The south-western side of the great Rombalds Moor dividing Airedale and Wharfedale is much less walked than the moorland above Ilkley.
This circular route along bridleways makes a great outing on a hot summer’s day. The rewards include fine long-distance views, unfrequented tracks and even a spot of culture. Simon Armitage’s Poem “Dew” is inscribed on two flat stones on the edge of Rivock Plantation, part of the Stanza Stones project by Ilkley Literature Festival. At the start of the route there is an optional brief detour to view Robin Hood’s Stone, a large pointed rock on the hillside carrying a local legend that the outlaw escaped his pursuers by hiding behind it. In summer these upland fields attract curlews and lapwings. Watch for kestrels around the area of felled plantation.
1. From the car park turn right and walk along the road to a gate. If doing so, make the short detour downhill to view Robin Hood’s Stone then return to the gate. Follow the public bridleway beyond the gate to the end of a wall and continue past it to an obvious path leading downhill to Rough Holden Farm.
2. Continue ahead on a track through the farmyard and when the track turns right up the hill keep walking ahead and ignore a track leading downhill on the left. Cross a field to ford a stream. Swing right then left to reach the ruin of Out Laith.
3. Cross stiles to the left of the ruin and follow the path to ford Dirk Hill Sike. Go right to walk upstream a short distance then climb up the bank and cross to the far corner of a field. Continue uphill beside a wall, pass through gate stoops. Briefly join a farm track and cross a stile on the right and go over a succession of stiles past Far Ghyll Grange Farm and head towards Black Pots Farm.
4. In front of the farm turn right onto a wide farm track known as Jerry Lane and follow it up into Rivock plantation. Now on a forestry road the bridleway eventually leaves the trees to enter a large area of felled woodland and descends to run alongside a wall and reach the Dew Stones bearing a poem by Simon Armitage.
5. Continue along the path out of Rivock plantation and go through a metal gate. Cross a field aiming to the left of a TV mast to join a track and swing left to follow it down past a farm building to reach Holden Lane. Turn right and walk along the road with care back to the layby.
Difficulty rating: 2 stars
Time: 2 hours
Distance: 4 miles
Map: OS Explorer (1:25000) Sheet 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley.
Parking: Large layby near Holden Gate between East Morton and Silsden.
Public transport: No convenient service for this walk.
Toilets & refreshments: Silsden, East Morton.