This is definitely a little gem of a ramble on a nice sunny day! You won’t be disappointed by the variety of features the Harden Valley has to offer: woods, waterfalls, viaduct, moors and of course the views! Right in the heart of the Brontë Country, the Harden Beck is a small affluent of the Aire River but the valley it has created over the geological time is quite something.
Difficulty: Hard – 5 hours – 10.4 Miles
Toilets: Attended public toilets located on Myrtle Place (by the market square).
Refreshments: there are many shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs in town but below are specifics businesses which we recommend if you go on this walk. Feel free to visit their site and contact them.
WaW supporters along the walk
A Garden & Leisure Centre on Harden Lane hosting a café serving good comforting food.
A pub in Cullingworth conveniently located right in the middle of the walk. Also home to the Old Spot Brewery, so worth a detour for a deserving pint of ale!
Lady B’s Café
A coffee shop near Coppice Pond in St Ives Estate
Map, elevation profile and downloadable files
Where to start?
Bingley Railway Station
Grid Reference SE 108 391
Directions - A ramble in the Harden Valley
Starting at Bingley Railway Station, you will need to make your way where the Harden Beck joins the River Aire. So, first go to Market Square where the Bingley Arts Centre is located and to its left is a street called Myrtle Place leading towards Myrtle Grove and the entrance of Myrtle Park. You should see Bingley Pool too. Once in Myrtle Park, keep the path going left after the cenotaph and go down towards the river. Cross the bridge over the River Aire, follow the alley along the allotments and once at the end turn right towards an old hamlet. There you will find the old pack horse bridge over Harden Beck.
Cross the bridge and go up Beck Lane up until you see another settlement. Before the first building, you should see a path going left and crossing the beck again. Then you’ll make your way through a golf course – follow the white markings – towards a pine tree plantation (Ruin Bank Wood) on the other side. There is a very steep ascent to start with and then you will arrive at a crossing of paths on Black Hills. Take the path veering slightly right. This is a permissive pathway, so is not marked as a Rights of Ways on O.S. maps. However, this is definitely worth a gander as half way through you will find what is known locally as the St David’s Folly or Harden Grange Folly. It’s a monument built as a ruin – a folly – by the Ferrand family in the 19th Century. Carry on the path through the pine tree plantation and once you are on the other side, you’ll have to cross a busy road (Harden Lane) so be careful.
Note: You should find yourself on the car park of Stephen H. Smith’s Garden & Leisure. They have a great café there and it’s a good location for a small break if you want to.
Go up Harden Lane and turn immediately right after the cottages along Cherry Tree Row – the entrance to the path is by the field gate. Then follow the edge of Crag Wood for a while before taking a path going down the river bank. You should arrive at the entrance of a static caravan park. Go left and follow the river upstream up until the wonderful Goitstock waterfall. This is private land, so no swimming unfortunately! The setting is perfect for taking great pictures though. Once you are ready to carry on, make your way above the waterfall and carry on following the river upstream. Eventually you’ll arrive at an old mill now converted into luxury apartments. The gardens are a delight to the eye. You can’t walk through them but you will be skirting the property above Hewenden Beck.
At some point in the distance, you should see Hewenden viaduct. However, there is another busy road to cross before the viaduct – Cullingworth Road – so once again take care. You can go under the viaduct before finding your way to its top where the views are fantastic! The viaduct is now part of the “Great Northern Railway Trail“, a project to create a long distance traffic-free cycling and walking route through the Brontë Country. Now walk on top of the viaduct towards Cullingworth staying on the path up until you reach Cullingworth Primary School.
Note: Once you are in the village, a detour to The George Hotel, near the church is a must. This pub serves one of the best real ales in the area, the Spot’o Bother!
After this break, the last leg of the journey will see you go through moorlands before arriving in the St Ives estate above Harden and Bingley. Leaving Cullingworth on the busy Keighley Road, you will have to walk on tarmac for a little while before turning right on a path leading towards Catstones Moor. The views on that side of the valley are really good, so take your time to appreciate before heading back towards the wooded area of St Ives. Once you’ve passed Catstones Moor, you’ll find yourself on Ryecroft Road. Go up the road and pass the active quarry then turn right. There, a path skirting the quarry will take you onto Harden Moor. There is a crisscross of paths and it can be difficult to keep it’s bearing. So look for the high voltage line in the horizon and go right towards it. You should then find a path following a wall for a while. Then you should be above what is known as “Deep Cliff". Follow the path going left up until you arrive on the Calder Aire Link near a farm known as Ether Glen. Follow this straight lane up until you arrive on Keighley Road.
Opposite is St Ives estate, turn right on Keighley Road. A tall wall runs along the estate, however you will not have to walk on tarmac. Soon you will find a hole in the wall and behind a path runs along the wall. This path will take you to Coppice Pond.
Note: Just after Coppice Pond is the Lady’s B Café. Perfect for a break on this long walk!
From there, a last stroll through the estate will take you back in town – look out for the chain-saw wooden carved statues! Soon you should find yourself on Altar Lane leading onto Harden Road and Ireland Bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right onto a path along the River Aire. Finally take a left turn on Riverside Walk going up the bank and joining Queen Street located just behind Bingley Arts Centre. You are now back in town and you can make your way to the Railway Station on Wellington Street.