A NEW series of ‘Welcome Walks’ has been launched across the Keighley district.

The walks are organised by regeneration programme Keighley Big Local and led by community worker Muppet.

“They are open to everyone and always very popular,” said Shaun O’Hare, for Keighley Big Local.

“Muppet has a real passion for walking and a sense of pride in having the opportunity to introduce the many fantastic footpaths and bridleways in and around Keighley to residents old and new.

“It is a great opportunity to discover the hidden gems that can be found in the countryside surrounding our town.

“Accompanied children – and well-behaved dogs on leads –are very welcome to join in.

“Please bring waterproofs – even if it is not raining at the start of the walk – and it would be a good idea to include waterproof leggings, as some of the routes go through overgrown vegetation which may still be wet even if it hasn’t been raining. And it might be helpful to bring a walking pole if you have one ­– they’re useful for beating back any stray overgrown nettles!

“People are also asked to bring along details of someone who could be contacted in case of an emergency and please note that whilst all the walks have been risk assessed for potential hazards, all those taking part do so at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety.”

Next Wednesday (July 7), there is a walk from Morton Lane swing bridge to the Bar Lane bridge via Morton Beck, East Morton, Bury Lane and the canal towpath. Meet at Morton Lane swing bridge at 6pm.

The next walk – on July 14 – is a circular of about five miles from Keighley railway station following a route through Park Wood, Hainworth and Hainworth Wood and by the River Worth. Meet at the railway station at 6pm.

On July 21, there is a Silsden circular taking in the canal, golf course and Swartha Woods. The route is about four-and-a-quarter miles. Meet at the Silsden canal bridge at 5.45pm. People can catch the number 62 Ilkley bus which leaves Keighley bus station at 5.30pm, and get off at the bridge.

A five-mile Riddlesden circular via How Beck, West Morton and Sunny Dale takes place on July 28. Meet outside the Marquis of Granby pub, in Hospital Road, at 6pm.

Shaun said: “The first mile-and-a-half of the Riddlesden walk involves a steady climb up the valley side, but it’s worth the climb for the panoramic views.

“The route heads up Hospital Road to the site of the old fever hospital, then climbs up through a couple of meadows following How Beck to the edge of West Morton. This is then followed by another steady climb up to Moorside Farm, from where we follow the old Ilkley road before branching off and following a farm track to a wooded area on the edge of Rombalds Moor.”

For more about the walks and to book a place, visit eventbrite.co.uk/o/keighley-big-local-30795781970.