Ilkley, West Yorkshire Sunday 4th September 2016

Today’s Walk

Strenuous Leader: Carole Rankin   Distance: 12.00 miles

From CP in Ilkley we make our way to the Panorama Rocks then up Heber’s Ghyll to the Swastika Stone and along the edge of the moors to Windgate Nick (381m/1250ft). We then descend to Addingham and over the R. Wharfe. Across fields to Nesfield passing High Austby Farm, Tivoli and stopping at Mount Calvary on our way to Middleton Woods and back to Ilkley along the Wharfe.
Although no great climbs, this is a long walk and a good pace is required.

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance : 8.50 miles

From Ilkley we head up to White Wells to meet up with the “Millennium Way” Then we head west to Addingham High Moor. Then back down off the moor to pick up the “Dales Way” path along the river into Ilkley, for refreshments and a well-earned rest.

Leisurely Leaders: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance 6.50 miles

The walk might not go ahead due to illness.
We had been planning to go up to White Wells, then go along the bottom edge of Ilkley Moor as far as the Swastika stone, then return to White Wells along some different paths, where possible, and if the weather is fair make our way to the Cow and Calf viewpoint before returning down to Ilkley.

Easy Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance : 5.50 miles

We head down to the River Wharfe and follow the Dales Way to Addingham, where we cross the river on a suspension bridge, and return to Ilkley on the opposite side of the river. The outward journey is very easy walking on good lanes and paths with the no stiles only kissing gates. The return on the opposite side of the river is another story altogether with a longish uphill stretch (not steep) on a quiet lane with nice views over the valley to Ilkley Moor, followed by fields and woodland back down to the river. Several climbing stiles on this stretch with one or two quite awkward wall stiles.

Notes On The Area

Notes On The Area

Ilkley is the highest town on the River Wharfe, and provides the perfect stepping stone between the industrial townships downstream and the joys of the Yorkshire Dales immediately upstream. Travelling up the Wharfe, it is only on reaching Ilkley that the enclosing hills first show their more serious intentions, and none more so than the world-famous Ilkley Moor rising steeply to the south of the town. Its breezy heather heights are in fact only a modest tract of the extensive, all-embracing Rombalds Moor which boasts a wealth of antiquity in stone, with circles, cairns and carvings. Also above the town are the Cow and Calf Rocks, the Tarn and Hebers Gyhyll, all being popular local haunts.

Although Ilkley’s origins are far earlier, it is perhaps best known as the Roman ‘Olicana’ and for some superb Anglian crosses, now inside the Parish Church. Alongside the church is the very attractive Manor House, now serving as a museum. Ilkley’s real growth came with the railway, and its humble pretentions to being a spa resort. To this day it has attracted wealth in the form of businessmen seeking a haven from city workplaces and people set for relaxing retirement amidst invigorating air.

White Wells was built as a small bath house in the 1760’s by Squire Middleton of Ilkley. The buildings date from the 18th century, and include bath houses built to utilise the intensely cold and invigorating spring water of the Great Spaw (spa) for ‘hydropathic’ treatment. One bath can still be used, and is particularly popular on New Year’s Day and Yorkshire Day (1st August). Alternative forms of ‘refreshment’ are provided by the old drinking fountain next to the building, or by the café inside which opens ‘whenever the flags are flying’ (most school holidays and weekends throughout the year). The view from the terrace includes the former hydro of Wells House, built to cater for the burgeoning interest in the ‘water cure’. Among its guests was Charles Darwin, who came here on completing ‘The Origin of Species’ in 1859. He would possibly have ridden a donkey up to the bath-house for treatment.

Most of the stone to build Ilkley came out of the huge hole of Hangingstones Quarry, which now forms a strangely beautiful landscape. Above the far end, the rock surface beneath your feet has been smoothed flat under the pressure of ice, and grooved by stones frozen into the glacier sliding over it. The sharp end of the Hangingstones Ridge is called Crocodiles Head and is poised above the abyss of Backstone Beck. The gorge has been cut along a fault plane where the rock has been weakened and shattered, but a waterfall has formed where a harder, less yielding layer of rock runs across it. The fault has separated the Hangingstones ‘block’ from the main body of the moorland above.