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5 Walks In The Yorkshire Dales

Burley-in-Wharfedale to Ilkley Moor Summit

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

The Roundhouse, Burley-in-Wharfedale (SE 166464). Car park at rear of Queens Hall, across Main Street.

Ordnance Survey Map

OS Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley

Distance: 9.6 miles

Date of Walk: 7 April 2015

Traffic light rating: 

(For explanation see My Walks page)

Memory Map logo     gpx logo 

For advice on .gpx files see         My Walks page

PDF logo

 Click the PDF logo above to give a printable version of this walk without the photos.

Ilkley Moor summit walk sketch map

To view route as a dynamic Ordnance Survey map click here.

Introduction: This walk takes you from Burley-in-Wharfedale to the highest point on Ilkley Moor, part of the much larger Rombalds Moor.

The route takes you by a number of the important landmarks on the moor, Lanshaw Lad, the trigonometrical (Trig.) point at the highest point, The Twelve Apostles Stone Circle, Ashlar Chair and the three reservoirs on Burley Moor, as well as providing some fantastic views.

Lanshaw Lad is a large, 19th century, rectangular stone marking the boundary between Ilkley and Burley parishes. There are several letters and dates carved on it.

Next is the white Trig. point at the highest point of the moor at 1319ft (402 metres), believed to be the site of an ancient burial cairn.

The Twelve Apostles Stone Circle. It is believed there were originally between 16 and 20 stones, erected some 4,000 years ago but over the years, various “restorations” have resulted in the 12 we see today. The purpose of the circle is uncertain but could be related to religious ceremonies and/or astronomical observation.

Ashlar Chair is a distinctive rock at the meeting-point of Bingley, Burley, Morton and Ilkley moors. It was once knows as the Druid’s Chair and may (or may not) have been used in religious ceremonies. It was a meeting point for the Pendle Witches. It is said to have had cup and ring markings at one time, perhaps another indication of religious/spiritual use but these have weathered away.

Finally the three Burley Moor reservoirs. These were built by the Victorians to supply water to nearby towns and villages. The largest is Carr Bottom Reservoir, with an area of 3.7 acres.

There are plenty of places on the moors where you can sit to enjoy a picnic and there is a refreshment opportunity towards the end of the walk at Bleach Mill House, or with a slight route variation at the Hermit pub.

Start: With your back to the door of the Roundhouse (SE 166464), turn left and walk through the park, to Grange Road and turn right. At the junction, turn left and walk up Station Road and under the railway bridge. Immediately after the bridge, turn left on Hag Farm Road. Follow this as it bends right.

Continue past the houses, then, just after a right hand bend, opposite a gateway leading to a small stone barn on the left, turn right over a stile (SE 160450). The next stile is ahead of you bearing slightly left.

Over this stile, the path is reasonably well walked but if in doubt, head just to the right of the power lines, heading towards the trees.

At the trees, cross a stile and follow the obvious path through the trees, crossing a stream via some rough stepping stones. The path leads to a walkers’ gate. Go through this and follow the fence on the right. You pass a mature sycamore tree with a huge trunk.

Continue to follow the path as it climbs, now between a fence and a dilapidated wall, to a jumble of old concrete fence posts where there is another walkers' gate. Go through this and go straight ahead, now following a line of old concrete fence posts.

Look out for a slit stile on the right as you meet another path. Turn right here and follow the path through two fields, emerging via a metal kissing gate on to the drive to the house Far Brow. Turn left along the drive.

At the road, cross to the pavement and turn right. After 50 yards or so, turn left, opposite the end of Moor Lane, to follow a finger post for “Dalesway Link, Ilkley and Ebor Way”. Go through the metal walkers’ gate on to the moor. Ignore the lower level path which runs by the wall and stay on the climbing path.

As you get to a stone farmhouse, the path forks. Take the right fork. There is a wooden post on the corner.

When the path forks again, once more, take the right fork and at the next junction of tracks, turn right.

View of track near Burley Woodhead

Continue on this main path, ignoring any turns off until you get to Coldstone Beck.

Drop down to the beck and up the path at the other side for about 120 yards, you come to a gully across the path, which is quite steep to the right. Turn left here on to a lesser path, marked with a post (SE 145452). Note this path is before you reach the corner of two stone walls.

Pass the end of a line of grouse butts, following the path as it runs parallel with Coldstones Beck, until you reach a stone water trough (SE 143451). Turn right here.

Stone trough at SE 143451

You pass through a scattering of boulders, passing to the left of a larger fairly rectangular rock on the edge of the escarpment, from where there are good views over Burley.

Stay on this path for about a mile, following the edge of the escarpment. On the horizon to the left is a shooting hut which the route will pass on the return journey.

View over Burley-in-Wharfedale

View to Beamsley Beacon

Pass to the left of a small concrete sign. On the other side is a sign “HP Gas Cover Distance 24”.

At a yellow post (one of several stretching down the hill to the right), cross a broader path and keep straight ahead.

At SE 128459, you reach a broad path at a ‘T’ junction. Turn left here and follow the path until, at SE 124455, you reach a path “manicured” with stone flags. Turn left. As you progress, you will see the outline of a rectangular stone on the horizon which is Lanshaw Lad (SE125452), which marks the boundary between Ilkley and Burley Moors. When you reach it, inspect it to see the lettering.

         Paved path to Lanshaw lad         Lanshaw Lad

At Lanshaw Lad, a few yards further on, you can see more stone flags stretching away to the right. Follow this path until you reach the Trig. point at the highest point of Ilkley Moor (SE 115452). To the north, the “golf balls” of RAF Menwith Hill are clearly visible.

Telephoto shot of Menwith Hill RAF base.

The white Trig point marking the summit of the moor appears in the distance. At that location, you get views into the Aire valley.

         Approaching the Trig. point         Ilkley Moor Trig Point

From the Trig. point, turn left (as from the direction of approach – i.e. south) on to a more minor path, heading towards the stone wall spanning the near horizon. This wall  follows the boundary between Ilkley and Keighley Civil Parishes (CPs). Turn left at the wall along a clear path, almost immediately passing a boundary stone.

Looking along the parish boundary wall

At SE 121448, you intersect another path by a yellow post, two gates in the wall and a large rock. The rock is Ashlar Chair. Turn left. Almost immediately, the track forks and you need to follow the right fork, passing to the right of a wooden post.

Ashlar Chair

You pass to the right of another boundary stone (lettering on the opposite side), again marking the boundary between Ilkley and Burley CPs.

The path returns you to the flagged path by Lanshaw Lad. Turn right for a few yards and right again on the broad (unflagged) path.

After about 150 yards, arrive at the Twelve Apostles Stone Circle (SE 126451).

Twelve Apostles stone circle

Continue along the path past the Twelve Apostles for a further 150 yards and turn left on to a broad track (SE127450). There are excellent views along this track over Guiseley and Leeds and you follow it for about 1¾ miles.

Soon, you catch site, on the left, of High Lanshaw Dam, the first of the three reservoirs on Burley Moor.

Higher Lanshaw Dam

Further along, you pass the shooting hut (SE 138448), Lower Lanshaw Dam and then Carr Bottom Reservoir with its much more substantial stone dam.

Shooting hut

Lower Lanshaw Dam

Carr Bottom reservoir and view over Burley-in-Wharfedale, Otley and Menston

Just after a small brick building, you meet another broad track (SE 150442). Turn right. When the track turns sharp right, branch off left, crossing the stile by a gate and following the yellow footpath arrow.

Continue along this track until you meet a public footpath fingerpost on either side. Turn left here (SE 153441). There are a few lumps and bumps here but the path follows the depression between them. It drops down to a wall on the left which you follow to a gate at a corner, with a fingerpost. Go through the gate and follow the gently descending walled path through the “holly tunnel”.

You reach Carr Beck which you cross to a broad track (Green Lane). Turn right to the road (SE 155444).

Carefully cross the road to follow the steeply descending drive to houses opposite, marked with a public footpath fingerpost. There is a bench on the corner.

At the bottom of the drive, turn left in front of the house “The Glen” and down the steps. They are marked with a yellow arrow. Cross a bridge and follow the obvious path which now follows Carr Beck for quite a while.

You pass the industrial remains of an old dam and chimney in the woods on the right, a legacy of an old bleach mill, before having to scramble over an unusual three-stone stile.

When you arrive at a broad track with multiple footpath arrows (SE 159446), keep straight ahead through the squeeze stile. If you wanted to briefly turn right here, Bleach Mill House is a hundred yards or so further on, where refreshments can usually be obtained.

Beyond the squeeze stile, go through several stiles, continuing to follow the course of the beck. The path is well walked and should be obvious.

After crossing a two plank footbridge, head for the high point of the field and you will see the next stile/gateway in the far left corner. Follow the left hand boundary of the field beyond here.

Cross a wooden bridge then bear right to another stile going into the trees and up to the railway line. Be very careful crossing the line and drop down the path on the far side, through the trees.

Cross a stile at the bottom of the trees then immediately turn left through a kissing gate and climb some rough steps to a track running along the disused railway route. Turn left then almost immediately right, to descend some more steps.

The path arrives at a road (Holme Park) turn right, then immediately left to follow the footpath indicated by a public footpath fingerpost. At the next road (Sandholme Drive), go straight across.

Ignore a path off to the left and continue to follow the beck. Arriving at the end of a cul-de-sac (Jumb Beck Close), walk along the end of it and turn left where indicated by the fingerpost.

At the bridge, cross it then turn right.

You reach the junction of Prospect Road and St Phillips Way at a corner. Proceed along St Phillips Way. At the ‘T’ junction with Langford Lane, turn left, then right along Grangefield Avenue. Then turn left along Grange Road back to Grange Park and the Roundhouse.

If you need to buy any hiking equipment/clothing before your trip see the Hiking Store

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