It's been a tricky start to the year as a walker: storms, rain, ice and illness. It is in those times, when it is hard to get out into the hills and dales of gorgeous Yorkshire (or further afield), it is so satisfying to return to local favourites - those doorstep walks that you can enjoy over and over again. One of these, that feels like a real leg-stretch is walking along the canal from Horsforth to Apperley Bridge (and back to the starting point) - approximately 8 miles as a round trip that can be shortened if you wish. Monthly Meandering #1 took us one way along the canal (towards Kirkstall) and this walk takes us the other way (towards Apperley Bridge). Disclaimer: This blog contains walking ideas rather than a specific route. Make sure you plan any walks yourself using a map rather than taking my (sometimes sketchy) descriptions as the definitive instructions!
The joy of this walk is that it is suitable for almost everyone. It is mainly flat and is mainly on made up paths or roads (with the exception of some short parts of mud). There are also a few link ups that you might enjoy. For the purpose of this post, I've not taken us through the cow field near Thorntons Dale, LS18. Often this field is empty though in Spring/Summer it can be full of nosy calves and protective Mums that some walkers really do not enjoy. Have a look at your linkups first before committing.
One place to start is Pollard Bridge over the River Aire. Walk over the bridge and head up the hill to the canal (just up from the Abbey Inn pub on Pollard Lane). When you get to the canal, turn right under the bridge and walk along the canal for the next few miles to Apperley Bridge. This is a gorgeous walk that passes fields and woodland, alongside the water. On the way, you can also stop for a cuppa at the Tiny Tearoom at Rodley (Calverley Bridge) - opening times vary so Google in advance.
It takes around an hour to arrive at Apperley Bridge. Towards the end of your canal walk, you can see Woodhouse Grove school on your right. Leave the canal to join the A658 at Apperley Lane. Turn right to start to go uphill (you will see the Bridge Café on the other side of the road). There are a few options from here.
I like to cross the bridge over the River Aire and then walk through the carpark near the Woodhouse Grove playing fields. You can walk on a narrow path between the playing fields and the River Aire and experience the quiet meandering of the river. This route is usually much less busy than the canal. You may even see an otter here!
Walk under the railway bridge and follow the lanes/Leeds County Way back to Horsforth. Some of these (past the flood defence works can be pretty muddy so boots are advised). You come out at the outer reaches of the Horsforth Vale estate (Woodbottom leading to Low Hall Road and Calverley Lane). From here, walk up to the traffic lights at the roundabout and cross the Ring Road (Broadway).
You want to go along the A65 towards Leeds ( turn right at the roundabout past the petrol station on the other side of the road) to walk back to your starting point. One option, to get back to your start, is to turn right down Calverley Lane leading to Victoria Mount, left at Victoria Crescent to the post box on the corner and then right down the short, steep part of Victoria Gardens. Once at the bottom of the road, turn left and look for some cobbled steps opposite (by some grass on Newlaithes Road). From the bottom of these shady steps, head downhill to reach Pollard Bridge where you started your walk.
Depending on how long you linger to enjoy the river and canal, the walk takes approximately 3 hours. Why not comment if you have enjoyed this walk? Happy Walking!