Shipley Glen, Hirst Wood and the Aire Valley

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Here’s a walk that will keep all the family happy, even the dog! The route starts at the World Heritage Site of Saltaire Village. The Square Mile, as it is called, was built by Sir Titus Salt for his workers between 1850 and 1875. The houses are light and airy and Sir Titus stipulated that there were to be no pubs within the Square Mile - instead he built chapels and libraries for his workers. He probably wouldn’t be best pleased at the great pubs and cafes that have since become part of the local scene. Salts Mill, which was formerly the main place of work for the people of Saltaire, once faced demolition, but is now a cross between a posh shop and an art gallery and a 'must-do' for David Hockney fans.

From Saltaire the walk heads off through the attractive and well-kept Roberts Park to Shipley Glen; The Glen was a playground for the people of the Bradford area in the nineteenth century and still is. The well-known Shipley Glen Tramway is one of the last remaining features of those glory days, when The Glen was like a miniature theme park. You will still see families, picnickers, horseriders, stunt cyclists, rock climbers and dog-walkers all sharing the same space and the interesting visitors' centre at Bracken Hall (signed), near to the start of the glen is also worth a visit.

The route then leaves the crowds behind to head to the top of Shipley Glen before turning back towards the Aire Valley. Here the walk changes character as it joins the River Aire, heading upstream away from Saltaire. Before long the river is crossed by an aqueduct carrying the Leeds - Liverpool Canal, but instead of heading straight back to Saltaire, a diversion is taken through Hirst Wood. From there the canal is rejoined to return to the start point.

This is the kind of walk where you can stop, laze, look around or otherwise just make your own day to suit yourself. The circuit through the woods at the top of Shipley Glen can be a little muddy after prolonged rain, but things soon dry out. The walk is suitable for dogs throughout and for well-trained dogs who walk well off the lead, there are only a couple of short sections where leads will be necessary – Hirst Wood is a popular dog-walking venue locally, so Rover might make a few friends along the way!

England - North England - Yorkshire - Canal Walk

4/27/2014 - Janet Pickard

Did this walk yesterday. It was a lovely pleasant stroll with lots of beautiful scenery. The instructions were spot on!

1/6/2013 - Peter and Philippa Melhuish

Good, varied walk. Dog off his lead for all but a couple of short sections near the start.

6/4/2011 - Walkingworld Admin

Our thanks to Paul Shorrock for his update for this walk. June 2011. Adrian (Admin)

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