Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ilkley to Beamsley Beacon Circular 4.6.11


12.5 Miles 4-5 hours.
This was a walk I'd never done before. I've been to Ilkley many times, but the other side of the valley from the famous Moor was fairly unknown to me, apart from one Friday a few years ago when I took a wander over to that side only to not get any where really!
 After buying a map of the area, I noticed a few Trig Points that I've not visited, and one of them was on Beamsley Beacon. It's approximately 6 mile's from Ilkley, has a huge Cairn on it's summit and the scenery is well known in the area as being some of the best in the Yorkshire Dales, which it's just in.

 On arrival in Ilkley the weather was, well, pretty dull. Typically, even Ilkley Moor it's self had cloud on it's summit. So not looking good for views on Beamsley Beacon. But as walks go this would be a good one, and also a circular!

Once your out of the railway station, turn right and walk towards the main road, and then turn right again. Follow Brook Street for about a mile crossing over the River Wharfe about half way along...
At the end of Brook Street you come to a T Junction with Curly Road, turn right here... 
Follow Curly Road for about 100 yards and you should see a footpath sign next to a kissing gate on your left, entering into Middleton Woods. Go through the gate and follow the steps upwards...
 Middleton Woods are a really nice place to visit in themselves, so here you can follow the numerous pathways which are fairly easy to find your way around. At the top of the above steps was a fork in the path, I chose to go right as it was leading up hill. I always say if your going uphill, your going the right way. Only go down hill if your on your way home!...
Keep following the path through these fantastic woods, and you will come to a steep exit with a stile at the top, which opens out onto a field. Take this exit...
There are usually horses in this field, so watch out as they can be a bit curious as to who you are, maybe a good time to have an apple or a sugar lump on you for safe passage?! Follow the field more or less straight across to another stile, which brings you out onto Slate Lane. Turn left here and head along the lane for about 300 yards to a T-Junction...
 Turn right at the junction...
The right turn brings you onto Harding Lane, which is pretty busy for a country lane. The drivers are fairly psychotic too. So watch out for them.
 The lane is straight for a good mile, before bending to the left. At the bend you should see a farm gate, with a track leading off straight ahead. On your right is Windsover farm...
 The track going straight ahead, and a side entrance to Windsover Farm....
At the end of the lane you pass through another gate, where the path splits. Turn left here, keeping a dry stone wall on your left...
 Keep following the track along, and eventually you will come back out onto Harding Lane...
Follow the twisting moorland lane, and on your right you'll get a glimpse Beamsley Beacon...
 After about two miles the road comes to a small junction, with a sign for Bolton Abbey and Ilkley. Turn Left here...
 About 100 yards further on you'll see this sign pointing towards Beamsley Beacon...
The pathway now becomes a bit more rugged. head across from the sign, through a gate and out onto open moorland with a well trodden rocky pathway...
 You can seemingly go left or right here, but I chose left as it was up hill - remember uphill is good, only downhill if your going home!...
 Following the ridge...
 The summit coming into sight...
 Beamsley Beacon or Howber Hill - summit Trig Point, and the neighbouring massive cairn at 393m...
I then scaled the cairn, the views are apparently stunning. But unfortunately as you can see the cloud was in on this day...
 Looking at the path that follows from the summit and out onto open moorland towards Round Hill...
                                     
Move on from the summit and make your way across the long broad ridge of the hill, watch out for the foundations of a Napoleonic Guard Hut that was here at one time that gave the hill it's name as a Beacon...
Walking the cloudy ridge path, approaching the summit of Roundhill at 409m..
 Eventually you come to a dry stone wall which cuts across the ridge path, turn right here and follow the path keeping the dry stone wall to your left...
Cross over the stile here and continue along the pathway...

 Eventually you will come to this standing stone, an old directional sign. Turn right here, and if your not sure, check the stone - as it point's to Ilkley, and Ripon -  if you want!...
In this cloud, the old way marker stone was a nice reassurance your going the right way...
 The pathway now cuts across the moorland...
 A glimpse of Beamsley Beacon emerging from the mist for a minute...
 The pathway skirts around March Ghyll Reservoir...
 The pathway eventually becomes a track, which is for the grouse shooting season. At this point of the track, come off it, and continue straight ahead across the stile...
 Cut across the rough pasture to a ladder stile, and continue onto the track again...
 Follow the track all the way back towards Winsover Farm...
 Heading back along the track, back onto Hardings Lane, and back towards Ilkley...

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