This is a pretty long walk, varying in surroundings and going via a few overgrown/challenging sections, as expected along South Leeds route.
The route takes you mostly through agricultural, but skirts a few conurbations in order to link up some of the countryside ways. It's a surprisingly peaceful route. No sooner have you passed through a built up section than you'll find yourself back in fields and countryside tracks.
I've taken the start point of this walk from the White Rose centre as it's a pretty accessible central point. Obviously, it can be started from any point as the route is circular, but I'd be cautious about parking in the White Rose centre if you were coming to do this walk - I've heard tales of people getting parking tickets for parking too long in their car parks.
Komoot suggests the average speed for this route to be 2.3mph, but I'm not a quick walker and I completed it with an average speed of 3.2mph (taking significant time around birdwatching near Ardsley!).
The trail sets off near the Northern entrance, by the north roundabout on the ring road. As you enter from this side, you'll find a path leading off North which takes you around the back of the White Rose centre - initially between the shopping centre and the White Rose Office Park and then turning south to follow the railway line.
Part way along this path you'll pass a footbridge that goes over the railway to farmland to the west. While we pass the the bridge on this walk, it will open up routes heading westward, passing through that farmland.
As you exit the path around the shopping centre, you'll find yourself in a narrow field with the railway on your right hand side. Shortly after exiting the gravel path, there is a partially hidden left hand fork which leads to a path which hugs the right hand side of the field. As you carry along the boundary of this field, you pass a large modern gate and head straight to the corner of the field ahead.
At this point, be careful to join the path that runs alongside the field ahead of you rather than entering that field as you'll either have to track back to the start of the field to rejoin the path, or jump a barbed wire fence. The path isn't immediately obvious as you reach the corner and it does have some slightly overgrown sections.
This path takes you right to the outskirts of Morley, where you take a right at the end of the path to eventually arrive at Rydal Crescent. Turn left as you exit the lane and then follow the road around to the right onto Newlands Crescent. At the end of the road, turn right and follow it until the road bears around to the right. At this point take the path that goes between the houses and follows alongside the primary school, exiting opposite the gardeners arms at the lights on Old Lane.
Cross the road here and then bear left along Bantam Grove. You can cut the corner here by going along the path next to the pub.
There is a footpath all the way along the left hand side of Bantam Grove, which you follow as far as you can. Just before the road ends, there is another fork off to the left.
This takes you along a pretty overgrown, but passable path going behind the new build houses on Watering Meadow, eventually leading through a metal gate onto a tarmac farm road. Follow the road directly south, sticking to the left hand boundary. It's a reasonable climb up toward Topcliffe Farm, but this is where the views over Leeds begin.
Just before you reach the farm yard at the top of the hill, you will see a gate at a crossroad where an old lane crosses the road you've just walked up. Turn right here to walk between fields along what is a surprisingly beautiful stretch of countryside before you enter the boundary of Morley.
The lane exits onto Topcliffe Lane where you will pass by some residential and commercial properties before ending up at Tingley Common (A650). You'll see the snicket that you're about to walk down straight ahead of the junction and just to the right of the junction is a pedestrian island which makes crossing this potentially busy road much easier.
The aforementioned snicket will take you from Tingley Common (A650) to Rein Road (A6029), where you turn left and follow the road over the motorway bridge crossing the M62 (with ridiculously low railings on either side!).
Immediately after the motorway bridge, take the right turn down onto the public footpath.
The land you are about to walk through clearly belongs to Marshalls and they have some quarries on the far side of the site. They have a number of signs along this route stating that it is private land. Don't be too put off by these signs, at the bottom it does state in much smaller text that passage on the public right of way is permitted.
You follow along the track that runs parallel with the motorway past a couple of fairly new wooded areas until you reach the far boundary of the first field on your left. At this point, the track starts to bear around to the right and there is a culvert which emerges on the left of the path. The right of way turns left just before this culvert and then follows the hedge line along the field. The OS map suggests that the actual right of way cuts off before this point and does a dogleg in the field to rejoin the boundary.
I found that that was not clear from the track and it seems as though the more commonly used way is as I've described first.
You head to the corner of the first field and then straight into the next field. At around 80 metres into this field, you'll see a post highlighting a fork in the footpath. At this point, I took the right fork through an overgrown wooded section which eventually brought me out in a small valley between the quarry site and the fields. If this path is unpassable, you can return to the fork and take the left fork, which follows along the edge of the field eventually bearing to the right after the end of the field. Follow this path along and it will bring you out to the same place.
That place is the site of Woodkirk Valley FC, where you follow their approach road down to join Dewsbury Road (A653).
You will need to cross this road to get over to the church grounds opposite. The road is often busy, but there tends to be regular breaks in the traffic caused by traffic lights a little along the road in both directions. There is a lowered kerb on the central reservation which would seem to suggest that this is an unmarked crossing. Crossing here will give you a reasonable view in both directions along the road. I didn't see a more suitable place to cross within reasonable distance.
Once across the road, enter the church grounds at the entrance marked as a public footpath and head straight through the graveyard. At the far side, there are some steps down that lead into a footgolf(!?) course head straight down the hill, but turn right before you reach the gate ahead of you to take footpath leaving the south boundary of this site. You'll cross a marked stile into a field and continue approximately southbound along the edge of this field.
When I passed through this field, the farmer had fenced off the left hand boundary for lambing, so I continued along the temporary fence to the far side of the field, where I was able to rejoin the marked right of way (on later inspection, it seems that the temporary fence had been constructed approximately along the route of the way.
You exit the field in the leftt hand corner, via a stile and then along a very narrow path alongside a beck. You'll exit onto the pavement of Heybeck Lane, turning left to head up the hill.
Cross over at a convenient point and turn right onto Old Hey Beck Lane and follow this unmade road along past the houses and as it drops back down to the beck.
Just before crossing the beck, there is a path leaving to the left which climbs into the field over another stile.
The route follows the right hand of this field, which is quite steep and could be trickier to follow in poor conditions. As you reach the far boundary of this field, you'll see another stile into the next field where you turn right and follow the boundary of this field until you reach a farm road. Follow the road uphill approximately Northbound until you reach Batley Road.
Cross the road here and continue along Haigh Moor Road past the Methodist church and turn right onto an unmade road. As this road runs left, there is a footpath exiting dead ahead, which then runs along the edge of the field.
Having followed the path along this field, I struggled to find the path that exits in the North East corner. It was very overgrown and barely passable, but still possible. Ducking under branches and climbing over fallen logs, I eventually ended up crossing another beck on a footbridge and then continuing straight ahead along the right hand boundary of that field.
Climbing up this hill, you ascend two sets of stone steps and then continue to climb through the next field, eventually arriving at the Blind Lane. There is a stile to the right of the large gates to get onto Blind Lane.
Follow this lane along to the end, where you will cross to the opposite pavement on Woodhouse Lane. Continue as if going straight on from Blind Lane as the road bends around. After clutch of residential properties, there is a well maintained path to the right, which leads into a corn field.
The right of way then continues diagonally across this field - when I crossed, it was visible through the corn, but it is not a clear path. In the middle of this field, there is a track that you can join and follow until you meet a path crossing at right angles. Turn left and follow this path until you reach the gates and then follow along the lane. This is the Leeds country way, which you follow until it crosses the Wakefield Way, which runs up between two fields on a very overgrown footpath.
After exiting this path into a field, stick to the right hand boundary to the gate at the far end. This path takes you past the East Ardsley United Cricket ground and opens up into Pilden Lane.
Directly opposite the end of this road is a filling station and the route you need to follow runs along the right hand side of this garage. When I was here, the traffic was fairly constant so I turned left to the crossing and then walked back past the filling station.
Turn up Cherry Tree Walk and follow up toward the Church (St Michaels). I stopped for lunch in the peaceful grounds here, but if you aren't stopping, follow the path along the right of the church grounds.
At the far end of the graveyard, you will enter a field and immediately turn left, following a path which bears around to the right. Follow this path to the edge of the field, to a track named New Lane.
I've changed the route at this point from my original article, to avoid a section of footpath which is almost inaccessible due to being overgrown.
Turn right onto New Lane and follow it to the end. New Lane isn't a paved road and is little more than a footpath for much of its length. It will lead you to Moor Knoll Lane, where you should turn left, proceeding northward. There is footpath along the road for almost the whole of this short road section, switching from one side to the other.
Just before Moor Knoll Lane bears to the left, there is a footpath leading off to the right. Take this footpath through the woods, it bears around to the left before meeting a track, where you will turn right. Follow the track until it bears to the right, where you will find another footpath leaving to the left. Follow this footpath to the end, where it meets Common Lane. Again, this last section of footpath appears to be somewhat ad hoc, and may well also be overgrown at times - I've not tried this section yet and I'll update here when I do.
Turn right to follow this road over the railway line to another public footpath leaving to the right.
Follow this footpath as it runs alongside the railway and under the M62. This is the most industrial part of the route and may not be the most beautiful!
At the time of writing, the footpath after passing under the motorway has been rerouted with little signage. Essentially, you need to bear right and cling to the back of this demolition site to enter the woods. There are a few footpaths through the woods, which will lead you north back to Thorpe Lane. I exited the woods after following one of the paths to an open gate with a sign saying "Beware of the dog, enter at your own risk". This was at the end of a drive that goes around the back of the scrap yard on Thorpe lane and emerges opposite Thorpe Mount/Thorpe Garth.
Cross Thorpe Lane as soon as possible turning left, to pass Thorpe Garth and the route will then leave on the public footpath (marked as a route to Stank Hall Farm) on your right.
This is one of the surprising routes in South Leeds which I've mentioned on other walks. It's a route which runs quite close to the estates in Middleton, but as you are lower down the hill, the houses are not often noticeable.
Around 500m along this path, there is a junction where the path drops down to the left quite suddenly. I prefer to go along this route as it takes you lower into a wooded area. If you'd rather not take the steep path here, you can carry on straight ahead. Both paths lead to the same clearing eventually, where the top route will drop down to join the lower route.
Carry on through the woods, skirting the edge of a couple of fields and eventually arriving at some common land. The footpath skirts the west edge of this land, but you can cross diagonally. In the North West corner, the path leaves the land and drops again before bearing right, passing below Middleton Golf course.
The path narrows as it runs alongside the East Coast mainline, where you will meet a bridge on the left.
Cross this bridge to continue through the grounds of Stank Hall Farm and then drop down to Dewsbury Road (A653).
Cross Dewsbury road and then follow the short road that joins Millshaw road and Dewsbury road, before turning right to follow Millshaw Road to the pedestrian crossing before the entrance to the White Rose.
After crossing here, you can chose either to return to the start of the walk directly by turning right or turn left to follow back along Millshaw Road and then take the pedestrian entrance into the White Rose centre.
After turning off Millshaw Road, the path bears around to the right (steps go up to the shopping centre on your left) and head straight along the boardwalk over the pond where you can often see some wildlife.
And you've completed the walk!