River Wharfe and Ilkley Moor

A walk alongside the River Wharfe to historic Ilkley town centre, with a return via the Cow & Calf.

Technical sheet
No. 26078364
A Ilkley walk posted on 27/08/22 by Walks from the Door. Update : 22/09/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h55[?]
Distance Distance : 7.86km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 223m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 220m
Highest point Highest point : 301m
Lowest point Lowest point : 73m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Ilkley
Starting point Starting point : N 53.923217° / W 1.79826°
Download : -

Description

Start: The Wheatley Arms, Wheatley Lane, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, West Yorkshire LS29 8PP

(D/A) From the front of The Wheatley Arms pub on Wheatley Lane, turn right and walk downhill, past the end of Brighton Road. Cross Ben Rhydding Drive and continue downhill (passing the 17th-century Wheatley Hall on the left) to pass under a railway bridge.

(1) Immediately after the bridge turn left along a short, metalled path that joins Cardan Drive. Follow this residential road round a right-hand bend to its junction with Valley Drive. Cross and turn left along Valley Drive, past a bus stop, then turn right into Wyvil Crescent. At a right-hand bend, turn left into a cul-de-sac. Beyond the turning circle at the end, cross over the main road and continue along a short footpath to the bank of the River Wharfe (A) at the end of some stepping stones.

(2) Turn left, without crossing the river, onto the riverside path. The path runs below gardens, allotment and waste ground to a footbridge. Stay on the southern bank, now on a tarmac path, passing the ends of a series of residential roads and then a series of houses and gardens. Pass through a short tunnel under a road into a park.

(3) Leave the riverside path, turning left by a litter bin, and follow the surfaced path past a flagpole and round to the right past a bench. Take the next path on the left and walk up the slope. Turn right and left past a section of Roman wall to emerge in front of the Manor House, an art gallery and museum. Turn left up steps into the graveyard and walk round the rear of the parish church, which contains three Anglo-Saxon crosses. Exit to a crossroads via the paved area at the far corner, diagonally opposite the Crescent Hotel. Cross Church Street at the traffic lights. Walk up Brook Street to The Grove. Cross with care and pass to the right of a fountain. Take the surfaced path between the two roads, which follows a small stream with various bridges and side paths.

(4) On emerging into Queens Road at the top, turn left and then right into the tree-lined Wells Road. Just before a cattle grid, turn left into Crossbeck Road and immediately right past the front of Hillside, a large house whose blue plaque records a visit by Charles Darwin. Go through the smaller, right-hand gate and walk to the left of a paddling pool and up some shallow steps. Ignoring side-paths to right and left, follow the path as it climbs towards the obvious cottage at White Wells (B), crossing another path and climbing some more steps.

(5) Pass between the cottage and the toilet block, and take the broad, stony footpath heading uphill (indicated by a wooden ‘Millennium Way’ fingerpost). The path bends left round a rise capped with a small clump of trees, then climbs less steeply. After another left-hand bend below woodland the path divides.

(6) Take the lower fork along the bottom of the rocky edge (Ilkley Crags) on your right. After a while this path leads up the bouldery defile known as Rocky Valley to the highest point of the walk. Take a descending, sandy path on the left that leads to a bouldery stream crossing. Follow the upper path beyond, which runs across fairly level ground to the right of the rocky quarried areas above the Cow and Calf (C). When you meet a crossing path, with views down to the car park and hotel, follow the path ahead, which curves left towards the Calf rock. At the mouth of a quarry on the left, turn right and walk down the paved path to the car park. From the end of a parking bay on the left, a path runs parallel to the road, marked with a Stanza Stones waymark post. Pass below the Calf rock and ignore a crossing path.

(7) 400m from the car park, turn sharp right onto a narrow, slightly sunken path that leads down to the road. Turn right (uphill) for a short distance and take a driveway on the left with a sign for Moor Cottage. Follow the driveway to the end then take the path through a gate to the right of the house. This path climbs then levels off.

(8) Before it climbs again towards a covered reservoir, take a path off to the left that leads through trees and scrub to a gate. Continue along the descending path through the trees. At a fork, keep right for the direct route down steps, or swing left for a longer but gentler descent. From the bend at the top of Wheatley Lane, cross the entrances to High Wheatley and Wheatley Rise as you walk steeply down the zig-zag road back to The Wheatley Arms.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 114m - The Wheatley Arms
1 : km 0.34 - alt. 91m - Railway Bridge
2 : km 1.03 - alt. 77m - River Wharfe
3 : km 2.9 - alt. 78m - Roman Wall
4 : km 3.82 - alt. 123m - Queens Road
5 : km 4.5 - alt. 208m - White Wells
6 : km 4.98 - alt. 265m - Rocky Valley
7 : km 6.76 - alt. 199m - Sunken Path
8 : km 7.2 - alt. 200m - Path to Road
D/A : km 7.86 - alt. 114m - The Wheatley Arms

Useful Information

Start: The Wheatley Arms, Wheatley Lane, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, West Yorkshire LS29 8PP
Email: info@wheatleyarms.co.uk
Tel 01943 670030

Notes: Moderate climb to White Wells, with steps. Some paths on Ilkley Moor are rocky and uneven.
Allow time for sightseeing.

Find more information on Walks From the Door.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) Stepping stones cross the River Wharfe, though our route avoids them.

(B) White Wells has been a destination for bathers since at least 1703, and visitors can still immerse themselves in the cold waters of the plunge pool.

(C) The Cow and Calf rocks stand out dramatically on the landscape.

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