It only takes a little thing to mar an otherwise perfect walk: like a rusty nail, a stile requiring the agility of an acrobat, a patch of nettles, or a dead sheep.

This walk turned out to have all four of these, but as they came together in the space of about four yards, at least it got them out of the way quickly.

The walk we’d planned wasn’t an arduous one, just a nice Sunday-morning stroll around Eldwick and Shipley Glen.

The day had dawned dull and drizzly and we’d eaten our breakfast staring out of the window at solid greyness. But my wife, who has more faith than I do in the ability of the British weather to come up with pleasant surprises as well as nasty ones, said: “I’ll bet that by the time we’ve parked the car it’ll have brightened up!”

And she was right. Just as we pulled up on the road by the Acorn pub at Eldwick, alongside the line of concrete stumps that mark the boundary of the pub’s car park, the August sun shone through. And it accompanied us intermittently throughout the morning as we wandered along lanes, field paths and moorland tracks accompanied by a reassuring abundance of butterflies.

The walk took us initially up The Green past The Acorn pub and the cottages beyond, along a gently-climbing lane which became a gravel road then returned to tarmac again. Where it swung sharply to the right, we turned left up a rocky walled track leading towards Tewitt House, going right just before the house to head steeply down the straight, undulating paved causeway known as the Monksway.

The path took us past the outflow from the Eldwick compensation reservoir before climbing again to meet the road that runs from Eldwick to Dick Hudson’s pub.

Later in the day this can be a busy route, but it was quiet now, so early on a Sunday. We walked up the roadside with no trouble, to come to the entrance on the right to the lane leading to Toils Farm (shown as such on the OS 1:25 Explorer map but for some reason called Middle Farm on the 1:50 Landranger - a map not recommended for walkers).

I prefer the first name, because this was very soon to become a toil of a pleasure. The right of way led past the rear windows of the farmhouse, across a small field towards a three-strand barbed-wire fence. There was no proper stile in this fence, just a short section in which the barbed wire had been replaced with ordinary wire and the middle strand removed.

I was the first to crouch down on to my haunches and squeeze through this gap. As I did so, there was a nasty ripping sound as my shorts tore on a rusty nail. Good job it wasn’t my flesh instead!

My wife made it through the gap safely and we studied the path ahead, fringed with nettles as it led indistinctly through a narrow strip of woodland. I led the way, belabouring the nettles with my stick while my wife followed, protecting her legs by swinging the backpack in front of her.

We made it with only one knee nettled (mine) to the wall stile out of the trees and into the next field. And what a stile it was.

The protruding stone for stepping on to climb to the wall top was nowhere near its counterpart on the other side. There was a sort of wooden rail in place, though too near the wall to be much help.

Still, we made it. And what’s more we did so without managing to tread in the stinking carcass of a sheep which lay in the corner of the field.

Things could only get better from there on. And they did, as we picked our way along the side of the field along a little used stretch of the Dales Way Link Path and the stile into a lane which soon led to field paths, the track passing Golcar farm and the busy Bingley Road from Baildon Moor to Eldwick.

A squeeze stile across the road took us to the path which followed pretty Glovershaw Beck through fields and trees to emerge eventually amid the bracken of Shipley Glen above its confluence with Eldwick Beck. It was this second watercourse that we climbed above as we followed the narrow road back up to meet Bingley Road and return to the start.

And the sun was still shining.

Step by Step

  1. Walk up The Green at Eldwick, passing The Acorn pub and cottages and houses. Keep on to a point where road swings sharply right and a rugged walled track climbs to left. Go up this towards Tewitt House.
  2. A few yards before Tewitt House, go right into Monksway, a straight walled causeway. Walk down this to pass reservoir outlet and climb up path beyond to meet road. Go left here and walk up road, turning right into access road to Toils Farm. Go ahead past big barn on left and through wooden gate behind farmhouse. Walk ahead, with farmhouse on right, to awkward gap in fence (BEWARE OF RUSTY NAIL!!!). Brave nettles beyond, in season, and then perform acrobatics with great care to negotiate stile into field. Walk ahead, with wall on right, down dip and up other side to wall stile into farm lane. Turn right to pass to right of collection of farm houses known as Moorlands.
    ORTo avoid this tricky bit, continue up road to junction by Dick Hudson's and turn right. Walk along road to track on right just before farm, leading down to farm houses of Moorlands.
  3. Passing Moorlands, head for single wooden gate and keep ahead with wire fence on right to fence stile by gate. Continue ahead to wooden signpost then head half left following Dalesway Link sign, keeping to right of telegraph pole to stile in fence. Keep on to another stile by gate into fenced grassy track which passes to left of Golcar Farm to single metal gate. Through this, go right on to farm track and walk along this to meet road.
  4. Cross road and go through squeeze stile signposted to Shipley Glen. Follow path round to right of barn and then ahead with beck on right, going over a stile and keeping ahead until path emerges on to open moor. Walk on to junction of tracks and go right, soon taking right-hand fork down to short concrete stumps and over castellated bridge at bottom. Continue up track ahead past houses to meet road, then turn right down pavement to bottom of hill, turning left up The Green to return to start.

Fact File

  • Time for three-mile walk: 1½ hours.
  • Going: easy.
  • Map: OS Explorer 288, Bradford & Huddersfield.
  • Start: Eldwick, by The Acorn pub.
  • Toilets on route: none.
  • Refreshments: at The Acorn.
  • Parking: on road by Acorn car park.
  • Buses: on weekday daytimes, 622/623 every 20 minutes from Scholes and Wyke to Bradford Interchange then via Shipley and Bingley to Eldwick. Evenings and Sundays, 615 from Interchange to Eldwick via Allerton, Cottingley and Bingley, and 616 via Allerton, Wilsden, Harden and Bingley. Both hourly. All buses call at Bingley railway station.