Walking: More adventures in a favourite corner

Approaching Gildersber Farm with Beamsley Beacon on skyline.
Approaching Gildersber Farm with Beamsley Beacon on skyline.
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Here’s a nice little tour overlooking mid-Wharfedale with some good high-level views up the dale from the high ground around Addingham Middle Moor.

The route-finding is easy-peasy, the tracks are stout and broad and the scenery more than satisfactory – particularly that across the valley to shapely Beamsley Beacon. And, as a bonus, there is a great downhill finish from Cringles Lane along two mouth-watering walled bridleways.

Addingham has long been a source of adventure for this column; it nestles in a pocket by the Wharfe with a plethora of paths heading off in all directions towards the uplands. It is an ancient settlement, founded by the Saxons of the dark Ages – its name means “the place of Adda’s people.”

A Saxon church is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. This original house of worship played a part in a little piece of Yorkshire history when, in 867AD, the Danes stormed York.

Archbishop Wulfhere fled the city and is said to have taken refuge at this far-flung Christian outpost in the Dales. The present church, dating from the 1400s, contains a 9th-century preaching cross, believed to be a relic of the Saxon building.

Addingham’s long agricultural heritage gave way – in the 18th century - to a more prosperous future through the foresight on one man, John Cunliffe (1742-1813). Cunliffe, a yeoman farmer, moved with the times during the Industrial Revolution by establishing a worsted-spinning mill, Low Mill, now demolished, in 1787.

Up to that time, weaving and spinning had been a cottage industry and evidence of this is still to be found in the back streets of Addingham where a number of three-storey houses survive, the top floor being taken over by the workers.

Another mill, High Mill, followed and by the 1830s the two establishments were employing a workforce of 300. High Mill, situated by the Wharfe just north of the village, still stands, but has been converted into houses.

John Cunliffe’s grandson was the famed Samuel Cunliffe-Lister, owner of Manningham Mills, Bradford. He was one of the greatest of all the textile magnates and the man who bequeathed Lister Park to Bradford. He was created Baron Masham of Swinton and died, aged 91, in 1906. His descendants are now Earls of Swinton, the family seat being Swinton Castle near Masham.

PARKING: Park at the eastern (Ilkley) end of Main Street, Addingham, in the vicinity of The Memorial Hall or, if you want to cut half a mile off the walk, continue up Main Street and turn left just before the Old Station Fisheries up Old Station Way and park in these streets.



6 miles. Allow: 2 ½ – 3 ½ hours. 
Map: O/S OL21 South Pennines

From The Memorial Hall, walk along Main Street in a westerly direction – towards Skipton – and continue past The Crown, the Old Station Fisheries and The Swan pub. After another 100 yards or so, with garden and benches on your right and small car park on your left, spot the fingerpost on righthand side of road sending you leftwards.

Turn left here (past TP Books), over a footbridge and immediately turn left (Well House Cottage on your right) to pass through a gated stile with arrow. Continue by wall on your left to top of field (water trough) and squeeze through the not-too-obvious gap between the large tree and a stone post. Turn right along a sunken lane.

Go over a stile and turn left up field edge. At top of field, go straight ahead to the A65 Addingham bypass which, at this particular point, resembles the main straight at Silverstone, such is the speed of traffic. Cross with extreme caution and take the path opposite.

Go through kissing gate and turn right for a few yards and then turn left to a redundant stile with arrow and follow the farm track uphill by the fence, crossing a stile to right of a gate.

Press on to Gildersber Farm, enter premises via a seven-barred metal gate (arrow) and go straight ahead through the next seven-barred gate. Do NOT turn left along the concrete drive, but go straight ahead, past barn and over a stone stile. Turn left round barn corner to a stone stile and then turn left again, round next barn corner, and walk across to a gate on your right.

Enter access drive and turn right, soon sweeping right and then immediately turn left along a vehicle track, past a stack of pallets (on our visit) and an old cabin on a trailer. Stride out to the next property, passing through a gate (High House Farm now on your right) and turn left along a tarred lane, past kennels, to emerge in a road (Turner Lane) and turn left.

1: Plod up the slope - not steep, but naggingly persistent - to arrive at crossroads and turn right along Brown Bank Lane. After about 500 yards – Light Bank Lane on your left – turn right (bridleway fingerpost) along the drive to Sea Moor Farm. Go past the farm and continue along the unmade Lippersley Lane, the vehicle track soon turning right to become a wide green lane.

Follow it for a short half mile to spot blue buildings to your front left. Now look out keenly for concrete gate posts on either side of the track – and STOP! Immediately beyond the concrete gate posts is a hidden stile on your left just before metal gates on either side of the track. Don’t overshoot this vital turn.

So, turn left here and follow the vehicle track for a couple of hundred yards – stay alert! - to where the main track sweeps right and spot stile and arrow ahead. Here, leave the vehicle track, cross the stile and take the permissive path by the wall.

At end of field, cross a stile and go slightly left (arrow) down the field, crossing a vehicle track, and descending through gorse to spot a new metal walkers’ gate at bottom of field in field corner. Pass through and turn right along the fence/wall towards a farm, go through another new metal gate and onward by the wall, passing to left of a fenced-off area, to a stile ahead.

Now go straight ahead along a tarred drive, passing between houses, and passing to left of a garage with white door. Go through a tall wooden gate ahead and onward, past a gas tank, through a narrow gate to arrive at the gravel bays of a caravan park with a concrete installation on a mound ahead.

Go forward a few yards and then turn right along the access drive for a few yards only – stay alert! - to pass a wall end on your left with arrow (don’t miss it!) and then, as vehicle track sweeps left, go straight ahead by a broken wall on your right to gain the A6034 Addingham-Silsden road.

2: Cross with care and take Cringles Lane opposite, soon passing stone tower on your right.

This is a sighting or survey tower built by engineers in the 1850s during the construction of nearby Silsden Reservoir and the associated Barden Aqueduct, a three-arch span at Swartha Wood on the eastern fringe of Silsden.

Follow the lane for half a mile, the last property you pass being Marchup Cottage, to a fork in the road and turn right up Bank Lane and immediately turn right at bridleway fingerpost and stride out along a wide green lane with Beamsley Beacon on skyline.

Follow the wide green lane with no diversions, crossing a couple of tiny streams, then pass through a gate in a fence across the track. Keep going, eventually turning right and follow the green lane to its end to enter a walled vehicle track (Parson’s Lane) and stride out for Addingham.

At end of Parson’s Lane, on entering a minor road (the old A65), turn left (arrow) and follow road for about 150 yards to a fingerpost on left side of road and, here, turn right across the A65 with great care.

Now go straight ahead down a tarred path and then go straight on down a street of houses (Moor Lane) to end of street to enter a road (Skipton Road) and turn right along pavement, crossing to left side of road as soon as possible.

Go past the end of Silsden Road and sweep left, past The Craven Heifer, and continue down Main Street to regain your vehicle.