Weekend Walk: Cow & Calf

Path along the edge of Wharfedale.
Path along the edge of Wharfedale.
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Many walkers visit Ilkley Moor’s iconic Cow & Calf (also known as the Hangingstone Rocks) by using one of the network of paths from Ilkley and White Wells.

This route is a delightful alternative, beginning at the large village of Burley-in-Wharfedale and providing fine views over the dale to Asquith and Denton Moors from a fairly level path along the edges of Ilkley and Burley Moors. The return leg is through quiet back-lanes, tracks and fields. Burley makes a good starting point for users of public transport. If arriving by car, you can park at the Cow & Calf and joint the walk at Point 3. Birds regularly seen on this walk include red kite, kestrel, common buzzard, jay, red grouse and green woodpecker.

The Cow & Calf Rocks

The Cow & Calf Rocks

1. From Station Road in Burley-in-Wharfedale take Hag Farm Road (running east immediately to the south of the station). It eventually becomes an unmade road, and on the right look for a stile and follow the path to another stile leading into woodland. At a white field gate swing left to a hand gate and follow the path uphill. Look for an intersecting path and go hard right, passing through a wall gap then a gate. Turn left to follow an access drive up to a road.

2. Cross with care and turn right to walk along the pavement for a short distance. Opposite Moor Road turn left to go through a gate and follow an obvious path uphill. Just below a house go right on a good path which runs along the edge of Burley Moor. Eventually it descends towards the top of the Cow & Calf, seen ahead. Ignore a path forking right and continue ahead to turn right on an intersecting path which leads down to the Cow & Calf car park.

3. Cross the road with care to take a path running downhill for a short distance, and fork right to a gate giving access to the golf course. Follow this fairly straight path along the edge of the course, heeding a warning sign about the danger of flying golf balls. Leaving the golf course, pass a house and continue ahead through the parking area of a housing development.

4. Beyond the car park turn right to follow a road uphill towards High Stead. At Mount Stead go left uphill. Before the next farm go through a field gate on the left to follow a bridleway. Bear left in the field to a wall corner and turn right to pass through a wall gap. Follow this path to turn left on a farm road; follow it road past the buildings and at a right hand bend keep ahead through a gate. Follow the obvious path to an unmade road, and beyond a housing development fork left to follow a path leading to a tarmac lane back to Station Road.

The Cow & Calf above Ilkley

The Cow & Calf above Ilkley

Difficulty rating: 2 stars.

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 2 hours

Map: OS Explorer (1:25000) 297 Lower Wharfedale & Upper Washburn Valley.

Looking back over Wharfedale from above Burley Woodhead.

Looking back over Wharfedale from above Burley Woodhead.

Parking: Informal/responsible, Burley-in-Wharfedale, or at Cow & Calf Rocks.

Public transport: Burley-in-Wharfedale is on the Wharfedale railway line from Leeds and Bradford, and served by buses from Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton and Keighley. For services check www.wymetro.com or 0113 245 7676.

Toilets & refreshments: Burley-in-Wharfedale, Cow & Calf.