Our walk from Menston to Ilkley via the Cow and Calf Rocks exceeded expectations as the weather did what the weather often does – the opposite of what is forecast.

A bunch of hardy souls turned up ready for the worst (that the weather could throw at them) but ended up enjoying excellent weather, great company and spectacular views on a walk from Menston train station, up onto Burley Moor and over Ilkley Moor with views across Wharfedale, and down into Ilkley for a well-deserved pint, or two.

According to the map is was a distance of around 5 miles but with the long climbs, and often rough ground to cover, it felt like much more. Recent wet weather meant a couple of ‘lively’, fast-flowing streams had to be crossed but fortunately no-one was swept away.

The Cow and Calf Rocks made a spectacular halfway point and the café there provided a much-needed rest and refreshments. Fortunately, the only shower of the day happened while we were under cover enjoying tea and bacon butties.

Of real interest and well worth a visit was the White Wells – a spa bath and café which is often overlooked as it requires quite a climb to get to it, unless you happen to be descending down to it, as we were. The long climb up and over the Moors was suddenly well worth it. White Wells was built around 1700 at the back of the current Spa Cottage as an open-air spa bath, but just a single plunge pool survives today inside the Cottage.

Walking the last leg, from White Wells down to a welcoming Ilkley Town, was easy knowing a pub awaited where we all had a few drinks before moving on to Ilkley Station, to catch the train back to Menston and complete our circuit.

A great day out and we’re already looking forward to the next one.

Thank you to Society member Nicky Busby for organising.


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