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7 of the Best Canal Walks in West Yorkshire

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Take your next walk along West Yorkshire’s canals.

Leeds Cares Charity Canal Challenge

Fancy a waterside wander for your next walk? Make a beeline for West Yorkshire’s finest canals for picture-perfect rambles.

West Yorkshire is full of wonderful walks and this set will take you along the region’s beautiful canals. You’ll get the best of both worlds, with a picturesque mix of scenic waterways and beautiful countryside. Take in the views, enjoy the peacefulness and keep an eye out for the wildlife that calls these canals home as you complete these seven walks.

Hebden Bridge and Rochdale Canal Circular

Hebden Bridge

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This 8.7-mile route is one of the most popular walks in Calderdale. You’ll start in Hebden Bridge, climbing the winding valley floor paths past Hebble End to reach the impressive Stoodley Pike, a monument dating back to 1854 that commemorates the defeat of Napoleon’s armies at the Battle of Leipzig. Enjoy the special views from the top, before you pass over moorland to reach the Rochdale Canal. The last three miles of the walk are by the water, where you can enjoy local wildlife, lush canal-side greenery and colourful narrowboats.

The Hebden Bridge and Rochdale Canal Circular walk starts at Hebden Bridge Visitor and Canal Centre, 1 New Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8AD.

The Five Rise Locks Walk

The Five Rise Locks Bingley

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

If you’re looking for family-friendly canal walks in West Yorkshire, The Five Rise Locks is perfect. This 2.1-mile, easygoing route is centred around one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways. You’ll start at Bingley Station, crossing the bypass to reach the canal towpath. Look out for local wildlife like geese and water-hens as you head to the Three Rise Locks and over to the North Bog before reaching The Five Rise Locks. This feat of engineering is a sight to behold, so enjoy the views before you carry on back into town.

The Five Rise Locks Walk starts at Bingley Railway Station, Wellington Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 2NA.

The Colne Valley Canal Walk

Huddersfield Canal Colne Valley

Credit: Tony Oldroyd licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

There are no hills to climb on the 8-mile Colne Valley Canal Walk, just easygoing towpaths taking you past industrial relics and through glorious countryside. Start at the Aspley Marina and take the Huddersfield Broad Canal towpath to Milnsbridge. Cross the weir as the canal goes over the River Colne before you pass Titanic Mills, head into Slaithwaite and walk along Sparth Reservoir. Check out the views over Marsden and the hills beyond, then finish at Standedge Tunnel – the highest, longest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain.

The Colne Valley Canal Walk starts at St Andrew’s Road, Aspley Basin, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 6SD.

The Calder & Hebble Navigation Canal Walk

Sowerby Bridge Canal, Calder & Hebble Navigation

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This section of the Calder and Hebble Navigation takes you from Sowerby Bridge to Brighouse on one of the best canal walks in West Yorkshire. You’ll start in the picturesque market town and ramble over to Copley with lovely views of the Calder Valley as your backdrop. Then head north into Halifax, before weaving your way through Elland Park Wood and finishing up by passing Brookfoot Ski Lake into Brighouse. Want to extend your walk? You can add two miles by continuing onto Mirfield via Bradley Park and the Kirklees Cut.

The Calder & Hebble Navigation Canal Walk starts at Sowerby Bridge Station, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 3AF.

The Leeds Canal Walk

Leeds Liverpool Canal

At 13-miles long, The Leeds Canal Walk is not for the faint-hearted, but it is an immensely rewarding adventure through West Yorkshire. It starts at Leeds Station and takes you along the towpath past local landmarks like Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve, Kirkstall Abbey and Bramley Hall Park. It will lead you into Rodley Nature Reserve, before you enjoy a meander through Calverley Woods and Buck Wood. You’ll pass the old industrial mills of Shipley and finish in Saltaire where you can enjoy a rest at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Leeds Canal Walk starts at Leeds Station, New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4DY.

The Aire and Calder Navigation Walk

Thwaite Mills

Credit: Leeds Museums & Galleries

You can enjoy a blend of history and natural beauty as you navigate The Aire and Calder Navigation between Leeds and Wakefield. This 10-mile circular walk kicks off at Thwaite Mills and you’ll head eastwards past St Aidan’s RSPB Reserve and through the village of Methley on easygoing towpaths. You can check out Rothwell Country Park, Kippax Linesway and Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve as you go, keeping an eye out for wildlife like kingfishers, cormorants and terns, before reaching your turning point back to the start at Mickletown.

The Aire and Calder Navigation Walk starts at Thwaite Mills, Thwaite Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1RP.

The Woodlesford Lock Circular

Woodlesford Lock

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If you fancy a quick, family-friendly canal walk in West Yorkshire, The Woodlesford Lock Circular is perfect. It’s only 1.8-miles long, and follows well-kept towpaths, great for kids, beginners and the elderly. You’ll start on Bullough Lane, right next to the lock itself, heading west towards Rothwell Country Park, The Goit lake and Fishpond Lock. Next, you’ll cross over to the other side of the Aire and Calder Navigation to join the towpath that will take you right back to the start at Woodlesford Lock.

The Woodlesford Lock Circular starts at Woodlesford Lock, Swillington, West Yorkshire, LS26 8PJ.

Cover image credit: Canal and River Trust