6 Great Walks Within An Hour Of Leeds
One of my big goals this year was to spend more time outdoors. Being outside in nature works wonders for my soul - there’s something really powerful about getting out in the fresh air and moving your body, away from the demands of our phones or our laptops, and I find that even just an hour or two spent walking in the countryside can help to keep me sane during my busiest periods.
And yet, until this year, it’s not something I’ve ever really prioritised. Because there’s always something else to do, isn’t there? There’s always something more pressing to do than getting out for a walk, and so we only ever really prioritised that time in nature when we were on holiday or spending the weekend by the seaside.
But at the end of 2018, when I was filling in my Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019 journal, I realised that so many of my happiest moments last year were spent outdoors, both here in the UK and on trips abroad. And so I decided to make that outdoor time a really priority for 2019, in the hope that it would make me happier and more content.
Three months in, I’m very happy to report that it seems to be working. Sam and I have been making a conscious effort to keep our Sundays free, and have been filling them with long walks, usually followed by a roast dinner at a nearby pub. It’s perhaps the most enjoyable goal I’ve ever set for myself, and a habit that I see us continuing for many years to come.
As a result of this new habit, we’ve discovered lots of gorgeous spots on our doorstep here in Leeds. Some of these locations have been totally new finds for us, while others have been rediscoveries of places we loved but haven’t made the effort to visit for a while. All are beautiful, and well worth your time if you’re based here in Yorkshire or nearby.
Here are 6 great walks within an hour of Leeds...
Bolton Abbey is a staple of the Yorkshire tourism scene, and yet I’ve somehow managed to spend 10 years living in Leeds without paying it a visit! We rectified this in January and I couldn’t recommend it more. While the ruins of the 12th century monastery are the main attraction for most visitors, the circular walks aren’t to be missed. There are a variety of different options depending on the level of challenge you’re after, but all boast beautiful views of the local scenery. And if you’re looking to satisfy your inner child, don’t miss the stepping stones at the river!
Sam and I actually visited Ilkley Moor on one of our very first dates, and it’s remained one of our favourite spots since. It’s a great spot for a hike, and the views from the top are absolutely incredible. I love how wild it feels there, despite being less than half an hour from Leeds city centre. And if you’re looking for a great roast dinner after your walk, I can thoroughly recommend The Wheatley Arms in nearby village, Ben Rhydding.
Malham Cove & Gordale Scar
A trip to Malham Cove has been on my local bucket list for years now, and I’m so glad to have finally visited. The limestone cove itself is pretty awesome - especially when you think about the fact that it formed when the glaciers started to melt at the end of The Ice Age! If you want to extend your walk and check out another beauty spot, you can walk the couple of miles to Gordale Scar, where you’ll see two beautiful waterfalls. All that walking will work up an appetite, so check out the Lister Arms on your return to Malham village.
Otley Chevin is one of my very favourite places to visit for a walk and so I feel very lucky that it’s only 15 minutes away from our house. There are a number of different walks you can do here, incorporating both the beautiful woodlands and the hilltop paths. Both offer gorgeous views and some hills that are bound to get the blood pumping!
Grassington to Burnsall loop
If you’re looking for a nice flat walk with lots to see en route, the Grassington to Burnsall loop is a great option. Park at the main car park in Grassington and head the 3 miles along the river to Burnsall, where you can either stop for a roast dinner at The Red Lion, or grab something a little lighter at Riverside (I can highly recommend their homemade sausage rolls!). Then walk it off with a 3 mile walk back to the car.
Many of you will recognise Haworth as the home of the Brontë sisters, but it’s also the starting point of lots of great walks too. My favourite is the walk to Top Withens, the supposed inspiration for the farmhouse in Wuthering Heights. You’ll pass the Brontë waterfalls en route, and the views across the moors are just absolutely stunning. Don’t forget to stop for a little wander around the village on your way back - there are plenty of lovely shops and eateries.
There you have it - 6 great walks within an hour of Leeds. Have you done any of these walks before?