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Shipley Glen's Tramway and Baildon Moor

A glimpse of moorland and a traditional rural playground for the mill workers of Shipley and Saltaire.

Distance 4 miles (6.4km)

Minimum time 2hrs

Ascent/gradient 492ft (150m)

Level of difficulty Easy

Paths Moor and field paths, 1 stile

Landscape Moorland, fields and gritstone rocks

Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 288 Bradford & Huddersfield

Start/finish SE 132389

Dog friendliness Can be off leads except in Saltaire

Parking On Glen Road, between Bracken Hall Countryside Centre and Old Glen House pub

Public toilets At Bracken Hall Countryside Centre; also near Old Glen House pub and in Saltaire


© AA Media Limited 2015. © Crown Copyright Licence number 100021153

1 Walk down Glen Road, passing the Old Glen House pub. Continue as the road becomes Prod Lane, signed as a cul-de-sac. Pass the tiny funfair and the entrance to the Shipley Glen Tramway. Where the road ends, keep straight ahead to locate an enclosed path to the right of a house. Follow this path, with houses on your left, and woodland to your right. As you come to a metal barrier, ignore a path to the left. Keep straight on downhill. 100yds (91m) beyond the barrier, you have a choice of paths; bear left here, uphill, soon getting good views over Saltaire, Shipley and the Aire Valley.

2 Beyond the woodland, you walk beneath a quarried sandstone cliff. When you come to an open area, with panoramic views, take a set of stone steps, with metal handrails, up to the top of the cliff. Bear right on a path between chain-link fences, which takes you around school playing fields, to meet a road. Walk left along the road for 150yds (138m). When you are level with the school on your left, cross the road and take a narrow, enclosed path on the right, between houses. Walk gradually uphill, crossing a road in a housing estate and picking up the enclosed path again. Soon, at a stile, you emerge into pasture.

3 Go half left, uphill, to a kissing gate at the top-left corner of the field. Before you reach the farm you see ahead, join the access track, walking past the buildings on a cinder track till a metal gate bars your way. Go right here, through a wooden gate, on a path between walls. Beyond the next gate you come out on to Baildon Moor. Your path is clear, following a wall to your left. Keep straight on, as the wall curves to the left, towards the next farm (and caravan park). Cross a metalled farm track and curve left to follow the boundary wall of Dobrudden Farm.

4 Walk gradually downhill towards Bingley in the valley. When the wall bears left, keep straight ahead, through bracken, more steeply downhill. Cross a metalled track and carry on down to meet Glen Road again.

5 Follow the path along the rocky edge of wooded Shipley Glen leading you back to the Bracken Hall Countryside Centre and your car.

For the people of Shipley and Saltaire, Baildon Moor has traditionally represented a taste of the countryside on their doorsteps. Mill-hands could leave the mills and cramped terraced streets behind, and breathe clean Pennine air. They could listen to the song of the skylark and the bubbling cry of the curlew. There were heather moors to tramp across, gritstone rocks to scramble up and, at Shipley Glen, springy sheep-grazed turf on which to spread out a picnic blanket. There was also once a funfair to visit - not a small affair either but a veritable theme park.

Towards the end of the 19th century Shipley Glen was owned by a Colonel Maude, who created a number of attractions. Visitors could enjoy the sundry delights of the Switchback Railway, Marsden's Menagerie, the Horse Tramway and the Aerial Runway. More sedate pleasures could be found at the Camera Obscura, the boating lake in the Japanese garden, and the Temperance Tea Room and Coffee House.

Sam Wilson, a local entrepreneur, played his own part in developing Shipley Glen. In 1895 he created the Shipley Glen Tramway. Saltaire people could now stroll through Roberts Park, past the steely-gazed statue of Sir Titus Salt, and enjoy the tram-ride to the top of the glen. Thousands of people would clamber, each weekend, on to the little cable-hauled 'toastrack' cars. As one car went up the hill, another would descend on an adjacent track.

In commercial terms, the heyday of Shipley Glen was during the Edwardian era. On busy days, as many as 17,000 people would take the tramway up to the pleasure gardens. Losing out to more sophisticated entertainments, however, Shipley Glen went into a slow decline. Sadly, all the attractions are now gone, but you can still take the ride on the tramway - which runs on Sunday afternoons throughout the year (weather permitting). There is an attractive souvenir shop at the top, while the bottom station houses a small museum and replica Edwardian shop.

The Old Glen House is still a popular pub, though the former Temperance Tea Room and Coffee House have been transformed into the Bracken Hall Countryside Centre. Local people still enjoy the freedom of the heather moorland. Despite all the changes, Shipley Glen retains a stubbornly oldfashioned air, and is all the better for it.

What to look for

Call in at the Bracken Hall Countryside Centre on Glen Road, which has a number of interesting displays about the history of Shipley Glen, its flora and its fauna. There are also temporary exhibitions on particular themes, interactive features and a programme of children's activities throughout the year. The gift shop sells maps, guides, natural history books and ice creams.

Where to eat and drink

The Boat House Inn, next to the River Aire, was Sir Titus Salt's private boathouse - built in 1871. Since he wouldn't allow any public houses in Saltaire, he may be turning in his grave to see his boathouse transformed into a rather handsome pub today. You can enjoy your meal or drink on a little terrace overlooking the river.

While you're there

Make sure to visit Salts Mill, a giant of a building on a truly epic scale. At the height of production 3,000 people worked here. There were 1,200 looms clattering away, weaving as much as 30,000 yards of cloth every working day. The mill is a little quieter these days - with a permanent exhibition of artworks by David Hockney, another of Bradford's most famous sons.


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