On Skipton Moor

Whilst scanning the map yesterday evening I spotted the Ordnance Survey Trig Pillar on Skipton Moor, it is one I have not bagged and it can be reached from our pitch at Hall Croft CL.  I invite Lynnie to join me, but seemingly the prospect of a 16 mile walk does not hold much attraction, especially when the alternative is to wander into Ilkley for a mooch about.

I leave Hall Croft CL by crossing the entrance driveway to join the footpath running between a fence and hedge. 

At a junction of paths close to the River Wharfe I turn left and follow the Dales Way beside the river through a meadow.  On the opposite side of the river is Ilkley Golf Course and being a Saturday morning there are plenty of people out for a round.

On reaching Ilkley Road I turn right along the pavement, still on the Dales Way and follow the footpath sign to Addingham.  The path follows along the pavement to a junction with Old Lane, I continue on the Ilkley Road to the outskirts of Addingham.  I cross Church Street and continue into the village along Main Street.  Soon I pass the village cricket pitch, where players and officials are arriving for the start of the afternoon’s fixture.

Cricket is big in this part of the world and Addingham CC has a long history dating back to 1870. The Club’s website lists the overseas players that have represented them.  This is a strange concept to me, when I played village cricket almost the whole team were either born or currently lived in two local villages.  It never crossed our minds to look much further afield and when we had a couple of players join from Salisbury, seven miles away, it was considered adventurous!

Addingham is an attractive place, I first came here in the late 1970’s and have happy memories of  staying with friends in the village.  My route goes up through the village along Main Street and on reaching the Craven Heifer pub I fork left onto Silsden Road soon passing the old village poorhouse.  It was built in 1686 and inhabited until around 1910.  It was later used as a venue for the village band to practice and after falling derelict it was fully refurbished in 2009.

I follow the Silsden Road through allotments on either side of the road.  Then just after passing a bus stop I take a footpath on the right along the Dales High Way into a recreational playing field. The path heads to the north west corner of the playing field into Turner Lane where I turn right, staying with this road to reach Moor Lane where I turn left.  This lane heads uphill towards the A65.  To my right there are good views of Beamsley Moor. 

I cross the A65 with care and then continue on the Dales High Way now on Crossbank Lane.

The lane continues as a tarmac road heading steadily uphill towards the moor, I soon pass a farm with an interesting water tower and buildings.

It is a long steady ascent along this road, as it is a dead end I encounter no traffic and the surrounding views are cracking.  I pass through a gate still on the Dales High Way that is now a track heading towards the moor.

After going through another gate I enter a field of sheep and from here I get a good view of the Chelker Reservoir.  It was built in 1866 to provide water to homes in Bradford.  I have driven by it on the A65 but the view is better from up here.

After going through another gate the route of the Dales High Way follows a track besides a dry stone wall on the edge of Draughton Moor.  Stone walls are not a feature of my walking at home in Wiltshire and I am always impressed with the craftsmanship that goes into constructing these walls that stand for so many year.  The physical challenge of erecting some of the gate posts must have been immense.

Further along I see an old boundary stone inscribed ‘JC’, this provides a convenient spot to perch and take in the view.  Later research proved it impossible to identify the source of the JC and I found I was not alone.  In 1959 writing in the Ilkley Gazette, Alan Shackleton, who appeared to be a local historian, outlined the research he had undertaken trying to find the source of the inscription. He concludes it related to the old stage coach road running between Skipton and Otley.

Resuming my walk I continue to a metal gate to reach a road.  On the right is an old milestone.  The inscription is very weathered and difficult to make out.  But it is said to be hundreds of years old and was there to direct the stage coaches at a junction of tracks.

I now continue on a well-made track towards Skipton Moor.  Prior to being an old stage coach route this lane was once the Roman Road that connected Ilkley with Skipton.  I always find it amazing to walk along routes that have been used for so many years.  

After passing through a couple of gates the track continues with the edge of the moor to my left.  The views from here looking over Skipton and Embsay towards Malham and the Dales are stunning.

I stay with the track to pass a plantation on the edge of the moor and then after a couple of hundred yards I reach a small gate on the left which leads onto the moor.  This is access land and a clear path heads diagonally back towards the plantation.  

It is a stiff ascent across the steep escarpment and reaching the edge of the trees I realise that there is still more up to do to get to the top of the moor.  This area of Skipton Moor is known as Vicar’s Allotment

After one final short sharp ascent I am on the ridge at the top of the moor. The path brings me straight to the Vicar’s Allotment Ordnance Survey trig pillar.  This is the 269th trig I have bagged and I have chosen a cracking day to visit it.  The views are stunning in every direction.

I wander along the ridge in both directions to look at the cairns and rock outcrops.  This is the first time I have been on this moor and had not expected such views.

Back at the trig pillar I head south across the moor on a path leading to a rocky outcrop, Standard Crag and then turn left to follow a path besides a drystone wall.

I stay with this clear path as it goes through a couple of boggy areas and continues through a gate and then reaches a wall stile.  Over the years Crosby has mastered these stiles and despite not climbing one for a while he is over without any assistance.

I am now on High Bradley Moor and follow a path that heads south easterly towards Low Edge Farm.

There are a network of paths converging near Low Edge Farm.  I take one down to cross a stream and then is clearly signed around the back of the farmhouse before going along the farm driveway.  I follow this until I reach a footpath on the right which goes across a field to a gate.  Through the gate I go across another field to reach Jenkin Farm.

Now I turn left and follow the farm driveway heading towards a minor road with the interestingly named Schoolmaster Place Farm in the distance.

On reaching the road I cross and follow the footpath to pass the farm and cross fields to reach another minor road where I turn left towards Cringles.  

This is a quiet country lane and I am passed by a car and tractor before reaching the A6034.  Here I turn left and follow the pavement besides the road.  On my left is a tower standing beside a covered reservoir.  Initially I think this must be related to mining because there is a nearby shaft marked on the map. However, later I discover an archive article in the Keighley News about the tower, it was built in 1853 to survey the proposed conduit and aqueduct for supplying water to Bradford.  Apparently the norm was to build such platforms out of wood and remove them when they had served their purpose, but this stone one survives .

After a few hundred yards along the road I turn right onto a track, Lippersley Lane.  This lane heads uphill and then levels.  In front of me I can see Addingham High Moor.

When the lane reaches a junction of roads I go straight across and follow Lightbank Lane as it rises gradually to reach a footpath on the left leading towards the moor.  This is a steep ascent towards a rocky outcrop.  I pause to take in the view behind me.

I now follow a path with a stone wall on my right to pass a plantation.  I cross a wall stile on the right and continue uphill heading south east to Windgate Nick.  As I reach the top of the ridge I stop to look at the memorial to the two man crew of de Haviland Mosquito Mk 11 Aircraft DD750.  This plane from RAF Church Fenton (now known as Leeds East Airport) crashed into the side of the hill close to this spot at 21.00 hours on 23rd March 1943. The pilot, Sergeant John Hudson Staples, and navigator, Sergeant Ralph Ernest Andrews were both killed in the crash.  The plane had been returning from RAF Cotishall in Norfolk when it crashed.

The clear path now heads east along the top of the escarpment. It is a cracking place to be walking on a sunny afternoon.  The cairns I pass are a reminder that in the depth of winter this is a bleak spot and navigation is far more difficult.  

The path continues and passes through stone walls to reach the Noon Stone.  Apparently mention of this stone dates back to 1579, it was then recorded as the None Stone, it is assumed that it derives its name as the stone over which the noon sun appears. But I suppose that depends on where you are stood at the time.

This part of Addingham High Moor is scattered with stones with ancient cup and ring markings, the most famous being the Swastika Stone, which my route passes.  An ancient carving on it is thought to date from the Bronze or Neolithic age, although the one visible today is a Victorian replica placed close to the original which was severely eroded.

From the stone I continue along the path and then take a footpath on the left leading down into Heber’s Ghyll. This is an amazing path that winds its way steeply downhill frequently crossing Black Beck on footbridges.  

On reaching a minor road, Heber’s Ghyll Drive, I turn right and then almost immediately take a footpath that heads up steps to continue behind gardens to reach another minor road, Hollin Hall Drive.  Now it is time for me to wind my way back downhill towards the A65 so I take a left into Hollingwood Drive and then on reaching Victoria Avenue I head downhill towards the A65.

At the A65 I turn left and follow the road the short distance back to Hall Croft CL.  I have had a cracking walk covering just over sixteen and a half miles.  Tomorrow is a moving day and we are heading a few miles further north into the Dales to spend a couple of weeks at Brigholme Farm CL in Giggleswick a regular favourite of ours. 

You can view this 16.2 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here

To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 297  Lower Wharfdale & Washburn Valley

11th September 2021

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2021)

All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it.  To the best of my knowledge the routes are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access.
Walking can be hazardous and is done entirely at your own risk.  It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.

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