Ilkley Circular

‘A’ Kathleen Gilliland  ‘B’ Peter Gilliland

51 members set out to visit a different area today. It was dry but overcast for most of the day.  We stopped in Ripon for coffee then continued to Ilkley via Bolton Abbey. With only 2 coach parking bays (behind the railway station) we were fortunate to park in the centre of town.  23 members set out on the ‘A’ walk while 25 members did the ‘B’ walk.  The ‘A’ walk crossed the busy high street and ascended through a delightful wooded dell to emerge on the outskirts of the town. We endured a steep climb on narrow roads to reach Ilkley Moor, which is part of Rombalds Moor. The moor forms a natural barrier between Airedale and Wharfedale with Skipton and Keighley on the Airedale side and Ilkley on the Wharfedale side. The moor is home to lots of smaller moors named after the towns and villages surrounding the moor. Therefore on Rombalds Moor you will find Addingham High Moor, Ilkley Moor, Burley Moor, Hawksworth Moor, Morton Moor and Bingley Moor. Well defined tracks were followed to Hebers Ghyll where we sat on huge boulders and had lunch. We continued on to the Swastika stone – a carved stone surrounded by iron railings. Popular belief is that the markings are from the 4th century BC and are a form of Celtic art. The views would have been great if the sky hadn’t been so heavy with clouds.  We followed the track across the escarpment crossing several stiles and then cut across to ascend to the far side of the moor.  We passed a boundary stone and had to negotiate a very boggy section before climbing up onto a higher level at West Buck Stones. Here the track was more peaty and squelchy due to the rain from the previous day. This was followed by a section of well laid substantial flagstones leading the way to a trigpoint. Here we stopped for fruit, but it was quite cool and breezy so we didn’t dally. However, before we left, we had a group photo with a union jack flag flapping about in the breeze to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee the next day. We walked to the 12 apostles stone circle and then started the long descent back into Ilkey. We stopped at White Wells bathhouse to view the plunge pool which was used in Victorian days as Ilkley was then a spa town. The tea stop was spent in the park adjacent to the River Wharfe. Flowers: cotton grass, crosswort, green alkanet, herb bennett, ivy leaved toadflax, ladys smock, penduluous sedge, red campion, rhododrendron, stitchwort, sundew, sweet chestnut candles, tormentil, tufted vetch, welsh poppy, yellow vetchling.


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