Another Menston route
Running around home is pretty special at this time of year, nature is exploding back to life after an amplified long, dark winter. A route to complement the time of year needs to take in the classic spring changes and capture the burgeoning foliage. We’re talking daffodils, lambs and hedgerow buds. This run is just under 5 miles with varied terrain, it could also be ideal as a family walk.
Another pub start
Let’s not overcomplicate things, it’s nice for a good run to start and/or end at a pub. Similar to the last route I posted we’re starting at the great Menston Arms / Malt Shovel junction and heading towards Bleach Mill again. The lambs are starting to bound in the fields bringing an extra spring to my running form. Heading down past Mill House and through the new stile you’ll reach the crossroads. Drop right here through the mossy wall and under the large trees in the field with Carr Beck running alongside. It’s an easy start with the path winding down through the fields and the soundtrack of the water gently rippling along. The fields are starting to dry out and the light is still low enough to burst through the trees at points throughout the day. It’s a sociable stretch so run it with a smile.
To the tracks
If you’re used to running around Menston it’s easy to cut back up Clarence Drive once you’re through the fields. Don’t; keep going under the railway line and left towards Burley. This field has an optional obstacle if you want to go all Tough Mudder. A fallen tree acts as a natural climbing frame for the kids and a more adventurous way to get over the beck. There are a couple of paths which both lead to a woody corner and the kissing gate to the old railway line. A few steep steps and you’re into seclusion. Heading right towards Menston Old Lane, the old line is a rich hedgerow mix with busy little birds and very little artificial sound. Depending on the time of year there can be the start of the wild garlic smells, more of this to come. It’s usually quiet and superb for a trail blast punctuated by the steep drop and then climb either side of Menston Old Lane (careful on the road crossing). It’s about half a mile to Bradford Road and the perfect amuse bouche before the main course. I’m now thinking about food whilst typing about running, snack time.
Nod to the heroes then back on the line
Once you cross Bradford Road head for the path at the side of God’s Acre Cemetery. I always have a silent nod in respect to the fallen Commonwealth heroes, it’s not a bad place to rest. You’re soon back on the old railway line and the path slowly widens with a woodland surround. I look forward to running along this route around now as we’re a matter of weeks away from a blanket of wild garlic and bluebells. Options fire off in various directions along this point either towards the golf course (fore) or the horses at Acrecliff farm. Stick to the line and the rich avenue of trees heads quite literally to the path dead ending into the A6038. If you don’t know about this, it’s just a mild warning that you need to take care and not launch yourself down the path at full pace.
A bit of hill running and the finale
The rest of the run doesn’t quite match the old railway line but it’s worth exploring further. Crossing Bradford Road again cut up behind the houses and head up towards West Chevin road. The path is signposted and the hill climb is manageable sticking to the theme of trees and undergrowth. Once you meet the road it’s time to veer back towards Menston unless you fancy finishing with the remarkable view from the Chevin Inn. It’s more field running with views across Menston and over the top of Otley, that’s the point of a climb right? To see where you’ve come from And where you might be heading to. You cut past Low Mill, over Otley Road, sneak through Elgar Gardens across Burley Road and up Carlrayne Lane. There’s a final push up the hill and Fairfax Road to finish at the start or even with a quiet sit in St. John’s amongst the daffs. Enjoy.