Saturday, 11 March 2017

Baildon Moor & Ilkley Moor

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Route: Baildon Moor, Bingley Road, Glovershaw Beck, Eldwick Crag, Weecher Mouth, Bingley Moor, Dales High Way, Twelve Apostles, Ilkley Moor, Lanshaw Lad, Burley Moor, Great Skirtful of Stones, Craven Hall Hill, Hawksworth Moor, Intake Gate, Old Wood Farm, Little London, Sconce Lane, Baildon Moor

Date: 11/03/2017
From: Baildon Moor

Parking: Baildon Moor
Start Point: Baildon Moor
Region: Yorkshire

Route length: 10.5 miles (16.9 km)
Time taken: 03:39
Average speed: 2.9 mph
Ascent: 398m
Descent: 404m

Summits: Baildon Moor (282m), Ilkley Moor (402m)

Other points of interest: Lanshaw Lad, Twelve Apostles, Skirtful of Stones

Baildon Moor is a little slice of Pennine moorland right on our doorstep though 'little' is its key descriptive feature. Registered as an urban common, it is a popular place for residents of Bradford and West Leeds to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

My planned walk would encompass Baildon Moor before crossing over to the much larger and more famous Ilkley Moor. The weather didn't promise much though it was going to be dry and it was nice to be out.

There is a car park on the north side of the moor, not far from the summit and the ideal starting point for the days outing. A wide track leads up the hillside to the trig pillar which marks the summit.
The car park on the north side of Baildon Moor
Looking towards the top
A boggy bit before the summit
Summit trig pillar
A toposcope is also found on the top
Despite its modest size, Baildon Moor (or perhaps more accurately Baildon Hill) is home to a host of interesting features including a number of gritstone outcrops, a stone circle known as Soldier's Trench which is said to date from the Bronze Age, and numerous Cup & Ring marked rocks of unknown origin.
Ilkley Moor in the distance
Travelling north-west from the summit a path (of which there are many) leads down to Bingley Road and to the Dales Way Link, one of three extensions to the Dales Way that link the starting point in Ilkley to the cities of Bradford and Leeds and the town of Harrogate.
Baildon Moor
The Dales Link
Looking back to Baildon Moor
The bridleway heads uphill across muddy farm fields until it reaches Otley Road at Mount Hill. An unpleasant walk along the busy road is required before accessing the open moorland of Bingley Moor, an area which forms the southern side of Ilkley Moor.
The Dick Hudsons on Otley Road
Heading up onto Bingley Moor
Eldwick Crag
Bingley Moor and Ilkley Moor
The path climbs very gradually past some delightfully named features; Weecher Mouth, Hog Hill, The Wham. I think the term 'features' is quite relative, though, it seems anything that is not peat has a name around these parts.
On the right track
Ilkley Moor
Another stone sign
Looking back towards Bingley Moor
The best of them is the Twelve Apostles, the remains of a stone circle with a diameter of about 15 metres. The circle originally had between 16 and 20 stones, but it is now reduced to 12. All of the stones were fallen by the mid-20th-century and were lying loose on the ground but have since been re-erected. Originally, the circle stood inside a bank 1.2 metres wide and half a metre high. The bank was still traceable in the 1920s but has apparently eroded since then due to visitors walking over the ground.
The Twelve Apostles
Heading to the summit is a path reminiscent of many across the Pennines - large blocks of stone floating atop a peaty bog. The shallow slopes around the summit limit the views though the radars of RAF Menwith Hill are visible on a clear day. A short distance from the summit is Lanshaw Lad, a vertical block of stone that marked the 19th Century boundary between Burley and Ilkley.
Summit trig pillar
Looking towards Burley Moor
I returned to the Twelve Apostles and continued on past High Lanshaw Dam to the Great Skirtful of Stones, a large though badly damaged Bronze Age cairn. Close by is a fine outcrop of gritstone that commands a view over Otley and The Chevin - the perfect place for a sandwich stop.
Lanshaw Lad
The path towards Burley Moor
Hazy Wharfedale
Crags at the Great Skirtful of Stones
Crags at the Great Skirtful of Stones
The Great Skirtful of Stones
A fallen monolith
Otley and The Chevin
With the moorland interest now behind me, I needed to begin working my way back to the car park on Baildon Moor via a combination of bridleways and farm tracks. The path skirts the edge of Hawksworth Moor, passing through a rifle range (closed today) to find Sconce Lane.
Hawksworth Moor
The intake to Reva Reservoir
Sconce Lane
Scone Lane at Gill Beck
The lane wends its way around a number of farms and the head of Gill Beck before it reaches a Scout hut close to Sconce Crag. A short, final climb across the greens of Baildon Golf Course (situated on Baildon Moor) returns to the car park.
Baildon Moor
It's great to have such a varied landscape so close to home and Ilkley Moor is a wonderful place to visit. In addition to the summit and Twelve Apostles, other highlights include the Swastika Stone and the Cow and Calf Rocks - I highly recommend a visit if you're in the area.