Bingley and the St Ives Estate Walk
Great views of Airedale from a viewpoint known as the Druid’s Altar.
Distance: 6 miles Minimum time: 3 hours
1 Walk downhill from the centre of Bingley, towards the church. Go left at the traffic lights, passing the Old White Horse pub, on to Millgate. Cross the River Aire and take the first right, Ireland Street. Swing immediately right and then left to join a riverside track. Very soon you seem to have swapped town for country. Bear right in front of Ravenroyd Farm, to pass between other farm buildings and continue on a walled track. Pass another house, Cophurst, and carry on through successive pastures beside a wood.
2 Leaving the trees, the ongoing track continues past Marley Farm to end over a stile and stream on to a track by Blakey Cottage. Go left, bypassing a ford to follow the rough track uphill.
As it later swings into a farm, bear right on a grass trail that winds up the bracken-clad slope, ultimately arriving at a small gate into thicker woodland. A narrow path rises on through the trees. Bear right and then left at successive forks to reach level ground at the top of the wood beside a wall running on your right. Eventually, after crossing a track, the path leads to a rocky outcrop, known as the Druid’s Altar, which offers splendid views.
3 Bear right, after the rocks, to come to a meeting of tracks. Go through a gap in the wall opposite, on to a walled track into the St Ives Estate. Leave immediately through a kissing gate on the right on to a path that runs pleasantly for 0.5 mile within Race Course Plantation. Ignoring the kissing gate leading out at the end, go left, now descending, initially still within threes through a golf course and then at the edge of open heather moor.
When the accompanying wall later turns away, bear right with the main path, dropping through wood once more to come upon Lady Blantyre’s Rock.
4 Ignoring side-tracks, follow the path downhill, to Coppice Pond. Join a metalled road to bear left, passing Reader’s Tea Room, the golf clubhouse and then, set back on the right, St Ives Mansion.
5 Beyond the house, curve right and left to follow the main drive downhill for 0.5 mile. Just after passing a car park, take a path left into woodland. Keep right where it immediately forks, to reach the B6429, the Bingley to Cullingworth road. Cross it and continue downhill on narrow Beckfoot Lane. After houses the land becomes an unmade track leading down to a delectable spot: here you will find Beckfoot Farm, in a wooded setting by Harden Beck, with a ford and an old packhorse bridge that dates back to 1723.
6 Cross the bridge and bear left at Beckfoot Farm, to find allotments on your left. Where the allotments end, take a path to the left which leads to a metal footbridge over the River Aire and into Myrtle Park. Walk ahead through the park to arrive once again in the centre of Bingley.
Bingley and the Five Rise Locks
Walkers with an interest in canal history may want to extend the above walk to include a visit to Bingley’s famous ‘staircase’ of locks, which is Bingley’s best-known landmark.
Access from the centre of Bingley is down Park Road. Cross the canal and take a path to the left that leads you to the tow path.
The Three-Rise Locks are just a short walk of 274m away, the path continuing on the other bank to the more celebrated Five-Rise Locks 800m further on.
Return along the tow path to the Three-Rise Locks and turn right across a footbridge that spans the bypass and railway line, it leads back to the main road near the parish church
What to look out for
Having been removed from the main street, Bingley’s ancient stocks, butter cross and old market hall were re-sited near to the Ferrands Arms and the entrance to Myrtle Park.