South Pennine Walks
Ilkley Moor & Buck Stones
Date: 13th June 2011
Distance: 7 miles
Ascent: 1022 feet
Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE115470
A lovely evening walk up on to the summit of Ilkley Moor via the Swastika Stone and the Buck Stones.
Route Summary: Wells Road - Swastika Stone - Piper's Crag - Addingham High Moor - Buck Stones - Ilkley Moor - Ilkley Crags - Wells Road
1. Ilkley Crag
2. The Swastika Stone
3. On Woodhouse Crag
4. Wharfedale from Woodhouse Crag
5. Ilkley from Piper's Crag
6. The trig point on High Addingham Moor
7. A curlew in flight
8. Approaching Buck Stones
9. Ilkley Moor from East Buck Stones
10. Enjoying the view on East Buck Stones
11. Looking south across the urban sprawl of Bradford
12. Cowper's Cross
13. Looking towards Wharfedale
14. The summit of Ilkley Moor
15. Another curlew
16. Ilkley Crags
17. Looking down into Ilkley from Ilkley Crags
Walk Detail: One of the great things about the long daylight hours in June and July is that it provides the opportunity to fit in a decent length walk in the evening, even after work. Unfortunately I've rarely taken advantage of this which is a shame because I particularly like being out in the late evening summer sunshine.
One of the reasons for choosing Ilkley Moor was that on my previous visit, a couple of years before, the views had been limited because it was so hazy. Likewise on my recent visit to the adjacent Burley Moor visibility had also been limited.
Another good reason for going back to Ilkley Moor is that there is such a network of paths and different features to see that it is an area that provides a lot of variety.
This time my route took me west from the White Wells parking area to contour above Panorama Rocks and Heber's Ghyll to the Swastika Stone on Woodhouse Crag. The carving on the stone is thought to date to Bronze Age times and it is deemed important enough to be guarded by an iron railing.
From Woodhouse Crag I continued westward for a further mile enjoying all the while excellent views northwards up Wharfedale to Great Whernside itself. Just before reaching Addingham Crag I left the modest gritstone edge I'd been following and climbed a slim path (not marked on the map) up to the trig point on Addingham High Moor.
At this point the views opened up to include Pendle Hill, Boulsworth Hill and the moors of Bronte country including Earl's Crag and the prominent windfarm on Ovenden Moor.
From the trig point I followed a wall side path south-east passing the northern edge of the extensive High Moor plantations which provided a bit of respite from the fairly strong breeze.
After a brief exploration of West Buck Stones I made my way to the slightly higher and more impressive East Buck Stones where I scrambled up on to the highest rock so that I could soak up the extensive view while I ate my dinner.
I've not had the best of luck with views this year but I could have no complaints this time. To the north I could see Cracoe Fell, Simon's Seat, Great Whernside, Buckden Pike and Meugher. To the north east, slotting in between Menwith Hill and the Knabs Ridge windfarm I could clearly see the Sutton Bank White Horse and the line of the distant North York Moors. To the south, across the urban sprawl of Bradford, I could see Black Hill while to the east beyond Pendle Hill I could also clearly see the Bowland fells.
It was with some reluctance that I left my perch on East Buck Stones to head for the summit of Ilkley Moor. Judging by the number of stone blocks piled up alongside the route it looks like the peaty path from Whetstone Gate to the trig point will shortly be paved. While I can understand that erosion is a problem in popular areas I am personally not a fan of these flagged paths.
The view from the summit was very similar to that from East Buck Stones, except with the addition of Birks Fell and Yockenthwaite Moor in Upper Wharfedale. Having spent a lot of time at East Buck Stones I didn't hang around long by the trig point though I was delayed shortly afterwards while I tried to take some pictures of one of the many curlews I saw and heard on the walk.
The descent was quick and easy with just one small detour on to the rim of Ilkley Crags where I once again paused to enjoy the view, this time down into Ilkley itself. This was a lovely walk and a fine way to spend an evening. Ilkley Moor is usually a very popular place but on this particular Monday evening there was hardly no one about. Bliss.