Ilkley Moor to the Cow and Calf

Ilkley Moor

Ilkley Moor is located in Yorkshire, in the UK. It sits looking over the town of Ilkley. It is known for the ‘Cow and Calf’ rocks that can be seen at the old quarry. It is also famous for the Yorkshire anthem, “On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at”. In summer, when the heather is in bloom, it is one of my favourite places to walk.

Getting to Ilkley

Ilkley is accessible by public transport with a connection from Leeds railway station every half an hour Monday to Saturday, reducing to an hourly service on a Sunday. You can check the times of the trains on the National Rail website. You can also catch the X84 bus from Leeds bus station to Ilkley. It is a limited stop service, either dropping you in town or at the railway station.

Cow and Calf walk

Ilkley is a picturesque spa town, and the first stage of the walk is up to the White Wells spa and cafe. You will know whether it is open because, when it is, there will be flags flying outside. All that remains of the original spa baths is a single plunge pool.

It is a steep climb up from the centre of town passing through West View Park and then crossing the road to access the moor a little further up the road.

It is worth pausing to take in the beauty of the moor, so if you feel like a cup of Yorkshire tea, then this is a good spot to take a break.

The walk continues up affording beautiful views across the Moor and back into Ilkley. I love the Heather. The path is uneven and rocky in places, so appropriate footwear is required.

After a short walk along the top of the Moor, you drop down the Moor towards the old quarry where the Cow and Calf rocks are located. If you want to extend your walk further across the moor, then there are plenty of options available, including to the stone formation known as the 12 Disciples.

Cow and Calf Rocks

The details surrounding the cow and calf rocks formation can be found here. Today, the old quarry area is used by rock climbers. There is a car park close by, along with a cafe, toilets and a pub.

In the summer sun, the rock formation is quite striking with a glow of green hugging the rock face.

Returning to Ilkley

There are several higher and lower level paths that you can take back to town. I chose one of the lower paths that I had not walked before. The views were magnificent. The moor is carpeted with flora and fauna that is richly coloured.

The paths on the descent are uneven and become slippy in wet weather.

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