I HAVE CLOSED DOWN THIS BLOG. Please click the photo above to be REDIRECTED TO MY NEW (continuation) BLOG.

Monday 17 August 2020

Attention please! NEW BLOG

This blog is now over eleven years old and contains nearly 4000 posts and even more photos. I have been having some difficulty lately with my photo albums and with backing up the blog. I have therefore decided - with some trepidation - that I need to start afresh with a new blog.

The new blog is HERE: https://saltairedaily.blogspot.com/

and can also be accessed by clicking the photo under the header at the top of this blog.

It looks much like the old one!

I'd be most grateful if you could adjust your 'Follower' link, so that we can continue to be friends through our blogs. I guess I will lose some friends, though I hope not too many. Much of the fun of blogging is sharing our different worlds and lives. I am deeply enriched by reading other people's posts and seeing some fantastic photos and I will still link in my sidebar to many of the blogs I follow and enjoy. 

Do email me or leave a comment if you find any difficulty with all this.

Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Marley - and back to Bingley

The next bit of the walk, alongside the railway line, was really tricky as the path ran between two fences and was almost completely overgrown. I got stung by nettles, scratched by brambles and stumbled in holes, so I was glad to reach the safety of a proper track again. It climbed up towards Marley, which is a tiny hamlet with some early 17th century properties - Marley Hall and some farm buildings. The hall itself was set back in gardens and I couldn't get a decent photo. (You get a better view from the train!) The building in the photo below is, I think, originally a farmhouse. They have a lovely wide view across the Aire valley and up towards Keighley.

I struggled to find the path out and back to Bingley, until I spotted this tiny stone bridge and a stile hiding behind a tree! The map wasn't much help as the detail was not clear. Then I saw the yellow waymarker, so that was a relief.

The return leg took me through woodland, mixed in parts with some coniferous larch too. I've decided I don't like walking through larch woods - too stark and forbidding! The narrow path was a little precarious in parts as well, along the edge of a steep slope, so I didn't enjoy the walk back as much as the outward journey - and it was drizzling by then!

Still some interesting things to spot: I love the old stone stiles.

The phantom den builders had been at work here too. These structures seem to be in all our woodlands these days.

Once through the wood, the path joined an ancient route called Altar Lane down into Bingley and back to Ireland Bridge. Some nice views from here - though even better if I'd have climbed further up the lane instead of down, as it takes you to a rocky outcrop known as Druid's Altar. I'd had enough walking for one day, though it is always satisfying to follow a new route successfully by myself.

Monday 10 August 2020

Deer and Riverside

When the man (see yesterday) let the horses off the lead in the field, one of them continued to follow me, so I was a little relieved to be able to put a gate between me and him, if only because he was so big! I think he was just being friendly. He neighed a farewell to me!

A little further down the lane, I think as far as vehicles can go, is this old cottage, called Cophurst (I think). It is really quite remote, a good mile or more out of Bingley along the narrow track. It looks to have been renovated rather beautifully.

Over a stile and into a field and there were interesting things to discover - some lovely foxgloves beside an old drystone wall, and then a curious tank or trough that had a tiny stream running into it. I suppose it was intended to provide water for animals.

The walk I was following was called 'Deer and Riverside'. I'd seen plenty of riverside by this point, so I was delighted to see some deer too (fallow deer, I think, as they had dappled coats). Of course, they spotted me even quicker than I saw them and soon bounded off into the woodland. This part of the walk ran right down to the railway line. I'd often seen the area from the train so it was nice to explore it on foot. 

Sunday 9 August 2020


Ravenroyd farm is now run as an equestrian centre, and it looked busy and professional as I passed through. The public footpath goes round the side of the house and past some other buildings at the rear.

There was a gentleman leading some horses out to pasture, so they followed me right along the track. The gentle clip-clop of a horse's hooves is such an evocative sound, quite soothing. I noticed some of the horses wore net hoods, to protect against flies I think.

Saturday 8 August 2020

Bingley to Ravenroyd

Leaving Bingley behind, I followed the track alongside the river. It is quite peaceful, although the track is the main access to a riding school and stables at Ravenroyd so it is used by vehicles. I'd not walked this way before and I was quite charmed by how attractive this stretch of the river is.

The farm at Ravenroyd draws your eye from afar. It is a listed building built in the early 1600s, with later additions. It has wonderful mullioned windows and an unusual stone gutter with projecting rainwater spouts. It nestles rather sweetly in the valley, and I was reminded that this area is known as 'Throstle's Nest' - throstle being an old word for a thrush. I've not found out a great deal about the house, except that at one time it was associated with the Quakers.

Friday 7 August 2020

River views

Once across Ireland Bridge, my route took me alongside the river, with nice views of the backs of the properties on Bingley Old Main Street. The weir was originally built to power a mill that has now been demolished.

As I said yesterday, the surrounding properties do sometimes flood and I noticed a 'river level recorder', which I assume gives advance warning of potential problems.

You don't have to walk far from the main roads to begin to feel like you're in a different world. The river was very calm and there were some super reflections.

The path follows a track that leads past the newish apartments. A little further along there are three large detached properties, so newly built that only one is lived in so far. Across the river, a small estate of older houses leads to Bingley Cemetery, so the buildings give way to trees and greenery. After that, it all becomes suddenly quite rural....

Thursday 6 August 2020

Ireland Bridge

I took a walk recently that started from Ireland Bridge in Bingley, and it struck me that I'd never really photographed this area before, so here it is. The bridge itself is a Grade II* listed structure and a significant crossing point over the River Aire. It takes the road from Bingley through the villages of Harden, Wilsden and Cullingworth and eventually to Haworth and over the moors to Hebden Bridge, so I often drive over it on my way to see the family. There has been a bridge here since medieval times and the current structure was built in 1686. It was widened and altered in 1775 and was again strengthened in 2010 to take modern traffic. It is, as you can see, relatively narrow and forms something of a bottle neck at peak times.

The bridge has a pub at either end (both really nice pubs). At the Bingley end is the Old White Horse, an ancient coaching inn in the oldest part of Bingley, opposite the parish church. (See HERE).  At the other end is the Brown Cow Inn (see below). It is said that the bridge was at one time called Bingley Bridge and the name got changed because Irish textile workers in the local mills crossed it to drink in the Brown Cow, which became known as 'the Irish pub'. I don't know if that's true.

There is an interesting mixture of old and new housing, with quite a few modern apartments having been built in recent years, where there used to be mills. Unfortunately proximity to the river does mean the properties sometimes flood. The Brown Cow, sitting quite low down, has been badly hit several times.

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Vicky Hall

I haven't shown a photo of this place very recently. It is of course the Victoria Hall (affectionately known locally as Vicky Hall) in the centre of Saltaire. Formerly known as the Saltaire Club and Institute, it was opened in 1871. Like so much of Saltaire, it was designed by architects Lockwood and Mawson. Sited opposite the Factory Schools (see HERE) these public buildings and their landscaped gardens make an imposing centrepiece for the village. Sir Titus Salt, the mill owner and village founder, was keen for children to be educated and also wanted to provide a place for recreation, culture and learning for adults. It held a reading room, library, laboratory, chess and draughts room, smoking room, billiard room, a lecture hall seating 800, classrooms, a gym and a rifle drill-room. It is still a focal point for activities, exhibitions, classes and celebrations.

Of course, it is currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. I've no idea when it will reopen. It all feels a bit desolate but at least the floodlights still come on at night, showing what a significant building it is.

Monday 3 August 2020

Cricket is back!

Cricket is back, after a long period when we've had no sport because of the coronavirus lockdown. It has felt strange without it, especially in Roberts Park, where there is almost always a match going on at weekends.

It is part of the easing of restrictions that's been happening over the last few weeks - shops opening, then pubs and cafés, and now local sport.

Time will tell if this gradual return to normality will cause a dreaded 'second wave' of infection. I understand that the numbers of new cases of the virus have stopped dropping in the UK and even seem to be rising in some areas. The stats are complicated and I've effectively given up trying to understand. It has seemed for a while to be better to use my own common sense and naturally risk-averse personality as a guide rather than spend too much time trying to figure it all out. Avoid crowds, be careful indoors where there are other people, use a face mask in shops, wash hands often, generally look after myself in healthy ways seems the best strategy. Things do seem to be being ramped up again though. In fact, since Friday, they have imposed further restrictions in north-west England (including the Bradford district, though we don't like being lumped into 'the north-west! There are historic rivalries between us and Lancashire!) They mostly affect what people can do in their own homes, restricting families from different households and friends from meeting indoors and in gardens. All rather annoying and it seems quite illogical in many ways. But we're told it is necessary.

It's not only cricket that has started again but bowls too...
... and tennis. These young men were really smashing the ball about - very energetic and not a little dramatic when a shot didn't go right!

Sunday 2 August 2020

Showers at Shibden

I met my daughter and granddaughters (and their dog!) at Shibden Park recently, for a couple of hours. We had a great time, exploring the park and the playground. There was opportunity for that ageless tradition of 'feeding the ducks' - and yes, we used proper bird food, not bread. It was a windy day and there were some very sharp showers but we managed to dodge the worst of them.

Then we had a ride on the little train, which happily has started running again with suitable modifications to promote hygiene during this time of coronavirus. They were spreading families out in separate carriages and staff were disinfecting the seats between trips. It is quite hard, I find, to remember to keep sanitising hands and so on. The little ones are better drilled in it than I am - but then, I rarely touch things when I'm out, whereas they were using the play equipment and so on.

My youngest granddaughter, in particular, has always been super-excited by this little train, ever since she was tiny - but for all of us, it was refreshing to do something 'normal' and joyful for a change.

We tried a 'selfie'... It wasn't especially successful as I had the phone on the wrong setting - doh! But then, these days, I am better a little blurred!

Saturday 1 August 2020

The bonnie, blooming heather

Like bluebells, the heather peaks at different times in different places. I took a walk on Shipley Glen and found it in bloom, perhaps not quite at its peak but near enough. (I'm hoping the heather on Haworth Moor is a bit slower to bloom. I'm supposed to be leading a photo walk there in mid-August and I was hoping for some colour then!) I do love the soft tones, though purple isn't a colour I'd ever wear, or decorate my house with. It's very pretty on the moors though. 

I really love the harmony of purples, greys and greens that you get with heather, the gritstone rocks, soft mauve grasses and, in this case, some purple flowered rosebay willowherb in the background.

Friday 31 July 2020

Community seven

Seven colourful squares taken in the community garden in the Caroline Street car park, looked after by Veg on the Edge. Herbs: thyme, sage, mint and chives; bright yellow marigolds, perhaps (keep bugs away?), strawberry plants and something cabbagey that might be sea kale. (It has white flowers and I think the orange flowers also visible belong to something else.) Mint is tenacious, isn't it? There is plenty in the beds but also some forcing its way through the wall!

Thursday 30 July 2020

History lines

I don't know that I've ever consciously noticed before that there are still tram rails embedded outside what used to be the tramsheds at the top of Saltaire Road. Built in 1904, the six bays used to house the trams that ran from Saltaire to Bradford, guided on rails and powered by a pantograph that linked to an overhead cable. Later they housed Bradford Corporation trolley buses, which ran solely along overhead cables with no tracks. Bradford had some trolley buses right up until 1972 (though the Saltaire link ceased before that, I think.)

Since then the building has been repurposed a number of times and for many years now has been a bar and restaurant, at first called The Old Tramshed, then The Hop. Now it is the Salt Beer Factory, opened in 2018 with a micro-brewery and tap room to the rear and the bar/kitchen (restaurant) and beer garden at the front. It has recently reopened again after being closed because of lock down. Testing times for such small outfits but they have been doing local deliveries and selling canned beer to retailers in the interim and, with a loyal following, I guess they'll manage to keep going.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Action on the river

There was a fabulous sky when I was walking by the river.  It was good to see the rowers back in action too, though I was amused to see that this guy (apparently a novice) managed to fall in seconds after I took the shot! He was in the process of turning to return to the bank and I guess there is quite a current right there just in front of the weir. He obviously didn't take it into account! The river at that point doesn't seem too deep so he managed to swim or wade to the bank pulling the boat. Meanwhile various people rushed from the boathouse with ropes in case he needed help. I tried not to laugh.