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5 of the Most Picturesque Walks in West Yorkshire

· Emma Cooke · Yorkshire

Soak up West Yorkshire’s natural beauty on these walks.

Sunset at Cow and Calf

You’ll need your walking boots on and your camera at the ready for these stunning walks through the West Yorkshire countryside.

Want to get out in the fresh countryside air? A stroll around God’s Own County could be just what you need and these walking routes in West Yorkshire should be top of your list. Glistening reservoirs, leafy woodlands and tumbling streams give each route something extra special. Topped-off with a well-earned picnic or pub trip, it’s the perfect day out, so what are you waiting for?

Ovenden Moor Circuit

Ogden Water

This 6-mile circuit around Ovenden Moor promises a spectacular day out, full of reservoir paths and moorland trails. It’s an easygoing walk that kicks off with a waterside stroll around Ogden Water, a pretty tree-lined reservoir. Then you will follow Ogden Kirk Beck, passing a medley of miniature waterfalls as you go. The vast Thornton Moor will soon be in sight, followed by views over Leeming Reservoir and Warley Moor Reservoir.

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

Eccup Reservoir

Eccup Reservoir

Credit: Rich Tea licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

This 6-mile walk showcases the very best of the northern Leeds countryside. You’ll start with a leafy stroll through Adel Woods, before veering clockwise around Eccup Reservoir – you can see the water from afar before you reach it. Eventually, you’ll pass through the village of Eccup, home to The New Inn for a well-earned pitstop. From there, it’s onwards toward the south-eastern edge of the reservoir, where you can see the water up close as you head back to the start – keep an eye out for Red Kites as you walk around it.

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

Top Withens

You can soak up the dramatic surrounds that inspired much of the Brontë sisters’ work on this 6.7-mile ramble. The route begins in the quaint village of Haworth, before you venture along a moorland track up to Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse high up on Haworth Moor. En route, you can see Laithe Reservoir and get close to the trickling Brontë Waterfalls, both of which are surrounded by great swathes of moorland. The walk finishes back in Haworth, where the aptly-named Wuthering Heights pub awaits.

The route starts from Museum Car Park, West Lane, Haworth, West Yorkshire, BD22 8DS or OS Reference SE 027373.

Hardcastle Crags Railway Trail

Gibson Mill, Hardcastle Crags

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If you love a wooded valley-side ramble, this 3-mile walk is the perfect choice. You’ll start at Hardcastle Crags and the neighbouring 19th-century Gibson Mill (also home to a great little cafe). It’s in a fairytale location, nestled beside the flowing Hebden Water. From here, you’ll make your way through the woods to where the old railway tracks used to be – take a quick detour to gawp at the mighty Hell Hole Quarry. After soaking up views from the top of the valley, you’ll descend back down to the riverside through a mix of oak, beech and pine woodland.

The route starts from Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7AS or OS Reference SD973298.

Ilkley Moor

White Wells Bath House, Ilkley Moor

This 6.3-mile circular trail stretches across one of the most famous moors in West Yorkshire. The route starts from West View Park and continues up towards White Wells, an 18th-century spa baths. From here, it’s a steady climb that passes landmarks like Ilkley Crags, Twelve Apostles and Lower Lanshaw Dam, all set to a backdrop of heather moorland in the summer. Eventually, the striking Cow and Calf outcrops will come into view – why not stop by the Cow and Calf Inn for a pint before your descent back down into Ilkley?

The route starts from West View Park, 3 College Drive, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9TY or OS Reference SE117470.