This is a lovely wildlife walk starting from the centre of Bingley and which can be done in less than 2 hours (3.9 miles) and is not too difficult. First part is along the River Aire and will give you a chance to see deer, stoats and herons, if you are lucky a kingfisher, and of course ducks. During the second part of the walk, you will go through a beautiful wooded area and finish with great views over the Aire Valley once you reach Altar Lane!
Essential info about the walk
Start: Bingley Arts Centre
Bingley Railway Station is only a step away from the start of this walk making it a car-free train walk! We encourage walkers to use public transport, rather than cars, as much as possible.
Difficulty: Easy – 2 hours – 3.9 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 traditional Yorkshire pub near Ireland Bridge serving locally renowned beers and great food
Where to start?
Bingley Arts Centre
Grid Reference: SE 106 390
1. Bingley Arts Centre to Ireland Bridge.
Starting in the town centre outside Bingley Arts Centre, to its right is the old covered market and buttercross. Pass this beautiful feature towards a car park and in the bend of Queen Street is the entrance to the Riverside Walk. Go down the stairs and at the bottom on the floor you should see a stone plaque with text: “The Throstles Nest of Old England Bingley". Turn right and follow the path along the river. Look for Ailsa Well sign along the path – site of an ancient water spring – and carry on up until you reach Millgate. Go left over Ireland Bridge towards the Brown Cow pub. Just after the bridge, on the opposite side between two houses you will find a ‘snicket’. Cross carefully as there is no pavement and follow the path through the houses. Turn right onto the river bank.
2. Up to Ravenroyd Riding Centre
Once you've reached the river, you will have great views of the Church and the old historic part of Bingley. Carry on walking on the track along the river. This part of town used to be the site of the old gas works, now replaced by brand new houses. After the last house you will really feel like you've left town as the track becomes a lot more rugged.
Note: From here you may be lucky and see several deers, especially if the trees are not in leaf, depending on the time of the year. Kingfishers are also a common sight along the river.
At some point the track will veer slightly left away from the river side. From there you should see an old building in the distance, Ravenroyd Riding Centre. Once you approach the building, signs are clearly indicating where to go. Just watch for traffic and horses going to and fro although it’s not usually too busy.
3. From Ravenroyd Riding Centre to Marley Farm
Once you pass the last horse training ground, the track becomes rough again. You should pass another house before finally arriving in an open field. Carry on up until you'll reach a strange looking hillock.
Alternative shorter route: At the hillock veer left and follow the wall along the woods. When you arrive at an old open gate just at the edge of the wood, again follow the wall on your left going up to a wooden gate.
Longer route: At the hillock, turn right through the field towards the railway track. Follow the path along the railway track up to a bridge. Turn sharp left up the hill through a tarmac track leading to Marley Farm. Go through the farm still going uphill and then turn left up to the other side of the hillock you would have seen previously. You should see a wooden gate.
4. Through Hollin Plantation
At the wooden gate, go through the opening in the wall on the left hand side of the gate (do not open the gate). Walk up the track in the woods known as Hollin Plantation. At the end of a track is a gate going into a field. Go left on the path, remaining inside the woods. You're now walking back, high above the track you came from. You should remain on this path for a while following the wall on your right. At some point you will go through a hole in the wall and carry on walking inside the woods. You will cross a small stream and see Ravenroyd Riding Centre down below. The path is quite muddy from there. After a short while you should rejoin a track going up. Follow that track. At the end of the track on the edge of the woods are two Gates. Take the one on the right going through an opening on the left-hand side of the gate (do not open the gate). Walk on the path inside the field with the wall on your left hand side. There are usually horses in that field please take care. Admire the beautiful views of the Aire Valley – slightly spoiled by all the electric pylons. Cross a small stream in the field and go towards the gate in the distance. Go over the stile on the left-hand side of the gate, you are now on Altar Lane.
5. From Altar Lane and back in town
Turn left going down the road. Pass the Ravenroyd Estate Gate and carry on down Altar Lane all the way to Harden Road. This is a very busy road at time so be careful once you arrive there. Cross over to the over side and follow the path going down some woods. After the woods you should find yourself in a clearance field running along the river which once used to be a horse racing track! Cross the field towards a green footbridge over the River Aire – known as the Festival of Britain Bridge. Go over the bridge and you are now in Myrtle Park where you can make your way back to the town centre.
Have you done this walk yourself? Don't hesitate to give us some feedback by leaving a comment below!