Ilkley Moor Explore

A 35km run route that takes in all that Ilkley Moor and the surrounding moors have to offer.


Elevation gain:951m

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This route is a classic fell running route. It covers the moors (8 to be precise) around Ilkley and what a view! On a clear day it is possible to see right across Ilkley and Bradford

The North Leeds Fell Runners have put together a challenge for this route. Do it as quickly as you can! And if you think you have smashed it, send your results in!

Wanting to find your way to the start of the route? Here is a link for a Google Maps Directions page.

This route has a distance of 35km and an elevation gain of 951m.

The largest non-stop incline begins in the second third of of the route, and has a distance of 1680m and an elevation gain of 172m. You can see this on the above elevation chart in red.

The largest continual decline is 459m long with an elevation drop of 92m which starts in the first third of the route. This is shown on the chart as green.

Route Description

This route starts and ends at The Hermit Inn, passes over Ilkley Moor and past Stanva Stones. Up through Addingham and Langbar, over the Moors and back down through Burley in Wharfedale.

We suggest following the route by GPS, but to be safe it is also smart to mark the route on a map.

Northern Leeds Fell Runners have provided these check points to plot your route:

  • Gate to Burley Moor GR 153451
  • Path by Boundary Stone GR 147442
  • Twelve Apostles GR 126451
  • Trig Point GR 114452
  • Trig Point GR 082466
  • The Mosquito Bomber memorial GR 069471
  • Road crossing GR 078486
  • Spring well Farm GR 098514
  • Beamsley Beacon GR 099524
  • Round Hill Little Gate GR 121536
  • Ellercarr Pike  GR159523
  • Fell boundary forest margin GR 151513
  • Scales House Farm GR163492
  • Askwith Telephone box GR 168483


Being a moor run, it is likely to be uneven, boggy, and rocky. Remember to take care and do not put yourself at unnecessary risk. More accidents can happen when you are tired, so keep an eye on those energy levels!

You will need to cross the river at Burley, so check the river level before you go. If the river is too high the route will be impassable. River levels can be checked here.

There are a number of road crossing, so keep an eye out.


The route explores Rombalds Moor, but we named the route Ilkley Moor Explore as that is where the route starts from.

Rombalds Moor contains a number of moors, including Ilkley Moor, Burley Moor, Hawksworth Moor, Baildon Moor, Bingley Moor, Morton Moor, and Addingham High Moor. Below is information on a few of the more popular moors.

Ilkley Moor

Sitting above Ilkley, Ilkley Moor is an urban common area covering 676 hectares (1670 acres). During the Carboniferous period (325 million years ago), Ilkley Moor was part of a sea level swampy area fed by river channels coming from the north. During the last million years, Ice Age glaciers modified the shape of the Wharfe valley, deepening it, smoothing it and leaving behind glacial debris.

Ilkley Moor is a rich area for wildlife, both flora and fauna. Most of what you see is grass and rushes, Heather and Bracken. Wavy Hair-grass covers large patches of the highest parts, while the fluffy white cotton wool tufts of Cottongrass mark the damper spots.

Burley Moor

Burley Moor is a summit in the Yorkshire Dales. The top can be identified by the flattened cairn known as the Great Skirtful of Stones. These can be seen from a great distance away, and thought to have been created in the Bronze or Iron age. It marks a huge prehistoric graveyard, and seeming focal point of at least one, though possibly three prehistoric trackways.

One of these tracks swerves on its southern edge so as to not touch the monument. This trackway appears to have been a ceremonial ‘road of the dead,’ along which the dead were carried, resting at the nearby Roms Law, or Grubstones Circle.

Baildon Moor

Baildon Moor has a number of outcropping gritstones, and there is a stone circle known as Soldier’s Trench which is said to date from the Bronze Age, 3000 years ago. There are also numerous Cup & Ring marks, the origins of these are still unknown. The moor, a massive conical mound can be seen from miles around and on a clear day people standing on the moor will be able to see all of Bradford City Centre in its natural bowl below to the south.

More after this. Continue reading below ↓


Amenities are few and far between on this route. And that is sort of the point…

There are toilets at The Hermit Inn (start of the route) but after that it will be you and nature!

Please hold onto any rubbish until back at your car/start of the route.


We suggest parking at The Hermit Inn. You are likely to want a drink and some food after anyway! The postcode is LS29 7AS (Google Map link).

Food and Drink

As mentioned in the Parking section. The Hermit Inn is our choice.  They provide a selection of food from artisan sandwiches with fries to homemade soups, small plates and sharing plates. They have vegan and gluten free options for most dishes.

If you are looking to eat after we recommend you book a table to avoid being turned away hungry!

Interestingly, the old owners decided to retire around 2013 and sold the lease. Then the pandemic happened and it was announced the pub was not going to be re-opened. The owners lodged an application for planning permission to convert the pub into housing. The locals rallied to oppose this threat and a campaign to ‘Save the Hermit’ culminated with the purchase of the pub by the Burley Woodhead Pub Company.

Other Running Routes Nearby

Looking for other routes near Ilkley Moor Explore? Here are three just around the corner.