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Saturday, 15 September 2018

A visit to the farm

I've driven past many times, but never really speculated what lay beyond these gates, the entrance to Milner Field Farm. To coincide with Saltaire Festival and as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme (which sees private properties of historic interest opened to the general public), Saltaire History Club was offering guided tours of the farm.

It was built by Titus Salt Junior (one of Sir Titus' sons) in 1871 as a model farm for his grand mansion at Milner Field. I've written about the now demolished house in the past. (See HERE) It has a fascinating story though little remains apart from a few old stones, a fragment of the conservatory's mosaic floor and the top and bottom gate lodges. The farm, in contrast, continues as a business, run as a dairy farm by tenant farmers, currently the fourth generation of the Downs family, who have lived there since 1902.

The gates and gatehouse to the farm (top photo) give a hint of the grandness of the original Milner Field mansion, which was a solid-looking place built in a heavy Victorian Gothic style. The farmhouse itself (above) is less grand, though its windows with their slightly rounded arches give a nod to Saltaire's architecture. 

It has a wonderful view, perched on the hillside looking down towards Cottingley. The lone tree in the photo below is the upper of my two 'favourite trees', the ones I often take photos of when I'm walking along the canal towpath at Dowley Gap. (See HERE). 

To the east of the farm and its outbuildings, there's a view down to Saltaire itself.

Behind and slightly above the farm is the site where the Milner Field mansion was. The site is now overgrown by trees but just underneath those trees is a wall and a ha-ha (hidden ditch) that marked the garden boundary.

For those who like maps, I've included one below. Saltaire village and its mill are in the bottom right
corner and I've marked Milner Field Farm and the site of the original Milner Field mansion with a purple overlay.  


  1. I went on this tour too and found it very enjoyable. The society had clearly put a lot of effort in with their displays. It has encouraged me to attend the next quarterly meeting. How lucky we are to have so much going on on our doorstep and such scenery as your photos show. I don't think your link to the Milner Field section of your blog is working. Maybe it has been taken down?

  2. What a treat to tour this farm! Enjoy the week-end and celebrate life!

  3. Thanks for the map...the area certainly has a bit of everything happening!

  4. Thanks for the map since now I can easily place everything, Jenny!

  5. Fascinating that the tenant family endures.