Gates. We took the Calder/Aire Link to return to the start.