3 miles (4.8km) Circular walk
A walk suitable for the casual walker, along country lanes, field and woodland paths. This walk is not suitable for the less mobile, wheelchair users and children in pushchairs. Sensible footwear, wind and waterproof clothing and a light snack recommended. Please take care along the riverbank and keep children under close supervision at all times. Public Transport: Ilkley is well served by both bus and rail. For further information contact Metroline on: 0113 245 7676. Car Parking: Limited parking near the walk start point is available along both sides of New Brook Street. Alternatively there are pay and display car parks in Ilkley town centre and along Railway Road. Walk Start Point: The stone steps leading down onto Riverside Gardens, off New Brook Street, Ilkley.
The Route: With your back to Ilkley town centre turn left to go down the steps leading off the left hand side of new Brook Street to walk parallel to the river, through the Riverside Gardens, passing the children’s play area and Riverside Hotel on the left before climbing the steps up onto the old stone built bridge over the River Wharfe.
Turn right to walk across the bridge, turning immediately left on the opposite side of the river to follow the unmade path along the river bank to emerge onto Nesfield Road by the electricity sub station.
Cross over the road to turn next left up Owler Park Road (do not be put off by the Private Road sign).
Continue uphill to what appears to be a dead end at the entrance to the drive to Austby. Here follow the surfaced road sharp right uphill, signed High Austby Farm leaving behind the houses to walk between fields on your left and the woodland of Terrace Gill on your right.
Follow this narrow surfaced road uphill until you reach an obvious ‘T’ junction where the road goes left and is joined from the right by an unmade track signposted ‘Public Bridleway’. Here take the track to the right eventually passing a large house on the right called ‘Tivoli’. Approximately 250yards/229metres beyond this house, where the track enters the woodland look out on your left for a small wooden gate. This is the entrance to Calvary.
Going through the gate will reveal a series of carved stone Italian sculptures forming the stations of the cross. Well worth the short diversion off our route. Opposite the gate into Calvary through the trees can be seen the rear of Myddleton Lodge a fine Elizabethan building, for several hundred years the home of the Middleton family, Lord of the Manor.
To continue, follow the track straight ahead turning right at the end to walk downhill passing a few cottages on the left and Myddleton Lodge on the right before turning left at the bottom to join the surfaced entrance road to the new buildings adjacent to Myddleton Lodge.
Continue straight ahead to join Hardings Lane at the T junction, turning left uphill to follow the road as it bears right at the junction signposted Middleton.
After a short distance and just beyond the house (The Hollies) on the right, look out for the stile over the fence into the field. Go over the stile and down across the field heading to the left of the large tree at the bottom end of the field look out for the stile in the fence into Middleton Woods. As you enter the wood the path divides.
Our route follows the wide track to the left across a small stream. After approximately 200yards/ 183metres look out on the right for a narrow less defined woodland path noticeable by a large stone at its junction with the main path. Here turn right off the main path to start your descent through the woodland. Follow this path down two flights of stone steps, across a wooden bridge, along the boardwalks, down more steps and through the metal kissing gate onto a road (Curly Hill).
Continue by crossing the road diagonally to the left to go down the steps onto the picnic area and car park of Ilkley Lido and Swimming Pool. Walk straight ahead with the buildings on your left and across the grass area to a gap in the fence. Go through the gap and cross the road (Denton Road) to the gap opposite, go through the second gap and follow the field boundary straight ahead to the river bank.
On reaching the river turn right to the bridge and up the ramp at the side of the bridge out onto New Brook Street turning left across the bridge to return to your starting point.