Want to go walking around Leeds but don’t know where to begin? Start with these 10 walks that are perfect for walkers, old and new.
Leeds is a wonderful place to go walking, with everything from landmarks to countryside to explore. But if you’ve never done it before, you might not know your bridleways from your trails. So, to get the ball rolling, here are 10 great walks across Leeds for you to kick off your new hobby, each of them easy enough for beginners to tackle, and with loads to see to boot.
Bardsey and Pompocali Earthworks
You can explore Leeds’ hidden countryside and its Roman history with a trip to Bardsey. This 3.5-mile stroll is famed for its good paths and tracks, so it’s perfect for beginners. You’ll start just south of the village, at the big lay-by on the A58, before you follow Bardsey Beck down to Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve, a historic woodland full of wildflowers and wildlife. You’ll come to Pompocali, an unusual maze of banked earthworks which some say is an old Roman encampment and others say is an old limestone quarry. Either way, it’s a sight to behold. You’ll also get to see Moat Hall, Rowley Grange and Wayside Gardens as you jump on the Leeds Country Way back to the start.
The walk starts at Wetherby Road, Bardsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS14 3BB or OS Reference – SE 36900 43000.
Calverley Tithe Circular
This 3.5-mile jaunt around the old tithe boundaries of Calverley, Horsforth and Rawdon is a breeze. It brings together a mixture of woodland and river paths. You’ll start at Horsforth New Road and follow the roads and tracks as they appear on the 19th century tithe maps. The walk will take you past The Railway pub, alas, currently closed, before crossing Calverley Bridge, where you’ll see Calverley Station House, Wood Bottom Mills and Cragg Wood before you return to the start. If you want to mix nature and history, this the perfect choice.
The walk starts at Horsforth New Road, Calverley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS13 1NU, or OS Reference – SE 22079 36542.
Otley to Bramhope via Eccup
It might be 10-miles long, but this easygoing walk is perfect for budding walkers. You’ll start from Otley Bus Station and take the well-worn paths and tracks to Bramhope with a worthy detour to Eccup Reservoir along the way. There are plenty of things to see as you go – you’ll walk on the old dismantled railway, past Caley Hall Farm and up to the famous Caley Crags. It’s the perfect place for a little break before you join The Dales Way and head to the reservoir ahead of the end via Golden Acre Park.
The walk starts at Otley bus station, LS21 3NX, or OS Reference – SE 20279 45490.
Ilkley Moor Circular
This 6.3-mile trail around Ilkley Moor is one of the best and most straightforward walks you can do in Leeds. Kick things off at West View Park before taking the lane towards White Wells, the 18th-century spa and baths. You’ll stroll along easygoing tracks as you cross the heather-covered moorland and pass impressive landmarks like Ilkley Crags, Twelve Apostles and Lower Lanshaw Drop. Take in the incredible scenery as you head to the famous Cow and Calf rocks before you head back into Ilkley.
The walk starts at West View Park, 3 College Drive, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9TY or OS Reference – SE 11534 47176.
Hawksworth Wood Circular
This gentle 6.7-mile jaunt around North West Leeds is just the ticket for inexperienced walkers. It starts in Hawksworth Wood, just over the road from Kirkstall Abbey. It’s one of the best woodland wanders in Leeds, full of trees and wildlife, but that’s just the start. From here, you’ll join the riverside paths alongside the Aire and head up to Newlay Bridge in Horsforth, where you’ll join the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath to Calverley Bridge. Hunger Hills, Haigh Wood and Oil Mill Beck are all pitstops you can visit before reaching the end.
The walk starts at Hawksworth Wood, Rein Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4TA or OS Reference – SE 23898 36997.
The Aireborough Greenway
If you’re short on time and fancy an easy-as-pie walk, head for The Aireborough Greenway. This 1.5-kilometre route along a disused railway line, takes you from Parklands View in Yeadon to Old Coach road in Guiseley. You can enjoy plenty of easy-walking and oodles of natural beauty. Want to extend your walk? Head over to Nunroyd Park, Esholt Village and Yeadon Tarn. There’s plenty of nature to see before you reach the end, from kingfishers to water voles, and then turn back to retrace your steps back to the start.s
The walk starts at Guiseley Railway Station, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 8BX or OS Reference – SE 1883 4221.
Fulneck Loop Circular
Discover the beauty of the Pudsey Beck valley with a gentle 5-mile walk on the Fulneck Loop Circular. It’s a straightforward ramble along its bridleways, which are great for new walkers. You’ll start at Tong Hall, just over the border in Bradford, before making your way into Leeds along Keeper Lane towards the historic Fulneck Moravian Settlement. You’ll see all kinds of birds, insects and aquatic creatures as you head along Pudsey Beck and Tyersal Beck, passing Black Carr Woods, Smalewell Quarry and Tyersal Hall as you go.
The walk starts at Keeper Lane, Tong, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD4 0RS or OS Reference – SE 22206 30712.
Reedbed Ramble at St Aidan’s
St Aidan’s Nature Reserve is a hidden gem, tucked away in the Leeds countryside – and it’s the perfect place for newbie walkers to start their adventures. Try the Reedbed Ramble, a 2.8-mile walk that’s easy enough for beginners and even families with buggies. It will take you to some of the reserve’s most picturesque spots, as you walk past three lakes and take in their rare reedbeds. It’s here that you might be lucky enough to see bitterns, marsh harriers, bearded tits and golden plovers.
The walk starts at St Aidan’s Nature Reserve Visitor’s Centre, Astley Lane, Great Preston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8AL or OS Reference – SE 40114 28704.
The Rothwell Greenway
Clocking in at 3.5-miles, The Rothwell Greenway is a gem of a route for beginners. There are a few stiles and gentle hill climbs for you to tackle, but it’s mostly flat rural paths and tracks with a series of breathtaking vantage points. You’ll start in the Trinity Church car park in Rothwell before you head past the historic remains of Rothwell Castle and join the Greenway, an old railway line. Keep an eye out for all kinds of birds flying overhead as you enjoy an easygoing wander through the fields before circling back to the finish.
The walk starts at Holy Trinity Church, Church Street, Rothwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 0QL or OS Reference – SE 34299 28246.Cover image credit: David Botham.