Ilkley Moor

An area full of interest including many carved rocks and several stone circles easily accessible from Leeds and Bradford by car train or bus. Back to Yorkshire Dales Contents Page

Carved Rock.jpg (49968 bytes)

Carved Rock Grid ref 126463 and 12 Apostles

Map reading is essential for this walk. The  relevant map is OS Explorer 27 Lower Wharfedale

Walk - Menston to Ilkley - 9 miles  - 4 hr : Start at Menston Railway Station and proceed through along the alleyway (at rear of station) and along Fairfax Road to centre of village. Turn left at top of Fairfax Road and immediately right to pass the Menston Arms. Continue up Main Street and after 400m (at a sharp bend in the road) bear right on to an un-metalled road known as Bleach Mill Lane. Continue for some while past the old bleaching ponds meandering slightly downhill until the former mill is reached. The footpath proceeds to the left of the drive to the rear of the house. At the end of the enclosed path emerge at a stile to cross the stream and Cross the stream and immediately turn left up the ravine and over two stiles. Cross the footbridge at the top and continue up the private drive between two houses. At the top of the drive cross the moor road and continue up a further track serviving various cottages and farms for mile until a gate is reached at the edge of the moor. Pass through the gate and progress diagonally uphill across the open moorland passing to the right hand side of Carr Bottom reservoir in a Westerly direction aiming for the higher ground.

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  • Hawksworth Moor Circle Grid ref 136446

This eventually joints the more distinct path assing to the right of Lower Lanshaw reservoir. Proceed to rock outcrop at the top of the moor together with the timber shooting hut. Hawksworth Moor Circle is located in the heather about 50m due south from the hut . Now follow the well used footpath due west across open moorland to high point on the horizon ignoring the right hand fork to Upper Lanshaw Reservoir dam on the right hand side. After mile a junction with the Ilkley-Bingley path should be reached. Turn right nera a small cairn and proceed for 200m passing The Twelve Apostles stone circle on the right hand side and continue for a further 200m or so until a cairn is reached. Turn left and again following a westerly course follow the path to the trig point ignoring a branch off to the right. On reaching the trig point [402m] continue on the same course soon following a wall on to a recently flagged path to Whetstone Gate. Cross the vehicle track and mainting the top of the hill follw the wall for 800m to West Buck Stones. Now follow the edge of a plantation for 400m or so and after a slight change in diderction of the plantaion boundary look for a path running due north downhill. Proceeed for 900m to meet the main low level path running arpund the perimter of the moor and turn right heading due east. After 1000m the well used path passes Swastika Stone on the left Shortly after Swastika Dtone there is an option to turn lft down Hebers Gill a Victorian creation with footpaths a bridges weasving its way down the gill to emerge at what will become Grove Road at the bottom. Follow this into Ilkley. Alternatively follow the path along the edge of the moor until eeting a minir road . Then turn left downhill into the town centre.

Alternatively this can be turned into a circuit by carrying on downhill from Twelve Appostles and on reaching Gill H cross two small steams. Turn right immediatly after the second stream and follow the path downhill for 200m. Turn right at the bottom to cross the strea [might be difficult to spot] and the path rises up hill slightly to emerge in the former Bronze Age settlement with the house and enclourse easily visible. Then pick up the vehicle track where the track turnd to drop down the hillside carry straight on along the contour back towards Burley Woodhead soon following the edge of the moor. Drop down the path alongside the ravine above Burley Woodhead to meet the road. Turn right for a short while and then bear left at footpath sign pointing down private drive. This now proceeds directly to Menston crossing several fields and drive ways and after passing Hag Farm regain Bleach Mill Lane and thence into Menston.

Proceed to the station and get the train back to Menston and beyond. NB Trains run at 15-20min frequency weekdays and Saturday and hourly on Sunday

  • Twelve Apostles- the precise reason is not known but this is the most visited of four circles on the moor

Swastika Stone Ilkley Moor 23 jan.jpg (51207 bytes)

  • Swastika Stone - this is located at the end on Panorama Walk above Ilkley- A slight detour will be required

Trig Point on Ilkley Moor Feb 01.jpg (35830 bytes)

  • Trig point on Ilkley Moor

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  • Horncliffe Stone Circle  SE 134 433- a detour would be required from Great Skirtful

References: Prehistoric Rock Art Of The West Riding - published by English Heritage and the West Yorkshire Archeological Service - this gives details of locations and descriptions together with many photographs. The use of a GPS is recommended to assist in tracking the approximate locations - but this sometimes requires perseverance! Some are difficult to spot or obscure by undergrowth

Travel: rail services from Leeds and Bradford to Ilkley and Menston. For bus services see

Important note:- Whilst the author has taken every care in assembling the information on this site, no responsibility can be accepted for any error or omission herein. If in any doubt walkers should consult the relevant OS map.

This page was last updated on 19-Mar-2018

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©John Carey 2009