Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds

25 Reviving Walks Within an Hour of Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Enjoy the fresh country air on these local walks.

Castle Hill, Huddersfield

Leeds is full of amazing walks and these 25 will put a spring in your step after months of being cooped up at home.

Tired of being stuck indoors? Ready to head out on an adventure? These incredible walks are all within easy reach of Leeds, so you can get back outdoors. Go on an easy-family-friendly jaunt with the kids or put yourself through your paces on a more challenging ramble with stunning views across the countryside – the choice is yours.

Harden Valley Ramble

This lovely 10.5-mile route starts at Bingley Station, about 30 minutes from Leeds, so park up and prepare for an outdoor adventure. You’ll head out of the town centre and into a wooded wonderland broken up by waterfalls and moorland. As you walk, you’ll pass a few impressive landmarks. Stop and take in Ruin Bank Wood, Hewenden Viaduct and Goit Stock Waterfall, before you rejoin the main path through the picturesque forest and back into Bingley.

The walk starts at Bingley Railway Station, Wellington Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 2NA or OS Reference – SE107391.

Aireborough Greenway

Yeadon Tarn

Credit: Tim Green licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

The Aireborough Greenway is a simple 1.5-kilometre route on a disused railway line. It starts at Parklands View in Yeadon and ends at the Old Coach Road in Guiseley, with easy walking and plenty to see in between. You can even extend your walk by heading over to Nunroyd Park, Esholt Village and Yeadon Tarn if you’ve got the time. The Greenway was designed to bring wildlife into the area, so keep an eye out for everything from water voles to kingfishers.

The walk starts at Guiseley Railway Station, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 8BX or OS Reference SE 1883 4221.

Beamsley Beacon

Beamsley Beacon

Tucked away between Ilkley and Skipton, the picturesque village of Beamsley is 50-minutes from Leeds. You can soak up incredible views across God’s Own County on this moderate 7-mile trek along the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Kick things off with a big climb up to the Beamsley Beacon, where you can pause at Trig Point and appreciate the natural beauty of Wharfedale. Then head back to the start, passing Kex Beck, Beamsley Moor and the iconic Beamsley Hospital, a unique piece of circular architecture.

The walk starts at Langbar Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0EX or OS Reference – SE090520.

Ogden Water

Ogden Water

Bringing together beautiful greenery and a calming reservoir, the Ogden Water circular takes you around a 34-acre body of water surrounded by swathes of moorland. It’s only 2-miles long and full of natural beauty as you weave between trees along the water’s edge. Want to extend your walk? Latch onto the bridleway which leads you onto the moors for a 3.8-mile loop around Warley Moor Reservoir and make your leisurely jaunt a real day out.

The route starts from Ogden Water Car Park, 5 Ogden Lane, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX2 8XZ or OS Reference SE066309.

Haworth Circular

Haworth, Bronte Country

Credit: Tim Green licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

You can discover the ageless beauty of the Brontë Country on this 7-mile meander around Howarth. It’s a stunning day out as you make your way past flowing becks and pretty moorland, stopping to appreciate the incredible views across the Pennine Hills. Start with a wander across the Penistone Hill Country Park on your way to Haworth Moor, then make a beeline for the Brontë Waterfall. Next, it’s up to Top Withens, the inspiration for Wuthering Heights, and on to the Lower Laithe Reservoir, before heading home.

The walk starts at St Michael & All Angels Church, Haworth, West Yorkshire, BD22 0HB or OS Reference – SE009370.

Rombalds Moor

Credit: Simon Bowen licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Take the 45-minute excursion over to the pretty market town of Ilkley, where this nature-filled walk starts and ends. It begins in the centre, then you’ll head out towards Rombalds Moor and along the 11.3-mile route, which passes breathtaking landmarks, like Hebers Ghyll Woods and the Swastika Stone. You’ll climb towards the Doubler Stone, which offers as an incredible vantage point across Wharfedale below, before you pass Sunny Dale Reservoir and head back to town.

The walk starts at Heber’s Ghyll Drive, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9QH or OS Reference – SE102473.

Fulneck Loop

Tyersal Beck

Credit: Tim Green licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

The Pudsey Beck Valley is a gentle 5-mile walk that straddles the boundary with Bradford. Start at Tong Hall, just across the border, and head west into Leeds along Keeper Lane as you make your way towards the Fulneck Moravian Settlement. Keep your eyes peeled for birds, insects and aquatic creatures as you pass Pudsey and Tyersal Beck, before making your way past Black Carr Woods, Smalewell Quarry and Tyersal Hall on your way back to the start.

The walk starts at Keeper Lane, Tong, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD4 0RS or OS Reference – SE 22206 30712.

Eccup Reservoir

Eccup Reservoir

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A 6-mile ramble around North Leeds, this leisurely stroll is the perfect opportunity to get out for a breath of fresh air. You’ll start with a leafy stroll through Adel Woods, before you head onto the path that takes you around the trees next to Eccup Reservoir. You’ll see it from afar first, before you get up close after crossing Eccup Beck around half-way through the walk. Take in the calming water and peaceful greenery before making your way back to the start.

The walk starts from Adel Woods Car Park, Stair Foot Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 8DR or OS Reference SE 28442 40574.

The Rothwell Greenway

Rothwell Country Park, Kate Wright

Credit: Kate Wright

If you’re looking for an easy walk, try The Rothwell Greenway. This 3.5-mile route has a few stiles and hills for you to tackle as you follow rural paths and tracks to a series of incredible vantage points. Start in the Trinity Church car park in Rothwell, before you head past the remains of Rothwell Castle and onto the Greenway, a disused former railway line. From here, you’ll go on an easygoing walk through the fields before you head back to the start.

The walk starts at Holy Trinity Church, Church Street, Rothwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 0QL or OS Reference – SE 34299 28246.

Rawdon Billing

Billing Hill

Credit: Tim Green licensed for commercial use under creative commons.

This circular walk is just 2-miles long, but don’t underestimate the route around Rawdon Billing. It’s one of the best walks in Leeds, but it’s also tough as you tackle challenging terrain and wide-open spaces that pit you against the elements. Make a start at the Jubilee Hall Car Park, before heading out on the uphill paths to Billing Dam, Larkfield Dam and Billing Hill. It’s the perfect route if you’re short on time, but keen on adventure.

The walk starts at Jubilee Hall, Layton Avenue, Rawdon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 6QQ or OS Reference – SE 22149 39324.

Trans Pennine Trail

Bower Lake St Aidan's

Credit: David Botham

The Trans Pennine Trail can be broken down into smaller segments, and there’s a wonderful 14-mile route between Leeds and Wakefield that’s well worth checking out. The tracks are fairly easy, but the length makes it a bit of a challenge as you weave your way past Thwaite Mills Industrial Museum towards the picturesque village of Methley and the natural wonders of St Aidan’s Nature Reserve. You’ll finish up at the banks of the Aire-Calder Navigation at the Stanley Ferry Marina.

The walk starts at Thwaite Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1RP or OS Reference – SE 32803 31217.

Silsden Moor

Skipton Moor

This 11.5-mile circular route around Silsden Moor is one for the more experienced rambler. It starts with a fairly easy stroll along the Millennium Way, which leads you to a series of vantage points across Skipton, Rombalds Moor and Ilkley. The tracks can get tough and boggy, particularly after bad weather, but they’re worth persevering with as you reach rocky outcrops at High Bradley, pause at the edge of Skipton Moor and take in the beauty of the Chelker Reservoir before you head back to the start.

The walk starts ay Millennium Way, Addingham, West Yorkshire, LS29 0FB or OS Reference – SE 06483 50015.

The Lines Way

The Lines Way, Kate Phillips

Credit: Kate Phillips

If you’re looking for a nature walk, there aren’t many better routes than The Lines Way. 50 years ago, this was a working railway line between Garforth and Castleford, but now the old tracks have been removed and turned into a leafy walking route that connects three different nature reserves. You’ll walk on a wide and spacious path where the old track used to be, making a stop at Letchmire Pastures, Townclose Hills and Hollinghurst Woods, all on a gentle 4-mile walk.

The walk starts at 1 Blands Crescent, Allerton Bywater, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 2AF or OS Reference – SE 41344 28379.

Embsay Moor

Embsay Crag

Credit: a< href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dphodgson/">David Hodgson licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

You can explore the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park on this 9.6-mile trek. Put your calves to the test as you take on big climbs up Cracoe Fell, Rylstone Fell and Hall Fell, before you head across the moorland to landmarks like Cracoe War Memorial and Rylstone Cross. The ground gets boggier under foot as you head back to the start, passing the picturesque Upper and Lower Garden Reservoirs on your way home.

The walk starts at Barden Road, Eastby, North Yorkshire, BD23 6EL or OS Reference – SE 03782 55568.

Swinsty Reservoir Circular

Swinsty Reservoir

Credit: Andrew and Annemarie licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

This 3-mile walk around Swinsty Reservoir offers unrestricted views of the lake right from the start, as you follow the scenic, well-maintained paths. There are benches and viewing spots along the way if you fancy a rest, and you’ll pass vantage points offering up views across the Washburn Valley, Norwood Edge Plantation and Swinsty Hall. Continue on to the Fewston Embankment, where you can pause to take in the Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs before heading back to the start.

The walk starts at Swinsty & Fewston Reservoir Car Park, North Yorkshire, LS21 2NP or OS Reference – SE 18309 53700.

Thorner Moor and Hetchell Wood Circular

Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve

Credit: Christine Johnstone licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Just 20 minutes from Leeds, Thorner offers a quintessential countryside walk. This leisurely 8-mile route starts from St Peter’s Church before you join the well laid-out paths over Thorner Moor. Stop to take in the sweeping views across the nearby Bramham Park Estate, before you head over to Stubbing Moor and Wothersome Lake. You can finish with a touch of wildlife spotting as you explore the Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve and the mysterious Pompocali Earthworks.

The walk starts at St Peter’s Church, Thorner, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS14 3ED or OS Reference – SE 37963 40584.

Hawksworth Wood

Rodley Nature Reserve

This pretty 6.7-mile walk around North West Leeds starts with a woodland wander around Hawksworth Wood near Kirkstall Abbey. It’s a pretty woodland walk, well-kept with abundant wildlife, but this is just the beginning. From here, you’ll walk along the River Aire, upstream towards Newlay Bridge and on to the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath towards Calverley Bridge, before you pivot back towards the start through Hunger Hills, Haigh Wood and Oil Mill Beck.

The walk starts at Hawksworth Wood, Rein Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4TA or OS Reference – SE 23921 36998.

Leeds Canal Walk

Leeds Cares Charity Canal Challenge

Credit: Canal and River Trust

Want to enjoy the city’s industrial heritage and the region’s natural beauty, all in one go? At 13 miles, the Leeds Canal Walk is long, but straightforward. You start in the city centre at the Royal Armouries and pass Granary Wharf before you head west. Along the way, you can see the flora and fauna at Kirkstall Valley and Rodley Nature Reserves, explore the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey up close and take on the woodland trails of Bramley Hall Park and Calverley Woods, all before you reach the end in Shipley.

The walk starts at Royal Armouries, Armouries Drive, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LT or OS Reference – SE 30927 32946.

Castle Hill Circular

Castle Hill

Credit: Steven Earnshaw licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

The Castle Hill Circular requires an hour-long trip to Huddersfield, but it’s well worth it. The walk starts and ends at a Scheduled Ancient Monument. You’ll discover the remains of a 12th-century motte-and-bailey castle, two Iron Age forts and the site of a deserted medieval village. Stop to take it all in ahead of a 4-mile wander that will take you across Almondbury Common and through Molly Carr Wood, Arthur Wood and Farnley Hill.

The walk starts at Castle Hill Side, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD4 6TA or OS Reference – SE 15381 14014.

Marsden Moor

Marsden Moor

Credit: Tim Green licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

Marsden Moor is the picturesque setting for this beautiful 9-mile hike. Expect a mix of stunning views and brilliant landmarks as you start at St Bartholomew’s Church and take the path along the Narrow Canal up to the moor. You’ll soon reach Haigh Clough and March Haigh Reservoir, but the views keep getting better and better as you continue to Dinner Stone, Millstone Edge and Pule Hill. On the way back, you’ll pass the Duke of Lancaster Regiment Memorial.

The walk starts at Church Lane, Marsden, West Yorkshire, HD7 6DJ or OS Reference – SE 04673 11661.

Guiseley to Menston Circular

Ilkley Moor from Menston

Credit: Andrew Smith licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

If you like stunning views and well-known landmarks, this 4-mile circular walk is the perfect choice. It’ll take you from Guiseley to Menston and back again – start at the White Cross Roundabout, make a beeline for the High Royds Pond and head into The Bluebell Wood. From here, you’ll follow peaceful country lanes and wander across open farmland, stopping to appreciate the incredible views of the Otley Chevinn, the Wharfe Valley and the imposing Almscliff Crag.

The walk starts from the White Cross Roundabout, Guiseley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 8LY or OS Reference SE 181425.

Lindley Wood Reservoir

Lindley Wood Reservoir

Credit: Gordon Hatton licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

You’ll find Lindley Wood Reservoir just a few miles north of Otley. This gentle 2-mile walk is an absolute delight. You can explore the lovely Washburn Valley as you wander through the woods and along the banks of Greystone Beck. Once you reach Lindley Wood Reservoir, take a break on one of the benches by the water as you look out on the rare birds that call it home, before carrying on to Norwood Bottom and back into the picturesque village of Lindley.

The walk starts at the River Washburn on Leathley Lane, Leathley, West Yorkshire, LS21 2LA or OS Reference – SE 23248 48026

Lydgate Circular

Hawk Stones, Lydgate, Todmorden

Credit: Tim Green licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Lydgate sits on the outskirts of Todmorden, just under an hour from Leeds, but this 4.3-mile moorland stroll is well worth the trip. It starts with a 200-metre climb to the moors, but the terrain is easy, and once you get to the top, you can gaze out from a series of gritstone outcrops. There’s the cliff-side Hawk Stones to visit too, before you head to the gravity-defying Great Bridge Stones. From here, the downhill trek promises stunning views across the valley below.

The walk starts at the bottom of Stoney Royd Lane, Lydgate, Todmorden, West Yorkshire, OL14 8EP or OS Reference – SD 92711 25406.

In Sight of Simon’s Seat

Skyreholme, Simon's Seat

Credit: Rob Glover licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

In Sight of Simon’s Seat is an easy 6-mile walk that shows off some of the finest parts of the Yorkshire Dales. The village of Appletreewick is just under an hour from Leeds, and it’s here that you’ll start your walk. There’s a small climb as you make your way over to the River Wharfe, which you’ll follow for most of the walk. From here, you can enjoy a serene valley ramble and stunning moorland views as you pass Skyreholme, Trolley Gill and Appletreewick Pasture.

The walk starts at The New Inn, Main Street, Appletreewick, West Yorkshire, BD23 6DA or OS Reference – SE 05335 60165.

Leathley Circular

Riffa Wood, Stainburn

Credit: Chris Heaton licensed for commercial use under creative commons.

Nestled between Otley and Pool-in-Wharfedale, the postcard-perfect village of Leathley is just under 30 minutes from Leeds. This leisurely 6-mile circular route through Lindley, Braythorn and Leafield is a must. You can soak up the beautiful views around Leathley Hall and Riffa Wood, before you head past the pretty village of Stainburn. Along the way, you can jump across the stepping stones on Thrispin Beck, which is an absolute winner if you’ve got kids with you.

The walk starts at Stainburn Close, Leathley, North Yorkshire, LS21 2LD or OS Reference – SE 23249 46994.

Cover image credit: Alan Burnett licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.