Five beautiful Yorkshire river and canal walks to try this weekend

Make the most of the great outdoors this month and support a good cause at the same time, with Welcome To Yorkshire’s Walkshire event and Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Saltaire from the Leeds-Liverpool canal
Saltaire from the Leeds-Liverpool canal

To tie in with this month-long campaign, today, we publish a selection of river and canal side walks from the Walkshire collection.

We hope you enjoy this selection of walks safely and, during the coronavirus pandemic, we urge everyone to follow the Government guidelines and only to travel if it is safe to do so. We also encourage readers to follow the Countryside Code.

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1. Saltaire to Bingley on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Starts/ends: Roberts Park, Saltaire/5 rise Locks, Bingley

Distance: 3 miles

Starting the route in Roberts Park, Saltaire cross the River Aire to pick up the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath. You will follow the towpath for the full length of the walk to Bingley. At the beginning of the walk you will experience the history of Saltaire, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Take the time to pursue the housing that Titus Salt provided for his workers. On leaving Saltaire, the route will start to feel more rural passing Hirst Wood. Continuing, follow the path towards Dowley Gap Lock. This is the ideal stop for a mid-route refreshment break at The Fisherman’s, a canalside pub. The route will become more industrial as you start to enter Bingley, and you will be able to see the Damart Chimney rising above the Bingley 3 Rise Locks. Continue following the path past the 3 Rise Locks towards the Rise 5 Locks. Bingley 5 Rise Locks are one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways and are the steepest staircase lock on the longest canal in the country. When you reach the top the 5 Rise Locks you will be able to take in the breath-taking views of the Aire Valley. There is cafe, perfect for a post walk nourishment, a private mooring and the Old Lock Keepers Cottage at the top of the staircase locks. You can retrace your steps back down the canal or catch the train from Bingley Station (5-10 minute walk from the Canal) back to Saltaire.

2. Tinsley Pump House to Rotherham

Starts/ends: Tinsley Pump House/Rotherham

Distance: 3 miles

Start the walk at the Pump House in Tinsley, this can be easily accessed from the Meadowhall South / Tinsley tram stop. There is a pathway from the tram stop to the Canal. Once you arrive on the towpath you will see the Victorian Pump House. The pump house was built to help pump water from the bottom to the top of the Tinsley Lock Flight, which was original 12 locks when it open in 1819. Start walking from the pump house towards Rotherham, the route follows the traffic free greenway for the full distance. You will pass several locks on the three-mile stretch. The first locks that you will reach are Lock 11 and 12 of the Tinsley Flight. It is at theses locks that the waterway becomes the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. As you follow the path the route will vary from a rural feel to much more industrial. As you enter Rotherham look out for New York Stadium, home of Rotherham United FC, next to the canal. Follow the towpath as you enter Rotherham centre and past the new development of Forge Island. The route concludes at Rotherham Central, where you can retrace your steps or jump onto the tram or train back to Meadowhall.

3. The Foss Way, York

Starts/ends: Easingwold/York

Distance: 28 miles

Follow the stunning River Foss as it winds its way into York passing through the villages of Oulston, Crayke, Farlington, Strensall and Haxby to name a few. There is a great variety of countryside to stroll through from Woodlands to meadows, riverbanks to beautiful villages. Make sure you stop off in those villages to take advantage of the local hospitality when you need a pit stop. Finally the walk arrives into York from the and it’s a lovely walk to see the city unwrap itself right before your eyes as the modern buildings become replaced by the ancient as you get closer to the medieval centre. This is 28 miles in total so look to break this up into smaller sections.

4. Pocklington Canal

Starts/ends: Pocklington/East cottingwith

Distance: 9 miles

Follow the Pocklington canal on this flat nine-mile route to East Cottingwith. You’ll get a real sense of how the canal was used in Victorian times as there are many repurposed building to spot as well as the beautiful boats using the space today. As with most canals there is an abundance of wildlife to see on the route. Watch out for the elusive Kingfisher darting around the water as well as swans, ducks and geese. Ideal for the family if you’re helping the younger ones with that school history project.

5. Leeds Dock to Knostrop Lock

Starts/ends: Leeds Dock/Knostrop Lock

Distance: 4 miles

Starting the walk from Leeds Dock, situated on the Aire & Calder Navigation, the walk is easy to navigate by following the riverside path to Knostrop Lock and Thwaites Mill. This route makes up part of the Trans Pennine Trail. As you leave the city centre from Leeds Dock look out for the street art that has been installed on the riverside. You will pass under the new rust coloured steel pedestrian bridge, which opened in 2019. Moving further out you will walk around the edge of the Knostrop Quay housing development. After passing the estate you will need to cross the pedestrian bridge to follow the riverside path on the far side, where the route becomes more of a green corridor. Following the path, you will cross the river again on a footbridge bridge and arrive at Knostrop Lock. Continue downstream, passing the small stone circle, until you reach Thwaite Watermill. Once you reach the mill follow the road round to the path back up at Knostrop Lock. You will need to cross the lock before retracing your steps back to Leeds Dock.