I think this is probably the last of the batch of walks beginning at the White Rose Centre for now at least!
The route for this walk is very similar to the Farnley/Gildersome 11m (West Leeds Country Park) walk I added at the start of the year. It goes in reverse to that walk and cuts across from Gildersome to New Farnley, making the most of the stretch of farmland running just north of the M621 and Gelderd Road from the Ring Road out to Gildersome. It cuts out around 4 miles of walking by cutting out the section which runs from Farnley into Cockersdale, so it's a good option for a shorter mid-day walk.
Most of this route was on good paths - a few short muddy sections thanks to the weather we've seen so far this year, but nothing to stop anybody with decent footwear.
Again, as mentioned, we're starting from the White Rose Nature Trail and following that footpath up and around the back of the shopping centre.
Just after you've passed Cineworld, take the concrete footbridge on the right, taking you over the railway and into the farmland at the back (Daisy Hill).
Keep straight on up to the farm and bearing left behind the farm buildings after the first stretch of fields. Keep straight on the farm road now as it zigzags up into Churwell, arriving eventually at Victoria Road.
I've used this route a few times on different walks, but this was the first time trying the route up through Churwell Urban Woodland and delaying the motorway crossing until a bit later - it worked well and I'm likely to update the other routes to take advantage of this well kept bit of woodland soon.
Turn right at the end of the farm road and head downhill briefly on Victoria Road. You'll need to look for somewhere to cross when traffic permits. This route uses Smools Lane, which leaves on the left just after Daffil Road (if Smools Lane isn't looking particularly pleasant, you can go along Daffil Road and then take the footpath which leaves on the right of the turning circle).
Smools lane will take you along the back of Daffil Road and then across the end of the next housing development (Grange Park Drive) before it drops down into Churwell Urban Woodland. Immediately after Grange Park Drive, there is a woodland footpath that leaves to the left, but our route goes straight ahead and drops down toward the motorway.
Follow the footpath around as it curves to the left, it leads you up to Ibbetson Oval. Go straight over the road and continue in the woodland.
Here you'll pass the Churwell Woodland Railway, a volunteer run miniature railway which sits at the centre of this little community.
Sadly, in 2020, they've had to cancel the timetable for the foreseeable future due to the COVID19 outbreak, but we've taken our children to this railway in the past. It was a nice afternoon where some of the volunteers spoke to us enthusiastically about the development of the Churwell Urban Woodland and the return of wildlife that they've witnessed since work began.
The path meanders through the woodland, climbing a bit until you'll reach a junction where our footpath goes up the steps to the right.
At the top of the steps, you'll emerge on Ibbetson Drive and you should carry on straight ahead, along Ibbetson Drive as it runs North West.
At the end of this road, a footpath continues between the houses, crossing Ibbetson Road and continuing to take you to the bridge over the M621. Cross the bridge and follow as the road leads downhill, turning into a track before becoming a tarmac road again. This is Rooms Lane, which is where we join up with the paths I wrote about originally.
Follow to the end of Rooms Lane, and turn right onto Gelderd Road for a brief section before there is a fairly hidden footpath leaving through the hedge just before you get to the first factory unit. Gelderd Road can be busy and fast at times, but because of the sweeping bend, it is normally easy enough to see when there's an adequate gap to cross.
As you follow on the footpath, there is a small gap in the hedge on your left where a signposted (but hidden) right of way heads off through the field - a couple of small steps up into the field. If you're passing a substation and small industrial area, you've gone too far!
In the field, the footpath appears to cling to the right hand side of the field and then follows along to a small dell at the far end of the field. The right of way actually turns 90 degrees left halfway into this field and follows what appears to be a historical field boundary which is no longer evident.
If you follow what is clearly the commonly used path to the dell, it is very pleasant and there is plenty of wildlife, but it can get very soggy after wet weather. I suspect the actual route of the right of way as marked on OS maps etc would be drier, but there doesn't appear to be clear markings.
Anyway, long way of saying, the exit from this field is diagonally opposite from where you entered the field, where it exits via a small wooden bridge crossing the stream!
The next section was one of my favourite finds around Leeds. It's a quiet lane running up between the fields, covered with a tree canopy. It was obviously a path which had had a reasonable amount of effort spent on making it nice as it was paved for much of its length with red brick. However, while the route is still very nice, I was surprised to see it in a much worse state after the winter of 2020 when this along with many other paths had been washed out by heavy rainfall.
The route of this lane is pretty clear. You do cross a track part way up, but as long as you continue straight ahead, you'll be on the right route.
As the path/lane emerges from the trees, it gets steeper and you follow the fence line up through the field - often accompanied by some friendly horses. At the top of this path is a farm gate with a kissing gate at the left. Go through the kissing gate to find yourself on a very quaint farm lane called Harthill lane. The best part of this lane is the view behind you, so as you the junction where the lane goes off to the right, it's worth turning around and taking in the view.
As mentioned, the lane goes off to the right as Harthill lane becomes a footpath and carries on straight ahead. Climbing this path, you'll see a trig point to your left which is easily photographable from the footpath if that's your sort of thing. I've not been up to this trig point yet - I had a read around on various trig point resources and there were some hints that the landowner may not be so keen on visitors, but it's up to you whether you attempt that!
The footpath drops back down as you reach Gildersome, passing a converted church and eventually getting down to Spring View. Turn right and follow this road as it bears around to the right.
You'll pass a small common on your left with a few benches - these are the only benches you'll find on this walk, so if you want a seat take the opportunity now! Spring View continues to a farm, past a large gate and into to centre of the farm yard. You'll pass a few barns etc on your right hand side as you approach the main farm buildings and our path keeps to the right of the main brick buildings. Keep straight ahead as you leave the farm buildings behind - you'll cross one track immediately after the farm buildings and then the track you are on takes you up to a field occupied by goats when we came through.
As you enter the field, you'll see some trees almost opposite. Head to the left of these trees and you'll see the next stile. The footpath for the next section was a bit of a mystery, but it worked out ok in the end.
We followed the obvious path into a field which had a few vehicles and some animal shelters of some sort. You're in the proximity of a traveller/gypsy settlement which is on the other side of the hedge to your left. The slight mystery here is that I'd expected to be on the other side of that hedge, following the route on OS maps, but we didn't see that footpath. After coming to the end of this field, I'm not even sure it would have been possible to get through on that side of the fence, so it may be that the path has been re-routed.
Whatever the cause, the easiest route through was to follow the path through the field as we did and when you get to the gate at the far end, keep right along the narrow footpath adjacent to the driveway.
Our footpath keeps right along here and you'll see the next stile entering the first paddock and then another one entering the next property. Keep right here and the footpath goes behind the buildings on this plot.
It's a well kept section of footpath, so what initially felt a bit like we were encroaching on somebody's property ended up feeling as though they were reasonably happy with that!
A final stile leads you into a field where you will keep to the right all the way to the exit in the corner dead ahead. We stopped here for lunch - pretty well sheltered and a nice view!
Over the stile and along a short drive to get down to Whitehall Road, where you need to turn right and follow the road for a short section.
There's a hidden public footpath sign as Wood Lane leaves to the right. Turn here and follow Wood Lane as if bears round to the left. You quickly leave the residential area on Whitehall Road behind, passing a few farms as you go.
You'll notice a few footpaths and bridleways sign posted along this road, but we'll be sticking to the tarmac road. This is a really nice route, well manicured and quiet as you walk along the ridge of this hill above New Farnley and Beeston Royds.
You'll eventually reach a dark stained wooden gate across the road, on the approach to the final farm. To the right of this gate is another wooden gate where our footpath goes off to the right. This footpath goes between the fields, under a couple of trees and then over a style into another horse field.
We bumped into the lady who was tending the horses in this field at one point and she recommended heading toward the middle of the field to avoid the area churned up by the horses hoofs. The route of the right of way actually clings to the left of this field, but it's always encouraging to hear the landowners encouraging use of the fields!
On a later walk, when the field was much drier, we found that there was a clear path going around the churned up section and eventually leading back to the gate at the other end of the left boundary.
When the gate is open with a wooden barrier across the gate opening it's best to just duck under the wood here to carry on into the next field. Otherwise, when the gate is closed, there is a stile to the right hand side.
You'll see a couple of well worn paths through this field. Take the one that stays right and drops down to around half the way along the far boundary. It makes little difference if you don't, both paths lead to the same track in different places. I've not met a disgruntled farmer here yet, but the route I've described is the right of way, so it at least shows best intentions!
Once you're on the track, turn right and follow it down to Gelderd Road.
You'll want to cross as soon as possible as the view along the road diminishes as you follow it. As you follow Gelderd Road, you'll see a road on your left, going under a great old railway bridge. There's a sign at the start of the road warning that it's a private road and that the only permitted use is for the footpath.
Follow this road as it climbs up the hill and passes the white farm house on your right. The footpath carries on straight ahead, kinking around the boundary after the farm, but carries on straight ahead. There is a misleading sign suggesting the footpath goes left, this is another footpath heading down the hill. Our footpath carries straight ahead and is very clear to see.
You're approaching the motorway now and the footpath drops down to an under pass before joining Smools Lane, which takes you back into the Churwell Urban Woodland.
Emerging by the nature pond, turn left and follow the footpath back up the hill. As the path bears off to the left, follow it around past the woodland wildlife sign and a couple of benches. Stick to this footpath as it continues to climb (there is another footpath which leaves to the left, but that's not for us!
At the end of this path, there is an anti-bike barrier where our route turns right and heads into the residential area at Daffil Grove/Hepworth Avenue. Directly ahead, there is another footpath which will take you into Churwell Park. I love this park as it's well kept and its original layout is clear.
Whichever route you take through the park, we're heading for the diagonally opposite corner, where you'll bear right to follow William Street to Elland Road (opposite a Tesco Express).
To the left of the Tesco Express, take Little Lane off Elland Road. Keep to the footpath on the left as the next footpath isn't so clear from this direction, but you'll pass it on that side.
The footpath drops down to the left at the start of Coteroyd Avenue. There are a couple of private road signs along here, but they refer to traffic rather than walkers. As you get to the end of this lane, you'll see a stile and a sign asking walkers to stick to the route.
Over the stile and drop down the field, keeping straight ahead. You'll be able to see the footpath continuing beyond the opposite boundary, so head in that direction.
The quiet in this section always strikes me as you've left the relatively busy Churwell behind and you're hidden from the White Rose office park by the railway embankment. It gives an idea of what this area of Leeds was probably like in the early 1900s.
As you follow the footpath, you'll see an underpass on your left going under the railway, take this and then turn right. This footpath leads you back to the nature walk around the White Rose Shopping Centre. Once you get to the nature walk, turn left to get to the exit of the White Rose, or right to get to the rear entrance of the shopping centre.