Bingley Five Rise Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways and as such is a fantastic site to visit with the family. It was officially opened in 1774 and is the steepest staircase lock in the country with a gradient of about 1:5 – a rise of 59 ft 2 in (18.03 m) over a distance of 320 ft (98 m). The best way to access it is by walking along the canal towpath from the town centre. This circular walk starts from the train station and should keep everyone in the family happy as there are so many things to see and do along the way; like feed the ducks, explore the locks, watch the wildlife and get an ice cream! We hope you'll enjoy your visit and don't hesitate to leave a comment!
Essential info about the walk
Start: Bingley Railway Station
Difficulty: Easy – 1 hour – 2.1 Miles
Toilets: There are public toilets on 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.
A charming little café serving dairy ice cream and located in the former stables of the Five Rise Locks.
A trendy family friendly pub located in the town centre and offering a wide range of food.
Where to start?
Bingley Railway Station
Grid Reference SE 108 391
1. Railway Station to footbridge over the bypass
Starting at the train station on Wellington Street, take left passing the car park and towards Aldi Supermarket. Cut across the supermarket's car park to find yourself on Dubb Lane, a cul de sac hosting Bingley & Five Rise Private Hire, a local mini cab company. Walk to the back of this street and towards the bypass, you will soon find a zebra crossing. Be careful when crossing the road and then go straight on the footbridge over the bypass.
2. Walking on the canal towpath
At the end of the footbridge, turn left onto a path leading towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Once on the canal towpath, turn left. Before walking along the canal, please remind everyone walking with you to keep SAFE (Stay Away From the Edge)! If lucky you should see the first signs of wildlife with many swans, ducks, water-hens and geese known to be on this stretch of the canal. It is recommended to avoid feeding wild animals with bread. Instead Canal & River Trust suggest replacements such as oats, peas, lettuce, seeds, rice or corn.
3. Towards Three Rise Locks
Carry on walking on the towpath and once you pass under a bridge, you should now see the Damart Mill on your right hand side. Quite often boats are moored here, waiting to go through the Three Rise Locks which is at the bottom of Damart Mill. This flight of locks was built at the same time as the Five Rise Locks and at the top, there was once the site of the lock keeper cottage.
4. Soon after the Three Rise Locks, look on your right hand side for some steps leading towards the North Bog.
Please note: if you have a pram, instead of going down the steps, carry on along the towpath up to the bottom of the Five Rise Locks. Then you should see a kissing gate which is large enough for a normal pram to go through.
5. From North Bog to Five Rise Locks
There, you should look out for more wildlife such as, small birds, herons, dragonflies and damselflies, frogs and toads and all sorts of bugs! Look up in the trees for the bat-boxes too! There are some picnic tables, so it's also a perfect spot for a bit of a break. On this walk, instead of going up the steep Five Rise Locks towpath, you will go around it on a smoother incline remaining on the North Bog path. At the top of the North Bog, go through another kissing gate leading onto Sleningford Road. Go right, towards the canal towpath and right again towards the Five Rise Locks where more ducks should wait for you to be fed. Once at the Locks, don't hesitate to visit the Five Rise Locks Café, have a chat with the friendly lock keeper or simply admire this industrial wonder!
6. Back in town!
Once you are ready to leave the site, just walk back down the towpath up to the Three Rise. On your right hand side, take the footbridge going over the bypass – which was named after Bingley born astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle – and leading towards the All Saints Parish Church. After the bridge, turn left and you are now back in town on Main Street. There are many pubs, café and shops in Bingley which are walkers and family friendly, so don't hesitate and pay them a vist! To go back to the train station, walk up Main Street to the set of traffic lights, turn left on Park Road and then right on Wellington Street where you should see the railway station building.
The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is celebrating it's 200 anniversary in 2016 but the Bingley Locks were open 42 years before the full length of the canal was completed. So Bingley had a second party to celebrate the event and on 16th October 2016 the Bingley Canal Festival saw the town buzzing with activities!
Bingley WaW have organised Family blogger walks in partnership with Wynsors and Canal River Trust on that same route. Take a look at some of the comments on Wynsors blog.
Bingley Wildlife Explorer Trail [.pdf]: a very nice brochure made for the young ones with information about the wildlife around the site
Canal & River Trust Factsheet and Maps [.pdf]: Easy to read and print maps of the sites
Bingley Family Trail [.pdf]: a trail deviced for teenagers and grown ups with many questions about the local history.
If you are coming to Bingley by car, it's worth knowing that there is limited parking near the five rise locks. The best way to access the site is on foot from the town centre as described in the walk above. However there is ample parking space in town and the map below will give you more details about the car parks locations and their capacity. For prices, please visit the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council website
Have you done this walk yourself? Don't hesitate to give us some feedback by leaving a comment below!