Heritage Walk: Twelve Apostles & Beyond
Follow the graded path to White Wells café (if the flags are flying it’s open). You can visit the old spring bath, long thought to have restorative properties. Continue on the path behind the café rising up to steep steps (the beginning of the path across the width of the moor to Dick Hudson’s).
Having reached the top of the steps, keep straight on. You cross a path and eventually reach a small stream. Soon after this is the start of a newly flagged path. It is part of 500 tons of flagstones lifted by helicopter to help restore over 5,000 metres of pathways on Ilkley Moor, sections of which had turned into a quagmire, making walking in wet weather very difficult. This paving was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Watershed Landscape Project and City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council in 2010-12.
Continue on the flagged path for 900 metres – the path rises until you reach a single standing boundary stone on your
right. Keep straight on leaving the flagged path, and head south for the Twelve Apostles only 100 meters distance away. You may want to inspect the 12 standing stones.
Retracing your footsteps from the Apostles Stones to the boundary stone, turn left in a westerly direction on the flagged path. After 1000 metres you reach the summit trig point just off the path on your right. The area round the point is believed to be on a prehistoric burial cairn. Continuing on the path for about 300 metres, look out for a large boulder on the left. Near are two tablet stones with a poem carved on them, written by Simon Armitage – part of the Stanza Stone Poetry Trail.
After 250 metres you reach the Thimble Stones. Note the wavy patterns on these boulders. This is called slump bedding
and is formed when the wet sand that formed the rocks was being covered by more sediment, the water in it was able to escape upwards, distorting the bedding surfaces. Two tall radio masts have been visible for most of the high level path walk.
Continue, leaving the masts on your left, and join Keighley Road. Turn right – you can keep on the road all the way back to White Wells car park, or after 1200 metres you reach a finger post pointing to a grassy path on your right. Taking this path can be a tricky descent in wet weather. (You can branch of to the left after 300 meters to find a flatter route) – both paths eventually join Keighley Road.