It’s safe to say that Bingley is not Venice. However the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool canal form an easy to follow route on this walk, so expect to be walking near water quite a lot! You will also see a local architectural wonder known locally as the “Seven Arches", an aqueduct bearing the load of Leeds Liverpool Canal above the River Aire. Once there, you will really feel like you are between two waters! And what is really hidden inside a castle bridge crossing over the River Aire?
Essential info about the walk
Start: Bingley Railway Station
This walk is a car free train walk! We encourage walkers to use public transport as much as possible.
Difficulty: Easy – 1 & 1/2 hours – 4.2 Miles
Toilets: there are public toilets near the start of this walk and are located on Myrtle Place (by the market square) in Bingley.
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.
An old venue under new management! A great place to have a drink at the end of your walk.
A lovely bakery serving fresh bread and pastries as well as coffees and hot drinks to take away.
This is the perfect place for a drink or food on this walk. Located by the canal and almost at the end of the walk, we highly recommend a visit.
Where to start?
Bingley Railway Station
Grid Reference SE 108 391
1. Bingley Railway Station to Three Rise Locks.
Leaving the train station on Wellington Street, turn right towards The Station Masters House. Cross the road and turn right on Park Road, pass Sue Ryder charity shop and then go over the bridge. On the other side, just before the first building – left hand side of the road – go down towards the canal tow path. Follow the canal with Damart Mill on your right hand side up to the Three Rise Locks. Once there, cross over the locks to find yourself on the other side of the canal.
Optional: Here you can carry on along the canal to go and see the Five Rise Locks (see Five Rise Locks Family Walk for more info)
2. Three Rise Locks to Myrtle Park.
Take the pedestrian bridge to cross the bypass named after Bingley born astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle – you will see Bingley Parish Church on your right. At the traffic lights in front of the Bingley Fire Station, cross the street towards The Old White Horse. This is the oldest part of Bingley and still bears some cobbled streets.
Note: The Old White Horse is said to be one of the oldest public houses in England!
Go towards Ireland Bridge and stay on the left hand-side, pass the Curio Cottage Antic Shop and soon after take a path on your left before the bridge. Soon you will find yourself walking along the river. The path is called Riverside Walk and it will take you to Myrtle Park. On the way, you should see a plaque stone in the the middle of the footpath with the inscription “The Throstles Nest of Old England, Bingley".
3. Myrtle Park to house above the river bank.
At the end of the footpath, a huge clearance will appear. This used to be the site of the Bingley Music Live festival from 2007 to 2018. It is also the site of the annual Bingley Show. In the distance, you should also see a house high above the river bank – this is where you are heading to. Walk in the field towards the pedestrian steel green bridge over the river (Festival of Britain Bridge). Once on the other side, walk towards the woods and go up some steps. At a cross path, keep the left path above the river bank up to the house. Walk in front of the house overlooking the river and the park. Please be considerate for the house owners when walking through the property ground and keep to the path.
4. Towards Beckfoot Lane.
Going down the river bank, soon you will arrive at Beckfoot Packhorse Bridge. The houses on the over side are some of the oldest still standing in the area dating back to the 17th century. The settlement is said to have links to the Knights Templar and in one of the derelict buildings, there are markings which tend to prove that. After the settlement, you will find yourself on a tarmac road – Beckfoot Lane – and you should pass along a golf course (Shipley Golf Club). Carry on all the way up to the busy Bradford Road.
5. From Cottingley Bridge to Bradford and Bingley RUFC.
At the end of Beckfoot Lane, on your left is Cottingley Bridge going over the River Aire. However, you need to cross the road to find an opening in the wall on the other side. Be careful while crossing the road, there is no pedestrian crossing there!
Note: Stop for a coffee and a bite at the Bridge Bakery & Barista!
Behind the opening in the wall is a steep flight of stair taking you down into a private garden which has been fenced up on both sides. However the path is a rights of way, so you are allowed to cross this private garden. Again be considerate for the garden owners and stick to the footpath. You are finally walking back along the river. Soon you will encounter a strange looking “castle bridge" going over the river. This is part of the Yorkshire Water Nidd Aqueduct, a 32 miles man-made watercourse from Angram and Scar House reservoirs in upper Nidderdale, North Yorkshire to Chellow Heights water treatment works in Bradford in West Yorkshire. Soon after, you will see the Bradford and Bingley “Bees” RUFC training ground.
6. From Bradford and Bingley RUFC to Hirst Woods.
You will skirt the training ground remaining on the path with the river on your left. After the training ground, the path becomes less certain following some floods damage back in February 2020 – please stay away from the water's edge as the river bank is not stable. Soon after, you will cross a wooden bridge over Cottingley Beck and then you will go under the modern concrete Bingley Relief road flyover. Continue forward to join a path between high walls just behind the Mercure Bradford Bankfield Hotel. At the end of the walls carry on following the path, river on the left, to reach and pass under the railway’s Victorian steel pylons just before Hirst Woods.
6. Hirst Woods and back in town.
After that bridge, go left along the river and then follow a footpath which goes across the woods. At the end of the path, you should be on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Go left and you are now on a bridge known locally as the “Seven Arches Aqueduct” above the River Aire. It was engineered by James Brindley and carries the canal 30ft above the river. Beneath it, the structure is protected by pitched stones if the river floods. After the bridge is a small settlement which used to be warehouse buildings for the canal. The path goes around the settlement and pass the Bingley water treatment to re-join the canal towpath just before Dowley Gap. Stay on the canal towpath, admire the locks at Dowley Gap and once there it is all the way back to Bingley along the canal.
Note: You might want to stop at The Fisherman's Inn located just before Dowley Gap Locks for a pint or other refreshments.
To go back to the railway station, you don't have to get back all the way to Three Rise Locks. There is a pedestrian bridge above the canal and the bypass which will take you just behind the Aldi store. From there, the station is only a step away.
Nidd Aqueduct: this man made aqueduct runs from the Nidd Valley all the way to Bradford and his mostly hidden underground except when crossing over watercourses like the River Aire at Bingley. Along with the Barden Aqueduct, it was recently refurbished. Find out more: Victorian Aqueducts Get a Makeover
Seven Arches Aqueduct: also know as the Dowley Gap Aqueduct it was built to cross over the River Aire. Underneath the arches you can find pitched stones to protect the structure just in case the river floods. It's also a perfect place for bats to roost under the arches.
Have you done this walk yourself? Don't hesitate to give us some feedback by leaving a comment below!