The Best Woodland Walks in West Yorkshire

· Joseph Sheerin · Yorkshire

It’s time for a woodland wander!

Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge

These wonderful woodland walks bring together incredible views, leafy surroundings and must-see landmarks.

If you go into the woods today, you’re in for one hell of a walk. There are beautiful woodlands dotted all over West Yorkshire and we’ve rounded up 10 resplendent routes that show off the region’s natural beauty in all its leafy glory. You can weave through ancient oaks, wander past sweet chestnuts and travel under beech coppices, all while taking in those trademark Yorkshire views. It’s the perfect way to spend time outdoors, so take a look and get exploring!

Otley Chevin

Otley Chevin

Ah, the Otley Chevin. It’s home to some of the best woodland walks in West Yorkshire and the Surprise View route is right up there. It’s only 2.7-miles long, but it’s not all plain sailing – there’s a fair bit of climbing to do. You’ll delve into the deep woods of oak and beech past Yorkgate Quarry and through the Chevin Forest Nature Reserve to reach the top. Once there, you’ll be richly rewarded – see if you can spot Simon’s Seat and Almscliffe Crag in the distance before you take the clifftop path and head through the woods to finish.

Start at Otley Chevin, Yorkgate Road, Otley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS21 3DG. Check out the route.

Luddenden Dean and the Calderdale Way

Luddenden Dean

The Luddenden Dean and the Calderdale Way is a fairly easygoing 6.5-mile walk through one of the most under-appreciated walking spots in West Yorkshire. You’ll start at Luddenden Lane car park, heading north following Luddenden Brook until you reach Jerusalem Farm. Then it’s into the pretty Wade Wood Nature Reserve and along the Calderdale Way until you make your way through Upper Heys Wood, a charming deciduous forest. You’ll pass fields, farms and streams before you rejoin the footpaths that take you back to the start.

Start at Millennium Car Park, Luddenden, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX2 6RJ. Check out the route.

Hawksworth Wood Circular

Hunger Hills Forest Walk

This gorgeous 6.7-mile jaunt around Northwest Leeds starts exactly where you want it to – in the woods! Hawksworth Wood is just across the road from Kirkstall Abbey and offers one of the best woodland walks in West Yorkshire. It’s jam-packed full of trees and shelters all kinds of wildlife, so keep an eye out as you take the riverside paths along the Aire and towards Newlay Bridge. You’ll then join the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath to Calverley Bridge, before passing through the leafy Hunger Hills, Haigh Wood and Oil Mill Beck to the start.

Start at Hawksworth Wood, Rein Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4TA. Check out the route.

Nostell Obelisk Walk

Nostell Priory

If you’re looking for quick and easy woodland walks in West Yorkshire, make a beeline for Nostell Priory in Wakefield. The 2-mile Obelisk Walk is perfect for ramblers of all abilities and shows off the beauty of this historic estate in just one hour. Start at the Palladian House which dates back to 1733, then seek out the Boathouse next to the lake that shares its name. The Obelisk Lodge, the estate’s original gatehouse, which was lived in until the 1950s, is up next before you cross Boathouse Bridge and head back to the Stable Courtyard.

Start at the Nostell Priory courtyard, Doncaster Road, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 1QE. Check out the route.

Hardcastle Crags

Gibson Mill at Hardcastle Crags in Hebden Bridge

The scenic 1.25-mile Mill Walk will take you on a colourful romp through the woods. You’ll start at the Midgehole car park before following the trail down along the tree-lined path to the river, which you’ll take all the way to Gibson Mill. The route is easy-going most of the way, with occasional clambering, and an uphill stint as you head back up through the top woods and back to the car park where you began. Along the way, you’ll be treated to incredible views and see the famous Slurring Rock.

Start at the Midgehole Car Park, Midgehole Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7AW. Check out the route.

Easter Gate Return

Standedge Tunnel

Credit: Canal & River Trust

At only 2.8-miles long, the Easter Gate Return is a woodland walk fit for all the family. You’ll start at The Old Goods Yard in the heart of Marsden before following the canal towpath to Lock 42E where a big red way marker signals your next stage. You’ll head left at Standedge Tunnel into thick, lush woodland that leads you along bridleways up to the ancient Easter Gate packhorse bridge. Cross the over 300-year-old bridge and head into more woods before you rejoin the canal path that leads you back into Marsden.

Start at The Old Goods Yard, Station Road, Marsden, West Yorkshire, HD7 6DH. Check out the route.

North Dean Woods and Norland Circular

Norland Moor

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

If you fancy a long, sprawling, woodland walk with a steady incline, try the North Dean Woods and Norland Circular. This 9.3-mile route starts at Brig Royd Car Park in Halifax, but you’ll soon leave the urban jungle behind for a proper unspoiled wander. You’ll head along one side of the River Calder before crossing to the other, still heading north, until you reach Hollas Lane. You’ll then venture up towards Norland and into the thick North Dean Woods, rich in old oak and birch trees, before you reach the riverside path that leads you back to the start.

Start at Brig Royd Car Park, Stainland Road, Greetland, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX4 8AJ. Check out the route.

Hetchell Wood Circular

Hetchell Wood

Credit: Joanna Richards

Head to Thorner Village for an 7.7-mile walk that takes you into Hetchell Wood. You’ll kick things off at St Peter’s Church before making your way across Thorner Moor along easy-to-follow tracks – why not pause to enjoy the stunning views over the Bramham Park Estate? It’s onward to Stubbing Moor and Wothersome Lake before you reach Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve, where you can wander through the towering trees and spot local wildlife. Fancy a longer walk? The mysterious Pompocali Earthworks are just around the corner.

Start at St Peter’s Church, Thorner, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS14 3ED. Check out the route.

Sicklinghall and Lime Kiln Woods

Sicklinghall, Stockeld Farm

Credit: Chris Heaton licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

The Sicklinghall Circular is an 8.6-mile circular route around some of the most beautiful, wooded areas of West Yorkshire. It’s challenging, but still rewarding as you start at the village pond, before taking the abandoned railway line in the direction of Stockeld Park. From here, you’ll nip through the woods and onto The Harland Way towards Wetherby. Stroll along beside the River Wharfe before you make a beeline through the golf course at Linton and meander through the ever-so-pretty Lime Kiln Woods on your way back to the start.

Start at Sicklinghall Pond, Geecroft Lane, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS22 4BQ. Check out the route.

Elland Park Wood and Cromwell Bottom

Elland Park Wood

Credit: Humphrey Bolton licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Elland Park Wood offers a relaxing 4-mile jaunt through a quiet stretch of greenery. Start at Park Road car park, heading along a track that takes you right into the trees. You’ll go straight through the woods until you reach the carpets of bluebells that crop up throughout spring. You’ll then have the company of the unmistakable scent of wild garlic until you reach the old red brick cobbled road. It leads you to the Calderdale Way to take you back to the start, or you can carry on your trek for an extra couple of miles to Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve.

Start at Park Road, Elland, West Yorkshire, HX5 9HZ. Check out the route.