Walking in and around Addingham: by Jonathan White Civic Society Vice President

‘Most of you will be aware of the great number of walks we have in the village, of varying length and difficulty. We are fortunate that going in any direction will provide excellent opportunities.

During these austere days and weeks of likely lockdown and self-isolation (I am penning this piece on 9 April – hopefully by the time of reading there may possibly be glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel) we remain in the stormy seas of uncharted waters but I would like to try and lift spirits by recommending several specific walking possibilities. There are sufficient variables, and spaces, to maintain self-distancing, exercise efficiently and improve our emotional well-being all at the same time.

The village itself, though not entirely flat and easy to get about, offers purposeful walks to the Co-op, paper shop, medical centre and pharmacy, and it is not difficult to devise a circular route in the process. This may include the church field, the old sawmill path between the Co-op and Bolton Road, the Garth, so central to the village and yet such an important public greenspace. To the west the lower section of Turner Lane and the nature reserve on the other side of Silsden Road are equally full of the joys of spring.

Public footpaths remain open and are well signposted for the greater part. Yellow waymarkers (arrows on discs) will help too. We have a good relationship with the Countryside Service, maintained by Bradford Council, and regularly keep in touch about footpath issues in Addingham. Where they can they are always willing to oblige.

The Dales Way footpath arrives in Addingham from Sandbeds on the old Ilkley Road, then heads through Low Mill towards the church field. From the end of Bark Lane a delightful stretch follows a much improved path high above the river (take care!) before dropping down to High Mill. Crossing the suspension bridge from the east end of Bark Lane into North Yorkshire will afford additional walking possibilities, if only to the quiet road from Bolton Abbey to Ilkley via Nesfield, then returning by the same route.

High Mill may also be approached from Bolton Road and High Mill Lane. Passing Hamiltons and the caravan park, the Dales Way follows the river through fields, where lambs are gambolling and from where kingfisher, heron, dipper and other bird species can frequently be spotted. (We see them often!).

Back Beck Lane is accessible from several routes off Main Street. Sugar Hill is a delight to walk along, new growth evident and birdsong especially pleasurable in the absence of human noise and interference. The path around the school field has been opened up to provide a wonderful wildlife habitat, thanks to the sterling efforts of the village’s Environment Group, and a further well-signed detour can be made into the Winebeck fields to the north, or east through a narrow snicket into Springfield Mount.

To the south and west of the village the walking terrain can be somewhat steeper if none the less pleasurable. Take your time! Crossing the bypass should not present quite the same hazards as in normal circumstances, with less traffic – but still take care! If the moor tops are not the intended target, and let’s face it, for many they are too arduous to reach on foot, there are several routes that can be devised. The Street is a good turning point and Cocking (Cocken) Lane is a little further south but achievable without venturing further uphill. Straight or Moorside Lane is always pleasant to walk along if you can make it that far!

To help with any walking you may propose, the internet, as ever these days, will be a source of inspiration. Google maps may be a starting point and there are lots of other online possibilities if you care to search them. Locally, our own Civic Society website has a section on Books and Publications and I recommend the following:                         

  • Walks Around Addingham by Don Barrett, our President
  • Country walks around Addingham by Alison Armstrong

                                           (some 30 years since first published but still of interest)

  • Flowers of Church Field by Arnold Pacey
  • Manor Garth by Arnold Pacey

Other publications of a more historical or photographic nature are also on the list. Why not follow the Blue Plaques Trail, also by Don Barrett? For more information please contact Don on 830776, Steve Lloyd, who looks after our books, on 830853, or myself on 07752 421341.

If you prefer then by all means drop one of us an email:

  • Don: donbar01@gmail.com
  • Steve: steveqlloyd@hotmail.com
  • Myself: whitejr@btinternet.com

Or talk to any of the Society Trustees (see Membership Card).

One of the few blessings at this time is the arrival of spring with its new life and growth, improving weather and warmth, and the prospect, however distant, of better times to come. Let’s rejoice where we can!

I sincerely hope I’ve not been ‘teaching grandmothers to suck eggs’ in these deliberations and stating the obvious for all of you! Whatever outcomes lie ahead of us in this coronavirus crisis, please stay safe and enjoy your daily walking!’

Addingham Civic Society