This is a great walk if you are looking for something combining history and nature. You can do the walk in just over 2.5 hours (4.5 miles) but the terrain can be steep in some places. The St Ives estate was owned by the Ferrand's family and they made some large contributions into shaping its landscape during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today most of it is owned by Bradford Metropolitan District Council and it has become one of the outdoor visitor highlights in Bingley.
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 as much as possible.
Difficulty: Moderate – approx 2.5 hours – 4.5 Miles
Toilets: Unfortunately, there are no attended public toilets on this walk. The one on Myrtle Place (by the market square) in Bingley is currently being refurbished.
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 pub near Harden Beck Bridge.
A tea room and ice cream parlour located in the middle of Myrtle Park
A Garden & Leisure Centre on Harden Lane hosting a café serving good comforting food.
Where to start?
Bingley Arts Centre
Grid Reference SE 106 390
1. Bingley Arts Centre to St Ives Estate.
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 left here and follow the path that runs along the river towards the bottom of Myrtle Park. Then, you should see a green tubular steel bridge. This bridge was erected in 1951 for the Festival of Britain. Cross the bridge and carry on straight up to the wooded area in front of you. Climb the steps and at the top turn left and soon after take the right path up the hill and through the woods until you reach the busy Harden Road. Walking on the pavement, bear left towards St Ives entrance but once you've reached Beckfoot Lane, cross the road and find yourself on the other side in St Ives Estate, go straight into the woods up the path.
Note: see the walk Discover Bingley for more info about the town centre features.
2. From St Ives to Keighley Road.
The path will lead you to the bottom car park of the estate. There in front of you, you should see a large meadow area known as Low Park. Find the stile and go over the wooden fence. You will now walk in the middle of the meadows and cross two gates with stiles and then bear right towards the wood's edge – you should see a ruined barn on your right too. Go through a small iron gate and enter this wooded area known as Cuckoo Nest. Follow the path and at some point you should see a very small wooden bridge then you will find yourself under some beautiful yew trees. After that you should reach another path. Turn right towards a building and soon you will find a junction of paths, take the right path signed “footpath Harden". Just after the building on your right is a sign to Baxter's Pond a beautiful water feature. Once you've had enough time admiring and relaxing at the pond, make your way back to the path. You will soon after see a small stream and go through a kissing gate leading towards another building. After the gate go right and take the path going up along the wall. You will arrive at a junction of path, take the left path signed “footpath Keighley Road" – on the right is an old quarry with a picnic area. On the path you should pass a rock which has been carved with steps and has a metal handrail. At the end of the path you will be at the Western Entrance where you will see St Ives Lodge – also known as Beckie's Lodge.
3. Keighley Road to Black Hills
Turn left down Keighley road towards Harden village. Cross Harden Road carefully (there is a crossing up the road on your right) and then walk along Wilsden Road. This will take you all the way to Harden Beck – walk on the bridge carefully as there isn't any pavement.
Note: On the other side of the bridge is The Malt pub, a great traditional public house serving home made food – perfect if you need a break on this walk!
Once you are ready to go, instead of walking on busy Harden Lane, we strongly invite you to take Mill Hill Top up to Stephen H. Smith's Garden & Leisure Centre.
Note: this is another great place if you need a break and we totally recommend the café, Hattie's Restaurant.
Diversion at Mytholme Beck
To carry on the walk you would normally cross the busy Harden Lane in front of the Garden Centre main access where you will find a hole in the opposite wall. However, the path is closed due to the collapse of a wooden bridge crossing the Mytholme Beck.
So instead, take left on Harden Lane walking carefully with the oncoming traffic towards Sandy Banks then turn right at the weak bridge sign. After the bridge and the house on your right you will come to a crossing of paths. Go straight on and up the path. This is the end of the diversion and you should see on your right a closed gate where you should have arrived from.
Now veer left towards a steep path. Either keep to the main path with a building above or take the very steep path following a wall on your left hand side. At the top of the path you will be at the entrance of a working quarry. You are now on Lee lane which is a tarmacked road. Pass Banktop Farm and carry on until you see a footpath sign turning left into a field. This is the Millennium Way leading you towards Black Hills.
4. From Black Hills woods to town centre.
Cross the fields admiring Norr Hill on your right in the distance then enter the Black Hills woods until you reach a crossing of paths. You need to go left and down following a very steep and rough path which will lead you outside the plantation. There you will see some beautiful views across the Harden Valley with St Ives Estate opposite. Follow the path across the field bearing right. Then across a stile into the Shipley Golf Course following the white rocks leading towards Beckfoot Lane. Cross Harden Beck on a footbridge and turn right towards the old pack horse bridge.
Note: if you turn left on Beckfoot Lane and walk all the way up you will end up on Harden Road near the entrance to Bingley St Ives bottom car park.
Once at Beckfoot Pack Horse Bridge, take your time to admire the scenery, one of the most picturesque part of Bingley. Then cross the beck a second time. Once on the other side, pass the small settlement of houses and follow the tarmac road along the allotments on your left. Soon you will turn left on a footpath keeping the allotments on your left hand side. The path goes towards Myrtle Park and crosses the River Aire on a large steel bridge. Cross the park towards the playground and the cenotaph. Once you exit the park, you will see Bingley Swimming Pool on your left and Lidl supermarket on your right. From there you can now easily go back to the town centre and find Bingley Arts Centre.
Note: we recommend that you stop at Tarquin's tea room in Myrtle Park for refreshments before leaving the park.
Have you done this walk yourself? Don't hesitate to give us some feedback by leaving a comment below!