The Airedale town of Bingley is starting point for several good walks and this shorter one is as satisfying as any.
The outward leg includes a visit to the peaceful hamlet of Beckfoot, where a Grade II listed packhorse bridge over Harden Beck dates from 1723. The village of Harden is reached by following the Bradford Millennium Way across a golf course then through woodland and fields. The return to Bingley includes a visit to the St. Ives estate, a country park gifted to Bingley by local landowners the Ferrands family in the 1920s. Car owners can use free parking provided here. Start from Point 6 and join the route at Beckfoot packhorse bridge. Deduct 1 1/2 miles. Watch for jays and treecreepers in woodland, sparrowhawks and little owls around the fringes.
1. From Bingley’s main street walk south on Myrtle Place and at Bingley Pool go left uphill to enter Myrtle Park. Continue past the bowling green and at the war memorial angle left to find steps leading downhill. From here bear left to cross a footbridge over the River Aire and continue past allotments to a back lane.
2. Turn right and cross the packhorse bridge at Beckfoot. On the other side of the bridge (walkers parking at St. Ives join the route here) follow the beck upstream and at a house turn left down steps. Cross the beck and follow the path onto Shipley Golf Course. Proceed across the fairways with care, following a line of whitewashed rocks, to enter Ruin Bank Wood.
3. Emerging from the wood, bear left across the field. Passing into another field angle sharp left to join an enclosed path which turns right and leads out onto Lee Lane. Turn right and follow the road down past the quarry at Bank Top. Continue through woodland on a track which joins a main road. Walk downhill with great care to the bridge over Harden Beck.
4. Walk past the pub, continue uphill for a short distance then turn right to follow Wilsden Old Road. Take third turning on the right, Narrow Lane, and follow it up to the B6429, Harden Road. Cross with care and walk past Harden Cricket Club.
5. Take a track on the left and follow it uphill to enter the St. Ives Estate. Through trees the route swings left then right. Don’t take a path going left but continue ahead past buildings on a lovely woodland path to emerge on the St. Ives access road. Turn right and return to the car park if that was your starting point.
6. If returning to Bingley go downhill past the car park entrance, find a path on the bend leading down through trees. Cross the Bingley-Harden road with care and descend a peaceful lane to the packhorse bridge at Harden Beck. On the other side go past allotments, turn left at the end and follow a path back through Myrtle Park to the centre of Bingley.
Difficulty rating: 2 stars
Hours: 2 1/2 hours
Distance: 5 miles
Map: OS Explorer (1:25000) 288 Bradford & Huddersfield.
Parking: Pay and display (Bingley); or free parking St. Ives Country Park (off B6429 Harden Road).
Public transport: Bingley is on the Airedale rail line between Leeds & Bradford and Skipton and served by buses from Keighley, Bradford and Leeds. For times visit www.wymetro.com or call 0113 245 7676.
Refreshments: Bingley, Harden, St. Ives.
Toilets: Bingley & St. Ives.