Top places in West Yorkshire and York for a family walk this summer

Put your best foot forward this summer with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect team

School’s out until September – the perfect opportunity to while away some of those long summer days on a family walk.

Here are some of the region’s top places for a family walk this summer as chosen by the team behind West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to walk and cycle.

Leeds and Bradford

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal towpath, including the Aire Valley Towpath, is largely flat, helping make it an excellent location for a family walk.

What’s more, as the longest canal in the UK, it’s a destination in itself but there are plenty of places to explore on foot along the way.

Just a few miles along the towpath from Leeds city centre is Kirkstall Abbey or further along is Rodley Nature Reserve.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire is also easily accessible with the towpath running close to Salts Mill, as is the National Trust’s East Riddlesden Hall further along.

The Shipley end of Bradford’s new £3.1m Canal Road Cycleway, which provides a missing link in cycling infrastructure between there and Bradford, connects to the Canal Road Greenway – a green and leafy spot for a short leg stretch.

At one end of CityConnect’s award-winning Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway, you can access Bradford’s Green Line Miles – four mile long circular routes, including City Park and the University, Little Germany, Manningham Lane and Myra Shay – or clock up some more steps with a wander around City Parkwhich is home to the Mirror Pool – the largest urban water feature in the UK.

At the Leeds end of the cycle superhighway, take a walk on the wild side on the city’s Owl Trail.

Leeds’s new £7.9m city centre cycle superhighway, which was officially opened just last week, runs along Wellington Street towards City Square from the west and along Marsh Lane, York Street, Duke Street and Kirkgate from the east.  Why not download a copy of the Child Friendly Leeds city centre map and keep an eye out for our new route on your travels?

Calderdale

Check out CityConnect’s new and improved section of towpath on the Calder Hebble Navigation canalbetween Sowerby Bridge Basin and Hollas Lane Bridge.  There’s also the option to link to the Hebble Trail, which runs all the way into the centre of Halifax.

Explore the Rochdale Canal around Hebden Bridge, which has benefitted from improvements through the CityConnect programme to create a 10km route linking Sowerby Bridge to Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge.

The Rochdale Canal runs alongside Calder Holmes Park, a great spot for a picnic, or visit the National Trust’s Hardcastle Crags, a beautiful wooded valley with a riverside walk to 19th-century Gibson Mill.

Kirklees

Take a stroll along CityConnect’s new and improved section of towpath on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal between Milnsbridge and the town centre.

Learn more about the town’s past by downloading one of Huddersfield Local History Society’s walking maps.

Wakefield

The Castleford to Wakefield Greenway links Fairies Hill Locks by Whitwood Golf Course with Methley Bridge, and from the Greenway you can also link up with the towpath to the Aire and Calder Navigationtowpath.

Looking for something a bit different?  Try one of Wakefield Council’s Story Trails at the district’s country parks designed to combine the pleasures of children’s books with exploring the great outdoors.

York

Enjoy a walk along the River Ouse in York, taking in the new £4.4m Scarborough Bridge delivered by CityConnect in partnership with City of York Council, and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER EP).

From here visit the city’s Museum Gardens or there’s the option to head out of the city towards Rowntree Park on Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 65.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “Exploring your local area on foot is up there when it comes to enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

“Whether it’s a peaceful rural walk away from the hustle and bustle of it all, or exploring our cities, we’re blessed with so many wonderful and varied options for family walks right on our doorstep here in West Yorkshire.”

Where’s your favourite place to walk?  Share pictures of your walking adventures, however big or small, with CityConnect on Twitter (@cityconnect1) and Facebook (@cyclecityconnect).

From route information to online challenges, free adult cycle training and bike and support for businesses, find out how CityConnect can help you.