This one will do very nicely, thank you. What a great trip round the northern edge of Leeds, utilising quiet rural roads and broad bridleways where route-finding is a joy.
Yes, it may be a bit on the long side at just shy of eight miles, but the going is so straightforward that you will race along.
Shadwell, a popular commuter village for Leeds with its well-known hostelry, the Red Lion, can trace its roots back to pre-Conquest days; it gets a mention in Domesday Book of 1086 as King’s land, the property of the Crown.
In the early 1700s, the manor came into the possession of the Hastings family of Ledston Hall. The most renowned of the Hastings was Lady Elizabeth who never married and who devoted her life to the welfare of her tenants. She was a generous benefactor, building schools in several of the villages she owned, among them Wike (visited on this walk), Ledsham, Thorp Arch and Collingham. Lady Betty, as she was affectionately known, died in 1747 at the age of 47.
Although perched on the northern fringe of Leeds, Shadwell is surrounded by acres of rolling farm land with half a dozen footpaths shooting off in all directions; the ideal starting point for a picturesque country idyll.
At the six-mile mark, the route encounters Wike - and a strange tale of buried treasure. It was here, in 1836, in an agricultural backwater which had led an uneventful existence for a thousand years, that an amazing discovery was made.
In February of that year, a local man, James Dent, while planting a pear tree in a house garden in the centre of the hamlet, struck an earthenware pot with his spade – and unearthed a cascade of silver pennies dating back to the reign of Edward I (1274-1307) and his son, Edward II.
In all, 2,000 coins came to light from mints all over the country, ranging from Berwick in the north, through Durham and York, to London and Canterbury in the south and Bristol in the west. Included in the haul were a number of Scottish and Irish coins as well as some from the Continent, including one showing Louis IV of Bavaria minted after his coronation in Rome in 1329.
Experts at the time surmised that the medieval Lord of the Manor at Wike had hidden the hoard during the Scottish raids in the first half of the 14th century.
SHADWELL and WIKE
7 ¾ miles: Allow 3 – 4 ½ hours. Map: O/S Explorer 289 Leeds
Park in Main Street, Shadwell, just to the east of the Red Lion, where Main Street widens appreciably. Stride out along Main Street in an easterly direction, past the Methodist church, to a fish-and-chip shop sign and immediately turn left along Old Brandon Lane.
When lane finishes, continue on vehicle track to cross a stile to left of gate. Go a quarter right over field alongside wire fence. Cross a stile and follow wooden fence on your right, over brow, and down to a gate, pass through and go half right, through another gate, and straight across field to a stile next to large tree.
Turn left along hedge, past paddocks, with tape fencing on your right. At field end (farm on your left), go over footbridge and half left over field to stile in field corner to enter road (Brandon Crescent).
Turn left along road for about 80 yards to box-top footpath sign on your right and turn right through wood and then continue on enclosed path, past plant nursery, to emerge in a lane (Coal Road). Cross over and take the signposted path opposite (to left of house gates) and walk along right edge of field.
When hedge/fence on your right begins to turn right, go a quarter left over grass, aiming 40 yards left of a green silo, to find a stile in hedge. Go half left over next field to a stile to enter road (Ling Lane), turn right to crossroads (Ling Lane opposite) and turn left along Bay Horse Lane (pavement).
Press on, past the crossroads with Tarn Lane and Syke Lane, the road now becoming Blackmoor Lane. Follow it for more than half a mile, eventually past caravan parks, to the Bardsey name stone. Ignore Spear Fir on your left.
1: Keep on along Blackmoor Lane, using grass verge, with houses on your left. At end of houses, ignore road on your right (Tithe Barn Lane) – bear left down Church Lane and race down the hill to the main part of Bardsey.
On arriving at Bingley Arms on edge of Bardsey, turn left (fingerpost) along a tarred access road (street name: Church Lane Nos 30-38) with the Gill Beck on your left. Go past yellow arrow and continue to end of access drive to Quarry Hill Farm.
Turn right, passing to left of a telegraph pole, along a gravel path to right of entrance to Holly Grange. An enclosed path leads into a field – go straight on, over stile, ignore arrow pointing right, and, instead, bear left along field edge, past a wood, to fingerpost at top of field and turn right to enter Wike Lane.
Turn right and walk single file, facing traffic, and using grass verge when possible. East Keswick pops into view. Drop down the hill – take care with traffic on bends – to a fingerpost on your left just before a detached stone house and a road on your right. Turn left here along the unmade Gateon House Lane, passing through metal gates, and step out briskly on a lovely section.
After a short half mile, go past fingerpost to enter an unmade road and go straight ahead (still on Gateon House Lane). Go straight past Gateon House Farm and sweep left uphill between hedgerows. At top of slope, bear right along vehicle track and then turn left after abut 100 yards. Follow this path as it – eventually - curls left to arrive at Leeds Country Way fingerpost and arrows and turn right through rusty metal gate.
Press on by hedge on your right over the fields to enter an enclosed path through a walkers’ gate and plough on, past Biggin Farm (on your left), and keep going, past tall yellow marker post. After about 150 yards, TURN LEFT along vehicle track – do not follow main track straight ahead through metal gate.
2: So, turn left and then, after 200 yards, turn right to Low Green Farm. Enter farmyard and, within 20 paces, turn left between barns, and then sweep right on vehicle track and up the slope to emerge in Wike Lane at Fortshot Lane. Turn left along pavement into Wike, passing an ancient well on your right, and continue into main part of village to pass the Leeds Golf Centre to emerge in Wike Ridge Lane.
Wike was recorded in the Domesday Book survey of 1086 as King’s land, meaning the Conqueror kept the manor and its revenues for the Crown. Like neighbouring Shadwell, it was acquired by the Hastings family of Ledston Hall in the early 18th century.
Turn right for six paces and then turn left across the road and go up a narrow path past gable end of house. This is an ancient carting route, Brandon Lane, and offers a delightful interlude. On arriving in road (Tarn Lane), turn left for ten paces and turn right along Brandon Crescent.
Soon, when road sweeps left with house ahead, turn RIGHT for 50 yards to fingerpost (at entrance to Hall Farm) and turn left to a barn. Now take the single-file path ahead (tarred to begin with) and follow it for about 500 yards to emerge in access drive at house with bridleway fingerpost.
Turn right along access drive and follow it to emerge in a lane (Holywell Lane) on edge of Shadwell. Turn left, past play area, to end of street to arrive in Shadwell Main Street and turn left to the finish.