If you are looking for places around the world that offer natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes, perhaps you can be forgiven if Ilkley Moor in the heart of Yorkshire, England is not at the top of your bucket list. Don’t worry, before we visited Ilkley Moor for the first time in 2010, we had no idea just how gorgeous this location was so you won’t be the first person wondering where on earth we are talking about here!
When you think about attractions around the world that offer stunning landscapes, I am sure many of you may consider places like the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef or even urban landscapes like the New York City skyline.
But when you stumble across a location like Ilkley Moor, it offers something just a little bit different and makes you realize that you don’t have to seek out these top locations in the distant corners of the world. Why not? Because sometimes the most beautiful places are right on your doorstep!
The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.
When artist Paul Strand spoke these words about an artist finding beauty anywhere in the world, he reiterated the importance of looking on your doorstep.
“On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at” is an old Yorkshire folk song that is frequently considered to be the anthem of the county. It’s interesting to note that out of the all the stunning countryside throughout Yorkshire, Ilkley Moor was the chosen destination in this anthem. Dating back to the late 19th century, this song pays tribute to what is such a beautiful part of the White Rose county.
Where is Ilkley Moor?
Let’s start by answering the question that most of you are probably asking yourselves…where is Ilkley Moor? So we have established already that it is in Yorkshire, England, but more specifically it is the area of moorland in West Yorkshire along A65 between Ilkley and Keighley. Ilkley Moor is actually part of the ‘larger’ Rombalds Moor which is what you will find if you search for this on Google Maps.
Depending on how you are traveling around England, I would highly recommend renting a car and taking a road trip through the Yorkshire Dales. Along with the Ilkley Moor you will pass through a myriad of idyllic villages and gorgeous countryside, in addition to experiencing some of the finest country roads in the nation.
For those that have never driven in the UK, this part of the country is a real test but undoubtedly rewards the brave because I cannot emphasize enough just how beautiful it is.
Distance From Manchester – 50 Miles
Distance From London – 213 Miles
The above map shows an overview of Northern England and you can see that Ilkley Moor (or Rombald’s Moor) is located north of both Leeds and Manchester, but easily accessible from both.
If driving does not sound particularly appealing, you can always take the train from Manchester Piccadilly or Leeds to Ilkley and then a local bus. Maybe this adventurous option will be for the backpackers out there but regardless of what transportation you take, the end result is a plethora of beautiful panoramic landscapes.
Miles of Gorgeous Natural Beauty
Discovering the ‘real’ Ilkley Moor is all about parking your vehicle and heading out into the vast countryside to experience everything associated with the Yorkshire Dales. History, natural beauty, and iconic landmarks are all waiting to be uncovered on Ilkley Moor.
With a wide variety of flora and fauna on display, the best way to explore this part of Yorkshire is to take one of the various heritage walks. Easily accessible routes are available and thanks to the Friends of Ilkley Moor website, there are self-guided tours and downloadable maps ready to guide you on your way.
The Cow and Calf Rocks is one of the most popular walks as it leads hikers to a large rock formation consisting of sandstone and millstone grit. If this geological phenomenon is not exciting enough for you, perhaps the iconic Twelve Apostles Stone Circle constructed over 2000 years ago would be a little more intriguing.
There are a number of prehistoric landmarks scattered throughout the moorland, so it’s a case of getting out there and hiking around to see what you can stumble across. Sheep are grazing everywhere so be prepared to find a stray sheep while hiking through the moors.
Take a stroll by one of the creeks that meander through the countryside and take a peek at some of the gorgeous wildflowers that grow in this part of the country.
This really is a rugged, untouched landscape that continues to evolve and really emphasizes the beauty that nature provides us.
However, the best part about Ilkley Moor has to be the spectacular panoramic views across Yorkshire. On a clear day, you can see miles and miles of breathtaking beauty. Take a moment to sit down and peer across the scenery…trust me not only will you quickly lose the sense of time, but you will gain a much greater appreciation of everything around you.
What better way to end your day exploring Ilkley Moor than by heading into one of the local pubs in the town of Ilkley and sampling one of the local Yorkshire brews. There is nothing quite like enjoying a fresh ale in an idyllic English pub setting.
England is so much more than Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. In fact, the best of England can be displayed when you head outside of the major cities and start exploring the natural beauty in the ruralities of English finest countryside settings. Yorkshire is the perfect county to represent this stereotype, and Ilkley Moor in particular, is a gorgeous reflection on stunning natural landscapes that are available throughout the country.
Given that this is only a short drive from a myriad of other Yorkshire attractions, I strongly encourage you to spend at least a couple of days in this part of the country and experience a unique beauty. Ilkley Moor is one of the most iconic areas in the Yorkshire Dales so be sure to add this to your itinerary…you won’t be left disappointed!
Have you visited Yorkshire or specifically Ilkley Moor? What is your idea of ‘stereotypical English countryside’?