The Welcome Way – now in its second edition – is a 36 mile circular walk fully waymarked and 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.
In the first edition of the Bingley Loop, we produced a printed leaflet. However, we have decided not to produce a second edition and we are now giving you the full description online for free!
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. You will find the same on the Bingley Loop!
Essential info about the walk
Start: Bingley Arts Centre
Difficulty: Easy – 4 hours – 8.5 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.
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)
A lovely bakery serving fresh bread and pastries as well as coffees and hot drinks to take away.
A good old fashioned country pub, set on the edge of Baildon Moor on the beautiful Shipley Glen
Part of the local pub chain Pickles Pub, this traditional pub in Elwick is a great place to sit and have a break on your walk.
A charming little café serving dairy ice cream and located in the former stables of the Five Rise Locks.
Where to start?
Bingley Arts Centre
Grid Reference SE 106 390
Unfortunately, we can't provide the route on an Ordnance Survey Map. Although the route is waymarked and we have provided digital versions of the track below, we still recommend that you acquire an O.S. Map for backup.
1. Bingley Arts Centre to Bradford Road.
Starting in the town centre outside Bingley Arts Centre, make your way towards Myrtle Park via Myrtle Place and Myrtle Grove passing the swimming pool on your right and Lidl Supermarket on your left then enter Myrtle Park through the main gates. Pass the bowling green on your right admiring Bingley Town hall beyond and the gardens. Take the path on the left side of Bingley War memorial towards the playground and Skateboard park. Turn left with the wall on your right and continue ahead descending the flights of steps. At the bottom of the steps look diagonally to the right and cross the field to a metal bridge known as Festival Bridge after the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Cross the bridge and at the far side veer slightly left, cross the field and ascend the steps into the wood. At the top of the first set of steps turn left and keep ahead through the woodland (do not ascend the second set of steps). Continue through the woods gradually climbing above the river on your left-hand side. Leave the wood via a gap stile and follow the path ahead passing along the rear of the house. From here you can appreciate the views across the river and park towards Bingley town centre. Carefully descend the bank, cross the field towards the angle in the fence, beware as occasionally there are cattle grazing in this field, then veer right and follow the fence towards a stone wall and using a gap stile exit the field and turn left onto another Packhorse trail. Cross the ancient Beckfoot Packhorse bridge, noting the ford, pass the Knights Templar house on your right entering Beckfoot Lane; although this is a normally a quiet road please beware of cars. Follow this lane for 0.5 mile to reach and carefully cross Bradford Road.
2. Cottingley Bridge to Hirst Lock
Within the parapet of Cottingley Bridge there is a narrow opening (marked footpath), descend the steep steps. Follow the footpath along the right-hand bank of the River Aire. Take care, after heavy rainfall this footpath can be slippery and muddy. During this part of the walk you will pass an unusual stone-built bridge carrying water supply pipes across the river taking fresh water from high in the Dales for treatment and use in Bradford. The path follows the River Aire through the Bradford & Bingley Rugby Club fields. Continue with the river on your left to reach a wooden bridge over Cottingley Beck and then under the 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 a three arch railway bridge. You are now in Hirst Wood which is thought to be ancient woodland containing a 2000 year old settlement. On entering the wood and beyond the railway bridge turn right up the hill and follow the footpath for 750 yards exiting through a car park onto Hirst Lane. Turn left, you should now see Hirst Lock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
3. Leeds Liverpool Canal to Loadpit Beck
Cross the Leeds and Liverpool Canal swing bridge and towpath keeping the derelict nursery on your right. Turn left at the back of the nursery and cross the river Aire once again using the footbridge on the left. After crossing the bridge, go straight on and pass between the houses, crossing Glenwood Avenue to reach Higher Coach Road. At this point there is a bus service available. Almost directly opposite can be found a footpath signed ‘Public Bridleway and Dales Way Link Footpath’. Please read the information board before proceeding along the path. Follow this path through Trench Wood keeping to the right to arrive at the rear of the Old Glen House pub where you may enjoy refreshment in this hostelry.
Note: From here, you can also re-join the Welcome Way walk finishing in Baildon where there is public transport link.
From Old Glen House Public House take the footpath on Shipley Glen northwards adjacent to the road for about half a mile. Follow the path to the left down to a stone bridge over Loadpit Beck
4. Loadpit Beck bridge to Lady Lane
This bridge marks the boundary between Bingley and Baildon. Cross the bridge and walk up Lode Pit Lane which becomes Saltaire Road to join Otley Road, Eldwick, turn right at the junction and very carefully cross the road. Down the road and turn left onto The Green and pass the Acorn Public House on your right. The Green is a quiet tarmacked narrow lane with Eldwick Beck on your right. After 300 yards where the lane bears right, turn left up a rough track. This lane is known as Tewitt Lane, an ancient packhorse trail. After passing Tewitt House, carry on the lane all the way to a junction with Heights Lane. Cross the road onto a signed footpath through a copse to a hole in the wall opening into field. At this point, due to the contour of the land the path through the field is a little unclear, therefore head towards the clock tower and a stone stile at the bottom of the field. Cross this stile and another keeping the stone wall on your left. Before the field-gate take the marked stile on your left and follow the path between the houses to emerge into Nicholson Close. Continue downwards through Lady Park Avenue and College Road to meet Lady Lane.
5. Lady Lane to Leeds and Liverpool Canal
At Lady Lane turn right and carefully cross over onto the far footpath after 150 yards veer left down the steep Greenhill Lane following the narrow pavement on the left side. Please be aware this is a very busy road and be vigilant of the traffic. Immediately before the sharp left-hand bend take the narrow footpath on the right-hand side of the road. Follow this path through the trees, go ahead at the gate and follow the path above the Fairlady farm buildings, after passing through another gate continue across the field to reach The Green in Micklethwaite.
Turn left and follow the steep road around the sharp hairpin bend. Immediately before the Methodist Free Church, now converted into living accommodation, turn right into Beck Road and at the footpath sign at the back of the converted church turn left and immediately right through a farm gate. Follow the path with the wall on your left-hand side, pass through a farm gate and follow the roughly paved path down to a stile. Through the stile and after 30 yards go through the narrow-gated gap stile on the left. Continue down the field with Morton Beck on your right to a stile. Over the stile and walk above the stream bank until you reach a wooden foot-bridge. Cross the bridge and take the path away from the stream. On reaching a path junction turn left leading to a gap in the wall onto Morton Lane. Beware of traffic as there is no pavement, turn left, cross the canal swing bridge and turn left onto the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath.
6. Leeds Liverpool Canal at Crossflatts to Market Square
Follow the towpath for 1.3 miles passing the famous Five Rise Locks and then on reaching the Three Rise lock complex turn right over the footbridge to cross the Bingley Relief Road, named the Sir Fred Hoyle Way after the famous local Astronomer, and railway to reach Main Street by the Fire Station.
Carefully cross the road and take the narrow pavement on Harden Road towards the river bridge. After approximately 30 yards turn left onto the signed footpath. Follow this path downstream with the River Aire on the right, look out for Ailsa’s Well and the ‘fish’ in the railings. When you see the stone “The Throstles Nest of Old England Bingley” in the footpath take the steps to the left and ascend into Bingley’s Market Square where you should see the historical Bingley Market Hall and Butter Cross.
If you bought the first edition leaflet, the start is different from the online version. The leaflet version has a start on Shipley Glen where the original Welcome Way met the Bingley Loop whereas the online version starts in Bingley town centre.
It was a very handy three x two fold format and included the full route highlighted on an Ordnance Survey map. There were even 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! We still have limited numbers of the leaflet and if you would like a copy we may be able to post it to you – we would have to charge you with delivery cost. If you are interested, please contact us.
Have you done this walk yourself? Don't hesitate to give us some feedback by leaving a comment below!