The Welcome Way – now in its second edition – is a 36 mile circular walk produced by the Walkers are Welcome groups of Baildon, Bingley, Burley in Wharfedale and Otley. The Bingley Loop used to be an additional 8.5 mile circular walk and is now fully integrated to the new edition. It goes through parts of the Aire Valley, visiting lanes, packhorse trails and snickets of Eldwick, Micklethwaite and Bingley.
During the walk you can enjoy views and wildlife by the Leeds and Liverpool canal and river Aire, taking in a site of special scientific interest, several Grade 1 listed constructions and ancient woodlands.
Picture: One of the waymarkers along the Welcome Way Long Distance Walk
At every glance the landscape of the Bingley Loop shows off its long enthralling history:
- The ancient snickets and ginnels lead through Eldwick, a recorded hamlet since C9th and Micklethwaite, a moorland village that legend has Cromwell firing canons at from Druids Altar, on the opposite hill top. Luckily only the East Wing of the delightful Micklethwaite Grange was destroyed.
- 5-Rise Locks: a unique construction that will fascinate all; as it did the young Fred Hoyle (one of Bingley's many famous sons) and one of the C20th most eminent scientists!
- Bingheleia as it appears in the Doomsday Book has a long unique history that well deserves it's title “The Throstle Nest of Old England". It's 1212 market charter is one of Yorkshire's oldest with the stone Buttercross dating back to C13th.
- One of the many hidden gems of Bingley is Beckfoot packhorse bridge (Rebuild 1723) with Beckfoot Farm (1617) beside oozing history and charm. The lanterns of the Knights of St John can be seen on the corner of the old farmhouse.
- Finally the remains of Hirst Wood's ancient settlement has a long history to explore within this lovely landscape. (see the notice board at the top of the canal locks)
The route starts from the top of Shipley Glen, where it joins the main Welcome Way. You will follow it for just over a half mile until you cross Loadpit Beck to join Saltaire Road and exit onto Otley Road in Eldwick. From Eldwick the route uses tracks and paths to cross westwards to the outskirts of Bingley.
The route then follows an enclosed footpath to Micklethwaite Green before dropping down to cross and join the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The canal towpath is then followed to pass the Five Rise Locks and reach the footbridge which crosses the Sir Fred Hoyle Way bypass and the rail line in Bingley to reach Bingley High Street.
From Bingley centre, the route goes through Myrtle Park to cross the River Aire which it follows via a road and riverside path downstream to Hirst Wood, which is just beyond the Binley to Keighley rail line. The route then goes through the pleasant Hirst Wood to a car park on the outskirts of Saltaire. It then crosses the River Aire before ascending up through the woods on Shipley Glen and reach the finish line.
The route is fully waymarked but for full comprehensive directions and historical comments along the way, we invite you to buy the leaflet we have produced for the occasion.
It's a very handy three x two fold format and includes the full route highlighted on an Ordnance Survey map. There are close-ups of the map where the path might not be as easy as it seems giving you the assurance that you won't get lost on the way!
Below are local shops and cafés where you can buy the leaflets. In a near future we hope to be able to organise mail deliveries, so bear with us in the meantime!
Buy the leaflet in town in the following shops:
Have you done this walk yourself? Don't hesitate to give us some feedback by leaving a comment below!