Saturday, 19 March 2016
Thackley and Esholt 6
Just outside Esholt village there is an attractive railway viaduct. It carries the train from Shipley to Ilkley; a pleasantly scenic route, although I can't remember being aware of the viaduct when you're actually on the train.
Esholt also has an educational farm park that schools and groups can visit to see the animals and learn about farms. Unless you've booked a group you can't just wander in, but there was a pony fast asleep in a field (so fast asleep I didn't like to wake him by clicking my camera!) and lots of hens and geese gaggling around.
Then a walk through the woods... It was quite hard to follow the track and I need to hone my map-reading skills.
Once out of the woods, so to speak, you enter the area of Esholt Sewerage Treatment Works. It's a huge enterprise, dealing with the waste from 750000 people in Bradford and North Leeds. The filter beds are spread over a large area that used to be the Esholt Hall estate. When Bradford's population exploded during the late 19th century as a result of the Industrial Revolution, waste poured into the little stream called Bradford Beck and led to a stinking and disease-ridden city. An embryonic sewage system was begun in 1862 but the Esholt site wasn't conceived until the 1920s. It has had several modernisations since and now produces biogas which is converted into electricity to run the plant and power about 7000 homes. Even walking around the edges of the site, it is quite well-screened, so you don't really get any idea of its size and complexity.
Some of the old Esholt Hall estate buildings have been attractively converted into a business park and educational centre.