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5 of the Most Challenging Walks Within an Hour of Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Game for a challenge? Try out one of these incredibly difficult walks.

Wainstones, Lyke Wake Walk

These Yorkshire walks will push you to the limit with rocky terrain, tough climbs and feats of endurance.

Looking for more than just a gentle ramble? These incredibly difficult walks are all within an hour of Leeds, but they offer incredible views that make the drive worthwhile. Whether it’s difficult terrain or straight up feats of endurance, these walks showcase the best of God’s Own Country, while pushing you to the limit. Are you up for the challenge?

Rawdon Billing

Billing Hill

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

A 2-mile walk around a Leeds suburb might not sound that challenging, but Rawdon Billing shouldn’t be underestimated with the old quarry providing challenging terrain and open spaces leaving you open to the elements. You’ll start your walk at the Jubilee Hall car park, taking in landmarks like Billing Dam, Lakefield Dam and Billing Hill. This is a perfect walk if you haven’t got loads of time on your hands but fancy taking on the outdoors.

Find out more about the Rawdon Billing route.

Embsay Moor Circular

Embsay Crag

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

This 9.6 mile trek takes you around the southern tip of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Get ready for big climbs up Cracoe Fell, Rylstone Fell and Hall Fell, as you make your way to landmarks like Rylstone Cross and Cracoe War Memorial. You’ll also take on boggy moorland as you head back to the start, passing the picturesque Upper and Lower Garden Reservoirs on your way. By the end, you’ll certainly deserve a pint and The Elm Tree Inn is the place to go.

Find out more about the Embsay Moor circular.

Pateley Bridge Circular

The fact that you start and end this walk at The Royal Oak pub in Dacre Banks, will make this route around Pateley Bridge a little bit easier. This 12-mile walk takes in some incredible landmarks but it will also push you to the limit. You’ll pass through Nidderdale, with High Crag, Yorke Folly, Strikes Wood, Beverley and Brimham Rocks, but it’s not just the length of the walk that makes it a toughie. The weather can cause it to be slippy underfoot, and the terrain switches from rocky to muddy and back again all the way through.

Find out more about the Pateley Bridge Circular route

Holme Valley Circular Walk

Castle Hill Iron Age Fort, Huddersfield

Copyright Jerzy Kociatkiewicz licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

This mammoth 24-mile trek around the stunning Holme Valley will see you walk through Holmfirth and Holmbridge, passing amazing reservoirs and woodland on the way – you’ll also traverse Thurstonland before visiting Castle Hill Iron Age Hill Fort, a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It should take around 11 hours to complete – but it’s not just the length of the walk that makes it a doozy, it’s the big ascents, which reach 1,100 feet in places. The views will be worth it though, as will that first pint in The Golden Fleece after your walk.

Find out more about the Holme Valley Circular route

Lyke Wake Walk


Copyright Nick Bramhall licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

When a walk is famous, it’s usually because it’s difficult – and that is certainly true of the Lyke Wake Walk. The 40-mile route across the North Yorkshire Moors is best split into manageable portions, but if you decided to do the 20-hour trek in a day, well, you wouldn’t be the only one. It takes bang on an hour to get to the start point at Osmotherly – from here you’ll have to deal with steep ascents, sections of peat bog and more often than not, bad weather, but you’ll be rewarded with beautiful moorland scenery and spectacular views. Keep an eye out for Cod Beck Reservoir, the Bronze Age Wainstones and North York Moors Railway as you go.

Find out more about the Lyke Wake Walk route.

Feature image copyrightColin Gregory licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.