Many of the routes around the south of Leeds tend to skirt residential/industrial areas. This isn't significantly different, but for a 6 mile walk, you spend a lot of time in the countryside. There is a downside and that is a fairly significant period walking alongside the M1 as you skirt the West Yorkshire Police Training and Development Centre and approach Kirkhamgate. You can reduce this by taking an option as the Wakefield Way crosses the Leeds country way, which I'll mention as we get there.
This is an otherwise nice route - good parking at the Ardsley reservoir and a little elevation. Not too much in terms of hidden/overgrown footpaths either.
As mentioned, this route starts in the carpark for Ardsley Reservoir. This is a small reservoir, which appears to be a favourite for less than considerate dog walkers - dodge the dog muck and you'll be fine!
Leaving the car park, head along the lane to the reservoir and take the gate on your left to the main path around the reservoir, following clockwise. After 0.3 miles, a path leaves to the north of the reservoir and follows straight ahead for around 175 yards. There are a couple of paths off to the right, which lead through the woods, but our route doesn't follow these paths.
Beyond the northern boundary of the woods, turn right and follow along the fenceline at the southern end of the field. As you get to the end of the first field, you will step down and back up to cross a beck, before continuing straight ahead, finally bearing a little to the left to follow the path to the A650 (Bradford Road).
There is a crossing a little to your right as you emerge at the road, cross here and then turn left to follow the A650 northbound. Pass the main field entrance on your right and then you'll arrive at a footpath which runs along the field boundary, also on your right (just before the first house).
After following the boundary for almost 300 yards, turn left to follow the path up and behind St Michael's Church. There are some nice views out to the hills in the south west as you head on this route.
When you get to the far end of the church graveyard, you can either follow up to the public footpath, or take a stile into the church grounds. There are a couple of benches here for a moment of quiet rest. Or a sandwich.
Following the footpath south from the church, you'll eventually end up back at the A650, by a service station. Cross the road here and head almost straight ahead along Pilden Lane.
At the end of the lane, the footpath bears left and becomes a little overgrown as it heads toward the south end of the cricket ground - nothing impassable, eventually ending up in a field sometimes occupied by horses. Keep heading south as the footpath becomes a little hard to see, ending up in the south eastern corner of the field.
Here the footpath continues between two fields, but this can also be a bit overgrown. If you are wearing shorts, you can bypass this path, taking the remains of a stile to the right hand side before the path starts and then heading south along the western boundary of the field. Before passing any further boundaries, you'll find another stile at the point that the Wakefield Way and Leeds Country Way intersect.
This is the point where you can either continue along the Wakefield way, heading south toward the motorway, or opt to turn West and follow the Leeds Country Way, staying a little further from the motorway for a bit longer.
Option 1: Carry on south, you'll head under the motorway via an underpass and then turn right to follow the road up to a gated access onto the Police training facilities. At this point, the original right of way has been rerouted and skirts the edge of the training facilities.
Follow the rerouted section right to the point where it rejoins the original right of way, but then take the immediate path on your right, doubling back on yourself for around 70 yards. This path is a bit overgrown, but eventually kinks to the right to emerge right next to the rerouted path in the corner of a field, where you bear left and follow the southern boundary, heading toward the motorway.
You'll reach the end of the boundary and cross a beck, before following the boundary to the left. When the boundary turns left by 90 degrees, you cross the field diagonally to the gate, by another motorway underpass.
This is where you'll emerge if you take option 2
Option 2: Turn right and follow the Leeds Country Way. You'll follow westbound through a field and then a bit of scrubland, before entering another field by a slightly over fancy gate.
Carry on straight ahead until you reach the field boundary (may be hard to distinguish) and then skirt the northwestern edge of the next field, heading toward a farm. The footpath bears south at the far end of the field follow it down toward the motorway, eventually joining the lane which goes through the underpass.
After the underpass, bear right and follow to the end of the paved road.
For both options, you now proceed with the boundary of the field on your left, until it turns left and heads away. Here you follow the right of way, which goes diagonally across the field. It is visible as a track through the field and ends at an inside corner ahead.
A footpath then continues along the boundary of the field roughly southbound before becoming a footpath on the outside edge of the next field boundary. Follow this right up to the end of the path where you'll emerge in a field, part way along a boundary. At this point, the footpath continues diagonally through the field to a set of steps (and footpath sign) which should be visible.
Ascend the steps and turn right to follow the road (The Nooking) to the junction with Brandy Carr Lane. Turn right again, heading approximately south west to the end of Brandy Carr Lane, where it intersects with Batley Road.
Turn left onto Batley Road and follow for around 165 yards. There is a lane (Gawthorpe Lane) that turns right from Batley road at this point, follow this lane as it heads downhill and again under the M1.
You emerge on the other side on a quiet lane, which you follow as it bears left and heads up hill. You'll come to what appears like a T junction, where you bear left and follow the lane around past a couple of properties.
After 300 yards a footpath leaves on the right hand side. It should be signposted to West Ardsley.
The footpath follows a lane and eventually follows a field boundary. Cross the boundary at the far end of the first field using the stile and then the footpath heads off diagonally across the next field - it's a little hard to spot at first, but you are heading almost to the corner of the field diagonally opposite you.
There are a couple of options here - the official footpath crosses a ditch/beck on a rather rotten/rickety bridge. If you don't fancy chancing this, there appears to be a route into the next field through the corner of the field too.
Turn right and follow the next two fields along the boundary, following the route of the beck. Eventually, you will see a concrete bridge crossing the beck, which will lead you to the west of the field that has solar panels. Cross this bridge and follow the paved lane up the hill. At the top of the lane, cross Batley Road and continue up Haigh Moor Road until you get to the Ardsley Reservoir car park. A bit of a straight and boring slog for the last part of the walk I'm afraid!