Access on Ilkley Moor

There is a right of access across all of Ilkley Moor on foot and on horseback. This means you can walk or ride anywhere on the moor but we would encourage you to stick to the extensive network of paths and tracks. Ilkley Moor is surrounded by other privately owned moors and these access rights do not necessarily apply to those areas. The map shows the boundary of Ilkley Moor in relation to the rest of Rombald's Moor.


If you take a dog onto the moor, please keep it under effective control at all times and on a lead when there is livestock around and during the ground-nesting bird breeding season (March to July). Dogs roaming off the lead in this period can disturb the birdlife and cause nests (and young) to be abandoned. The moor is recognised internationally for these birds (golden plover, curlew, short-eared owl, lapwing, twite etc) and your help in protecting them is appreciated.

Grouse Shooting

The Council currently allows neighbouring moor owners onto Ilkley Moor on up to 8 days per season to drive and shoot grouse, as part of an agreement between the two parties. Consequently, between 12 August and 10 December in any year (whilst this agreement is in place), visitors to the moor may occasionally encounter grouse shooting on the upper parts of the moor (above 300m). Shooting does not take place on the lower slopes and around popular areas like the Cow and Calf, Rocky Valley, White Wells etc. The shoots take place during the week and do not operate at weekends or on public holidays. It will be apparent that this is taking place and all the drives are marshalled. If you are in the vicinity of a drive or shoot, you will be notified by employees and asked to wait until they have gone through. If you do not wish to wait, the drive will be halted and you will be able to pass through until safely distant.


Wildfire is a major risk to moorland areas and can be devastating when the moor is dry. Please do not discard matches and cigarettes and do not light fires or barbecues. If you see fire or smoke on the moors outside of the period 1 October – 15 April (when heather can legally be burnt for management purposes) – please alert the Fire and Rescue Service by phoning 999.


Although not included in the legal right of access the Council, as landowner, allows cycling on the moor as long as there are no significant conflicts with other users or damage to routes. A protocol has been agreed and is available at the bottom of this page. Please avoid cycling across wet areas and boggy parts of the moor as these are important habitats and can be very easily damaged.

Ilkley Moor is the hatched area on the image below.

For further information about Ilkley Moor, please have a look at the Friends of Ilkley Moor website.

Ilkley Moor Mountain Bike Protocol

  1. Bradford Council Countryside and Rights of Way Service and the mountain bike users who use Ilkley Moor share the following interests with regard to Ilkley Moor: 
    1. Minimise conflict between users. 
    2. Protect habitats and species – in particular ground nesting birds and wet heath vegetation communities. 
    3. Minimise trail erosion. 
    4. Protect the safety of all users. 
    5. Maintain ongoing communication between statutory and regulatory agencies and user groups. 
    6. Monitor the moorland environment and intervene when conflict or damage becomes unsustainable. 
    7. Recognise mountain biking as one of a range of activities (all of which have some impact on the moorland environment) currently conducted on the moor.
  2. The Ilkley Moor Management Plan - which was written by Bradford Council and approved by Natural England – states:
    As a registered urban common, Ilkley Moor falls under the Law of Property Act 1925, which states that vehicles are not permitted – bicycles are classed as vehicles. It is therefore, forbidden to ride mountain bikes or any other bicycle on the moor other than across Keighley Road. The Act does, however, state that this is prohibited “without lawful authority” from the landowner. The use of Ilkley Moor by mountain bikes is being monitored and consideration will be given to allowing it where routes can sustain such use and where conflict with other users is minimised. Where there is evidence that bicycles are causing unreasonable damage, they will be prohibited. 
  3. Bradford Council, as the landowner of Ilkley Moor, grants lawful authority for mountain bike users to ride on the trails on Ilkley Moor, except for those trails that are identified by Bradford Council as unsuitable for passage by any user. Such trails will be clearly marked. 
  4. When riding on Ilkley Moor, mountain bike users agree to abide by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) UK Rules of the Trail
  5. Mountain bike users agree to give way to other moorland users to avoid conflict. See point 4 of IMBA UK Rules of the Trail
  6. Some locations are considered particularly vulnerable and mountain bike users agree to avoid them or ride in such a way as to minimise damage (eg. avoid riding on significantly wet areas or trails, avoid deviating from the trail, stick to surfaced routes where provided) 
  7. Mountain bike users use the Moor at their own risk and no liability for injury to themselves or third parties will fall to the Council. 
  8. Creating obstacles or new trails on Ilkley Moor is prohibited. 
  9. Mountain bike users agree to actively promote this agreement. 
  10. Bradford Council, Natural England and mountain bike users will continue ongoing communication.

In granting lawful authority, Bradford Council expects that mountain bike users will comply with this protocol.

Some routes on the moor are being regularly used for time-trail/downhill racing – times being recorded via web applications such as Strava. This directly conflicts with the Protocol and encourages dangerous behaviour and damage. It is not allowed anywhere on Ilkley Moor

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Council Switchboard : 01274 432111

Council Address : Britannia House, Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1HX

© 2018 City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council