Top places in West Yorkshire and York for a family walk this May

Put your best foot forward this National Walking Month with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect team

May is National Walking Month, an initiative by the charity Living Streets aimed at encouraging more of us to celebrate getting out and about on foot – and with two bank holiday weekends on the horizon, what better way to celebrate than a family walk?

Here are some of the region’s top places for a family walk this May as chosen by the team behind West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to walk and cycle.

Leeds and Bradford

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal towpath, including the Aire Valley Towpath, is largely flat, helping make it an excellent location for a family walk.

What’s more, as the longest canal in the UK, it’s a destination in itself but there are plenty of places to explore on foot along the way.

Just a few miles along the towpath from Leeds city centre is Kirkstall Abbey or further along is Rodley Nature Reserve.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire is also easily accessible with the towpath running close to Salts Mill, as is the National Trust’s East Riddlesden Hall further along.

At one end of CityConnect’s award-winning Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway, you can access Bradford’s Green Line Miles – four mile long circular routes, including City Park and the University, Little Germany, Manningham Lane and Myra Shay – or clock up some more steps with a wander around City Park, which is home to the Mirror Pool - the largest urban water feature in the UK.

At the Leeds end of the cycle superhighway, take a walk on the wild side on the city’s Owl Trail.


Check out CityConnect’s new and improved section of towpath on the Calder Hebble Navigation canal between Sowerby Bridge Basin and Hollas Lane Bridge. There’s also the option to link to the Hebble Trail, which runs all the way into the centre of Halifax.

Explore the Rochdale Canal around Hebden Bridge, which has benefitted from improvements through the CityConnect programme to create a 10km route linking Sowerby Bridge to Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge.

The Rochdale Canal runs alongside Calder Holmes Park, a great spot for a picnic, or visit the National Trust’s Hardcastle Crags, a beautiful wooded valley with a riverside walk to 19th-century Gibson Mill. Head there in earlier on in May to catch the bluebells.


Take a stroll along CityConnect’s new and improved section of towpath on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal between Milnsbridge and the town centre.

Learn more about the town’s past by downloading one of Huddersfield Local History Society’s walking maps.


The Castleford to Wakefield Greenway links Fairies Hill Locks by Whitwood Golf Course with Methley Bridge, and from the Greenway you can also link up with the towpath to the Aire and Calder Navigation towpath.

Looking for something a bit different? Try one of Wakefield Council’s Story Trails at the district’s country parks designed to combine the pleasures of children’s books with exploring the great outdoors.


Enjoy a walk along the River Ouse in York, taking in the new £4.4m Scarborough Bridge delivered by CityConnect in partnership with City of York Council, and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER EP).

From here visit the city’s Museum Gardens or there’s the option to head out of the city towards Rowntree Park on Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 65.

CityConnect’s tips on building more walking into your daily routine this National Walking Month

According to government guidelines, adults need at least 150 minutes exercise a week but many of us struggle to build this level of physical activity into our busy lives – 39% of us don’t, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Walking is a simple, free and easy way to boost your activity levels.

Here are some top tips to build more walking into your daily routine, as compiled by the team behind West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to travel on foot or by bike.

Walk part of your journey. Whether you’re heading to work, college, the shops or to see friends, why not walk part of the way? Walk to the train station, get off the bus a couple of stops earlier or park a bit further away from your destination. Remember it only takes about 20 minutes to walk one mile.

Enjoy a social walk. Whether it’s getting to know your colleagues, making new friends or catching up with loved ones, walking is a great way to socialise. You don’t have to climb a mountain, exploring your local area can be just as rewarding.

Set up a lunchtime exclusion zone. Discover new things by taking a 15 minute walk from the office in different directions at lunchtimes.

Take your meetings outside. Hold walking meetings with your colleagues or a client. A change of scene can inspire creativity and the chances are you’ll all return to the office happier, healthier and more productive.

Borrow a dog. Does your neighbour, friend or someone in your family have a dog? Most dogs wouldn’t say no to an extra walk each day or week, so why not offer to take them out. You’ll get all the health benefits of having a dog without the commitment.

Make a pledge and stick to it. Whether it’s to walk more, swap some of your train / bus / car time for foot time or to save some cash by shaking up your commute. Whatever the reason, while you’re feeling motivated set yourself a target and then shout it from the rooftops. If your family, friends and colleagues all know what you’re doing and why, they can help motivate you if and when you need it.

Victoria Sayers-Snowden, who works at Bradford Council, enjoys a lunchtime walk with her colleagues. Since building more walking into her daily life she has lost weight, toned up, feels more energised and has made new friends.