The short hike to Beamsley Beacon from the nearby car park has fantastic views of the surrounding countryside without being too strenuous. It’s perfect for the entire family and those who do not like to walk so far. The path is well-defined, though slightly rocky and rough in places.
This walk starts from the small road near Langbar. There are several small pull-in places to park your car. Be careful of sheep on the road! Trains from Leeds run every half an hour to Ilkley, though a car is needed to get to the start of this short hike.
Beamsley Beacon Short Walk Map
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- It’s short enough to not carry anything with you (depending on the weather), but a waterproof jacket, a bit of water and a snack could be recommended.
- The map to take on this hike is the Ordnance Survey Explorer 297 for Wharfedale*.
- For short, informative walks in and around the town of Ilkey, check out IlkleyTreeTrails.
- You can find other Yorkshire ideas in our Yorkshire Guide.
From your car, a wooden signpost by the road points you in the right direction, uphill by a wall. This path is small and can be wet and muddy. After this, most of the rest of the hike is slightly rocky and rough but generally dry. If you visit in mid-summer (August) the heather will be blooming beautifully pink and purple – it’s particularly spectacular on this Beamsley Beacon hike.
There is a split in the path after roughly a hundred metres – continue uphill on the grassy path by the stone wall.
As you gain height, the views become better and better. The path heads up between rocky outcrops and heather on the spine of a broad ridge, giving splendid views in all directions.
The Top of Beamsley Beacon
After walking uphill just over 1 km, you reach the cairn at the top of Beamsley Beacon. From here you can see splendid views of Upper Wharfedale to the northwest (on your left walking up) and Lower Wharfedale to the southeast (on your right walking up).
History of Beamsley Beacon
The Beacon, or stone cairn, at the top of Beamsley Beacon apparently marks the burial place of a Bronze Age chieftain.
Much later, in the Napoleonic Wars, it was used as a signalling fire beacon. These were lit if the French invaded, and a defence force needed to be rapidly mobilised. An array of beacons across the country was set up, and guards at each beacon would light a fire if they saw a fire at another beacon. In this way, news of an invasion could travel relatively quickly.
More recently, in 1945 a Lancaster Bomber crashed into the Beacon in thick fog. Four of the eight crew, all members of the Canadian Air Force, died. A memorial plaque at the top commemorates this tragedy.
Onward to Old Pike
Head onward 400 m along the flat path through the heather to the cairn of Old Pike. This is slightly higher in elevation than Beamsley Beacon and marks the furthest point on this hike.
The Way Back Down
Return the way you came. To make a slight variation on the way back, halfway down you can take the obvious path off to the left, before rejoining the main path a few hundred metres later.
After continuing a little further you’ll see your car in the distance, and will soon be back.
Guidebooks to explore more of Yorkshire
The Rough Guide to Yorkshire* is a great little guidebook and has a section on Ilkley and things to do nearby. The Yorkshire Dales Pathfinder Guide* has a good collection of short hikes suitable for the entire family and the Guide to North Yorkshire Pub Walks* has some fun walks in the Dales for those who are hungry and thirsty.