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Burley-in-Wharfedale Circular

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

Red Lion pub, Burley in Wharfedale (SE 166465) – on street parking

Ordnance Survey Map
OS Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley

Distance: 4 Miles Date of Walk: 1 February 2021

Ascent:
Descent:

See Walking Time Calculator

250ft (76m)
253ft (77m)

Traffic light rating:    Green

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Memory Map logo      gpx logo 

For advice on .gpx files see
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PDF logo

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

Burley in Wharfedale circular walk sketch map

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

Introduction: This was a walk born of the Covid lockdown necessitating walking routes local to my home. It was a chance to bring together a recently created new public footpath route, perhaps something of a rarity, with a return journey via part of the new Wharfedale Greenway. In reality, both these routes have been used by locals for years, to a greater or lesser extent but now they are official!

The Wharfedale Greenway is something of a work in progress at the moment. It is a route which follows the route of the old railway line which provided a branch from the Leeds/Harrogate line (still in use), via Pool and Otley to Burley and indeed to Ilkley and beyond. Ilkley still has its direct connection to Leeds via a different route. The Wharfedale Greenway is an ongoing project to create a safe cycling and walking route. Phase 1 from Burley to Otley is well under way with appropriate land having been purchased. It is hoped Phase 2 will link Otley to Pool and in the other direction, one day link Burley with Ilkley, Addingham and Bolton Bridge. My route uses the now accessible section by Otley golf course for the return to Burley.

The outward journey new footpath route runs to the south of the live railway line, using an old cattle arch to cross beneath it, replacing a crossing over the tracks which is now closed. As I write, the OS maps have not yet caught up with this new public footpath designation.

Whilst not exactly in open country, this walk is often tree lined, there was much birdsong, even when I did the walk in February and there are good views across the Wharfe Valley, to Otley Chevin and to Rombalds Moor.

I describe the walk from the centre of Burley, opposite the Red Lion pub but if arriving by train, leave platform 1, via the exit to the right of the shelter to pick the walk up at Hag Farm Road. Turn left.

Parking is on street. 

Burley in Wharfedale is accessed off the A65 between Otley and Ilkley.

Start: With your back to the Red Lion, walk up Station Road from the mini roundabout. Immediately after passing under the railway bridge, turn left along Hag Farm Road (SE 162458).

At the first bend, branch off left along a permissive footpath (signed). Walk along next to the railway embankment. You pass an arch under the railway, which is the point at which you join the section of new footpath.

Entry to permissive path off Hag Farm Road

Continue following the embankment, crossing two footbridges over Coldstone and Carr Becks. There are pleasant views towards Rombalds Moor to the right, along this stretch.

Footbridge over Coldstone Beck

A view to Rombalds Moor

Continue next to the embankment until you reach a cattle arch under the railway (SE 166452). Go through this and turn right, to follow the embankment on the other side. As you climb the slight rise, there are good views across the valley and to Otley Chevin.

A panoramic view across the Wharfe Valley

A view to Otley Chevin

When your way is barred by a fence, turn left following a public footpath fingerpost, to join a lane (Menston Old Lane). Turn right along the lane.

Direction stone to Burley in Wharfedale

Cross the railway bridge, at which point the lane becomes Burley Lane, and then after around two hundred and fifty yards, turn left along Westbourne Drive. Continue along this road, now parallel with the railway line. Lookout for the railway bridge which carries a public footpath over the line and turn left here (SE 171443). It is indicated by a public footpath fingerpost.

Follow this path between the gardens. It eventually widens out and joins the main A65. Turn right briefly to follow it for only a hundred yards or so.

Opposite a bus stop on the right, take the footpath on the left, indicated by a fingerpost.  Turn right when you reach the estate road and right again at the first junction. Follow this road as it curves left to join the main A6803. Turn left for only a few yards. Ahead of you is the partly ivy clad chimney of the now defunct G.L Murphys Machinery Ltd, which closed in 2002.

The derelict Murphys factory at Ellar Ghyll

As you draw opposite the chimney, turn left to follow a public footpath fingerpost (SE 176444). The path runs to the left of the stout metal fencing. The path curves right to cross a footbridge over a stream and then a clapper bridge. In spring, this area is covered with wild garlic.

Clapper bridge

Climb the banking via the rough steps. At the top are two footpath routes. Take the left one and follow its course across the fields, through the clearly marked gates.

Continue to a stile and keep to the right hand side of the field beyond, following the public footpath arrow.

Cross a second stile on the right, as the boundary curves left (SE 176448). Once over it, turn left. As the path descends, there are good views once more to Rombalds Moor.

A view to Rombalds Moor

As you reach a wire fence, the old railway line route is clear at the other side. I recommend you duck under the wire to join it, rather than follow the arrows to meet it later. Turn left along the old railway route.

A section of the Wharfedale Greenway running along a disused railway line.

As you get to Gods Acre Cemetery, descend the small slope and turn right to follow the footpath along the right hand side of the iron railings. If you want a brief diversion, close to the path, just inside the cemetery, is the grave and memorial to William Edward Forster. He was an important part of Burley’s history and a memorial cross sits outside the Queens Hall. He died in 1886. In conjunction with William Fison, he took over and expanded Greenholme Mills, to the point where it employed over 700 people. He was sufficiently important to have his funeral service held at Westminster Abbey. Lots more interesting facts are given on the memorial.

At the road (A65), cross and turn right for a few yards, then left to continue to follow the railway route, indicated by a public footpath fingerpost.

Arrive at Menston Old Lane and cross straight over to resume the railway route.

Horse riders on Menston Old Lane

Pass a footpath off to the left down some steps and also a path down to the right a few yards further on. Stay on the old railway route until your way is barred by a fence, where you descend some steep, slabbed steps. At the bottom, turn left through the railway arch then right to retrace your outward journey.

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All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.