Jonathan Smith heads for Beamsley Moor from Ilkley

THIS week we have a quiet moorland walk from the ‘unexplored’ side of Ilkley... the north.

The walk crosses grouse moors to its high point at Round Hill before taking to the long broad ridge to Beamsley Beacon, the highlight and spectacular viewpoint of this walk.

Ilkley centre is not the easiest place to park but cross the river to the north and there are plenty of places to park in the less crowded streets.

Leave your car and head for Myddleton Grange (a Grade-I religious retreat) and the steep climb up Langbar Road, it is the steepest walking of the day!

Where the quiet road bends sharply left, a wide track continues heading north initially over a stile. After a ½ mile, the track goes through a gate and then carries on for a further ½ mile, still heading north. To the right are views of March Ghyll Reservoir, one of the smaller reservoirs of the area.

At a stile on your right, leave the main track and head alongside a wall for 100 m heading north east. Just after a stream, a path to your left resumes its way north to Round Hill. To your left are a set of shooting butts, a clear reflection of the land use of the area (in my case confirmed by a man heading past me brandishing a gun).

He may have come from the small wooden hut in the stream bed, ideal for shelter on a bad weather shooting day. The path carries on up gradual slopes for a further mile to the summit of Round Hill, or what would be the summit if you could get there. The highest point is just beyond a barbed-wire fence but even though I did explore the area there was no sign of a cairn, somewhere I read it had been destroyed and the stones put in to a nearby shallow river bed.

Climb over a stile to the north side of the fence and join the main ridge linking Round Hill to Beamsley Beacon, a wonderful one-mile panorama with excellent views ahead and to your right. This is the eastern fringe of the National Park and the views over the southern Dales are excellent. The track leads to Old Pike and then a few hundred metres further the actual summit of Beamsley Beacon, a wonderful spot. The beacon has largely collapsed in to a very large cairn but the trig point has a plaque attached to it explaining the history of the beacon. Visit yourself to find the detail but it is thought the history of the beacon stretches all the way to the Bronze Age with the discovery of a lookout fort.

At Beamsley Beacon the path suddenly improves as it descends the ½ mile slope south west to a road at Beacon House near the hamlet of Langbar. This very obvious path is a result of trippers ticking the beacon from the nearby road, missing out on the pleasure of the long ridge beyond. On reaching the road turn left and follow the tarmac all the way to Ilkley. It may be the best part of three miles to the car, which on many roads the walking would not be pleasant, but here it is. The road winds its way through some delightful unspoilt farmland, dry stone walls and well-maintained buildings with first Addingham and then Ilkley completing the perfect Dales picture as they nestle in the valley down below.

Fact box:

Distance: Roughly 9.5 miles.

Height to climb: 430m (1,410 feet)

Start: SE 111485. There is roadside parking near Langbar Road. It is possible to park in Ilkley centre but this adds an extra two miles to the day.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard. The paths are generally good but can become wet and muddy after rain, particularly on Round Hill.

Refreshments: Ilkley has a large choice of cafes and pubs.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 297) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales:

• Jonathan has written his own book, the “Dales 30” which describes the highest mountains in the Dales

• He also runs 1 Day Navigation Courses for Beginners and Intermediates

• Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill Weekend in the Dales

To find out more details on any of the above and details of many more walks in the area visit his popular website, https://where2walk.