Countryside Escape: Bradford Hiking Trails

Kasia, a PhD student studying Biomedical Science at the University of Bradford gives us her favourite hiking destinations in and around Bradford.


 Kasia, PhD Biomedical Science

If you feel tired and overwhelmed with your studying, grab your backpack and get out of the city!

You wouldn’t believe how beautiful West Yorkshire can be, especially in the spring and summer time. The Bradford district includes a variety of hiking spots and trails for casual rambles. Self-guided walks are the best way to explore and discover the surrounding area. The main long distance walks with the most beautiful views are just outside Bradford city centre.

I want to not only recommend some of my favourite spots but also let you know how to get there without a car or much money in your pocket. One option is getting the train from Bradford Forster Square to Ilkley (Cow and Calf Rocks) running via Shipley, Baildon and Burley-in-Wharfedale, which are all ‘Walkers are Welcome’ towns.

Or, you can choose a service to Skipton, which has a medieval castle, via Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Keighley and Haworth. You can visit all of these places for less than 10 pounds, perfect for a full day of fun on a budget. You could even have a relaxing sit down with a snack or a drink in a local pub.

Money Saving Tip: Buying a return ticket to Ilkley or Skipton, which is the last station on the route, you can not only visit the destination town but also all of the stops on your way there or back.

When you are going for a hike always remember to be smart about safety. Here is your essential hiking packing list:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Light sportswear
  • Rain gear
  • Water
  • A map
  • Extra food
  • Tissues (wet and dry for muddy trousers and dirty hands)

It is important to hike during the day, check the weather and don’t be afraid to ask if you feel lost. My two favourite trails don’t require any special preparation before you go so I encourage you to make up new plans for the weekend!

Ilkley Moor Cow and Calf Rocks

Address: Hangingstone Rd, Ilkley LS29 8RF

Hours: Open 24 hours, FREE

How to get there: Get the train from Bradford Forster Square to Ilkley. Walk up the hill opposite to Ben Rhydding Methodist Church and get on track in Ilkley Moor (you need to cross the gate next to the stream). Follow the steps to Millennium Way and White Wells Spa Cottage, or turn left and discover the Dales Way.

Food: The Cow and Calf rustic pub (next to the rocks) or Friends of Ham (Ilkley town centre).

The Brontë Waterfall – Address: Keighley BD22 9RQ

Hours: Open 24 hours, FREE

How to get there: Get the train from Bradford Forster Square to Keighley (Skipton Way). Catch the B1 Bronte Bus or K16 Keighley Jets to Main Street The Old Chapel. Follow the road behind the bus stop and car park to get on the trail (yes, you are allowed to cross the wall and sheep-run to get there).

For me, hiking is a great way to reset, with the calming environment of green hills, waterfalls and streams, it’s so soothing and helps you to relax. Restore your energy and push away stress simply by walking.

Hiking is also a great way to keep in shape. There is no better way to improve your health than an outdoor activity. Your body needs fresh air and sun, especially after sitting in a dark room and studying for hours and days through examination periods. Going on a hike will burn calories, give you extra vitamin D and a boost of endorphins, a great way to help stay positive!

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