Grouse shoot to resume on Ilkley Moor
A controversial decision by Bradford Council to allow grouse
shooting to resume on Ilkley Moor was approved by the Council
Executive last week. Shooting
is expected to resume within 2 years, after grouse numbers have
recovered from a devastating moor fire in 2006.
Grouse shooting was stopped on the publicly owned moor by the
then Labour-run council in 1997. The current Tory administration
signed a new 10-year lease for the shooting rights in June this
year, but a challenge from Animal Welfare Groups and opposition
councillors forced a review.
The lease has been granted to the Bingley Moor Partnership,
which owns adjoining Bingley and Burley Moors where they have run
grouse shoots since 1947. The Partnership will install a
gamekeeper and pay £10,000 to the council each year when shooting
resumes. They charge shooters over £1000 per day during the
shooting season, which runs from August 12 to late October.
Management of the moor, the whole of which is designated a Site
of Special Scientific Interest, will involve the trapping and
killing of some natural predators, which include fox, brown rat,
stoat, mink, weasel, crow, magpie, owl and raptor.
Tory councillor Anne Hawkesworth said "The land management
that goes with grouse-shooting, such as heather burning and
bracken control, drainage management and sheep farming, is one of
the practices which ensures the moorland is maintained to the best
Green councillor Kevin Warnes said "The people who are
paying the money for the grouse shooting will, at the end of the
day, justify it as moorland management but they are doing it
because they enjoy the sport of shooting birds."
Concern has also been expressed on the effect shooting will
have on walkers. The route of A Dales High Way, which crosses both
Bingley and Ilkley moors, sticks to designated Rights of Way and
so there are no restrictions here. However, walkers wishing to go
off-route to enjoy their Right to Roam may well face restrictions.
Significant amounts of public money have recently been obtained
to improve, amongst other things, public access to the moor. How
the council will manage these conflicting interests remains to be
Read the Councils
Ilkley Moor Management Plan. Read the views of The
League Against Cruel Sports and the Moorland
22 December 2008
Time Team excavate Dent shanty town
Channel 4's new Time Team series, to be shown in the new year,
will feature the excavation of one of the "shanty towns"
that sprung up to house
the navvies and their families who constructed the Settle-Carlisle
railway line. The construction of the line, across some of the
most bleak and inhospitable terrain in the country, was the last
of the great Victorian construction projects. The work started in
1869 and over 6000 men worked on the project at it's peak, living
a series of shanty towns with names such as Inkerman, Sebastopol
The Time Team crew worked for 3 days in June at the site atop
Rise Hill, where a tunnel runs between Dent and Garsdale stations.
Two air shafts were constructed and the material excavated from
the tunnel stills sits in spoil heaps by the shafts. Access to the
site is difficult, with the team using forest tracks closed to the
Members of the Sedbergh & District History Society met
researchers from Channel 4 before the dig and visited the site
during the second day of the dig.
Local historian Richard Cann said: "Before lunch we
wandered around the site watching the digs in progress one of
which involved Phil Harding. We also encountered other leading
characters including Tony Robinson who fronts the programme. We
then joined in the excellent communal lunch and if an army marches
on its stomach then Time Team certainly digs on its.
"After lunch we met the historians in the team and
discussed the sources which give information about the site and
the people who had lived there during the railway's construction.
Later we were filmed talking to Dr Helen Geake about these
The excavation is said to have been successful, though the
weather was bad.
Update: The programme is due to be transmitted On Sunday,
February 1st 2009.
See The Time Team's Official
websites, or read the History
of the Settle-Carlisle line.
10 December 2008
Skipton High Street "Best in Britain"
Skipton's famous High Street has been voted "Great Street
of the Year" for
2009 by the Academy of Urbanism. The result was announced last
week at a glitzy ceremony at Liverpool's St Georges Hall. Skipton
beat 2 other finalists - London's Kensington High Street and
Skipton High Street, which lies on the route of A Dales High
Way, is at it's liveliest on market days - Monday, Wednesday,
Friday and Saturday - when dozens of market stalls huddle along
the roadside cobbles. As well as shops, pubs and cafes, the High
Street hosts the Craven Museum at the Town Hall, the nearby canal
basin and one of the best preserved medieval castles in England at
the top of the street beyond Holy Trinity Church.
Last years winner was Buchanan Street in Glasgow. The Academy
presents other awards including European City of the Year, Great
Town, Great Neighbourhood and Great Place.
John Thompson, chairman of the Academy said: "It is the
character of the people and place that makes Skipton High Street
stand out; when you go there it is such a welcoming place.
"Slowly, a lot of towns are becoming clone towns, but
Skipton retains a very strong identity and character. It has a
wonderful canal next to the high street, and it's such a beautiful
and the Academy
2 December 2008
More money to study Moor archaeology
The study of prehistoric rock art on Rombalds Moor received a
last week when The Heritage Lottery fund earmarked almost £2
million for the South Pennines Watershed Landscape Scheme. The
project is made up of six elements including getting people
involved in the area's history and geology and enhancing key
habitats for wildlife.
Gavin Edwards of Ilkley's Manor House Museum said part of the
money would be used to conduct a benchmark survey of the
prehistoric stone sites, to create more secure footpaths to
protect the sites and to employ a new community archaeologist. The
scheme is being run by the Pennine Prospects Group, of which
Bradford Council is a member.
The route of A Dales High Way passes several of the prehistoric
sites, including the Twelve Apostles stone circle, the Swastika
Stone and the Piper Crag Stone.
The new money comes on top of the £45,000 grant to the Bingley
Historical Society who are conducting a community based research
project on the moor at Stanbury Hill. Already dozens of volunteers
have received training at Bradford University's Archaeology
department and are presently conducting topographic and
geophysical surveys in advance of any potential excavations next
year. They are investigating cup-and-ring marked rock carvings
associated with possible Bronze Age burial cairns.
Photo: by Mike Short, shows volunteers conducting Geophysical
survey on Stanbury Hill.
See the Bingley
Historical Society website and the Pennine
Prospects website. See also previous story "Public
to help solve riddle of the stones"
18 November 2008
Farmland bird numbers at all time low
The numbers of farmland birds have reached an all-time low, new
2005 and 2007 numbers of popular farmland birds like Turtle Dove,
Grey Partridge and Linnet fell to their lowest level on record.
The results are the latest from a survey by the Department for
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The decline is likely to continue following the removal of the
"set-aside" requirement of farmers by the EU, which saw
areas of farmland left uncultivated. This requirement was dropped
in September last year to boost food production, although the
financial subsidy remains. Farmland bird numbers are directly
related to the availability of winter and summer food and nesting
Last week Government minister Hilary Benn responded by
announcing that from 2009 farmers receiving EU subsidies will be
required to dedicate a small fraction of their land to wildlife
friendly habitats, thus reproducing some of the environmental
benefits of set-aside.
The Wild Bird Populations 2007 Report showed:
Breeding farmland bird numbers are 52 per cent lower than
Woodland bird numbers are currently stable after declines in the
1980s and early 1990s.
Water and wetland breeding bird numbers are 6 per cent lower
than the 1975 level.
Seabird numbers are 31 per cent higher than in 1970, but have
shown a slight decline in recent years.
Between 1970 and 2007 wild bird numbers as a whole have remained
Mystery still surrounds the disappearance of the largest inland
bird colony in Britain 10 years ago. 12,000 breeding pairs of
Black-headed Gulls used to gather each year at Sunbiggin Tarn,
near Newbiggin-on-Lune, on the route of A Dales High Way. Then
suddenly the colony disappeared. Why they stopped coming is
unknown. Sunbiggin Tarn remains, however, one of the most
important spots for resident and migrating birds in the country.
See the report from Birdlife
5 November, 2008
Dalesman features new High Way
A Dales High Way is featured in the November issue of
The Dalesman magazine. The article has already generated
interest from home and abroad in the new long distance walk. In
the magazine editor Paul Jackson explores how the walk came about
with authors Chris and Tony Grogan.
"It's a real thrill for us to be featured in the Dalesman"
said Chris, "I've already had calls from friends and family
around the country. It's amazing just how widely read this
essential Yorkshire magazine is."
Dalesman Publishing is especially important to walkers, as it
has published guides to most of the major routes in the region,
including the first account of The Dales Way by Colin Speakman in
The Dalesman has a current circulation of over 37,000 and is
sent out around the globe. It was founded in 1937 in Clapham by
Harry J Scott and quickly rose to become the largest regional
magazine in the country, with a peak circulation of 70,000.
Yet it's current editor, Paul Jackson, who took over the job in
January this year, is only the 5th editor in the magazines 70 year
history. Previous incumbents have included Bill Mitchell and David
Joy. Former editor Terry Fletcher, who finally left after 15 years
in post, said
"When I was appointed the late Richard Whiteley told me I
had just got the best job in journalism and he was right."
See The Dalesman website
or read the feature here.
1 November 2008
Top accolade for Angel of the North
The Angel Inn, Hetton, is amongst the best restaurants in the
country, and top eating out experience in Yorkshire, according to
the 2009 Hardens UK
Yorkshire has more good quality restaurants than anywhere else
in the country, with 113 entries. North Yorkshire came top with 44
good restaurants, the top 4 being the Yorke Arms,
Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale; Magpie Cafe, Whitby; Star Inn, Harome, and
the Angel Inn, Hetton.
The guide was compiled using 85,000 reports from more than
8,000 regular diners.
Richard Harden, co-editor of the Harden's UK Restaurant Guide,
said: "The UK restaurant scene is more diverse and varied
than people might think with pockets of excellence all over the
"There is most definitely no simple North/South disparity
when it comes to dining out.
"It will certainly come as a surprise to the capital's
chefs to hear that reporters in our national survey find the very
best restaurant food of all in the North West."
In the capital, Gordon Ramsay lost his top position to former
apprentice Marcus Wareing.
However, Dales High Way walkers planning an overnight stop at
the Angel will need deep pockets - the cost of B&B for two
people starts at £130!
Visit The Angel Inn
website or Hardens
Restaurant Guide website.
20 October 2008
story continues for Ilkley Literature Festival
This years Ilkley Literature Festival is proving to be another
despite the credit crunch. Indeed, the festival is in danger of
becoming too popular, with many of the main events sold out long
before the festival opened, including Cherie Blair, Sheila
Hancock, Louis de Bernieres and Kate Adie.
"I think because of all the doom and gloom of the economy
and because it's October and the dark, rainy nights are drawing
in, people need something to cheer them up. Tickets are always
reasonably priced anyway so, despite what's happening in the
financial world, we are doing well" said Festival Director
However, tickets were still available, at the time of writing,
for over 80 events, including leading neuroscientist Susan
Greenfield on Wednesday, and kids horror author Darren Shan on
Cherie Blair opened the Festival last Friday with an interview
conducted by Francine Stock. It runs until October 19th.
The Festival was launched 35 years ago by Ilkley resident
Michael Dawson, who was then the first director of the newly
formed Yorkshire Arts Association. It featured W H Auden in his
last public performance. Germaine Greer, however, refused to
attend. Writer and broadcaster J. B. Priestley wrote to support
the first festival and said:
"Ilkley is the right size for a Festival town...large
enough to provide various amenities and small enough to stroll
around and run into everybody."
Despite attracting some big names early on, such as Conor
Cruise O'Brien, John Brain, Auberon Waugh, Marguerite Duras and
Melvyn Bragg, the Festival had it's ups and downs, coming close to
closing in 1984. However, it survived the turbulent times and is
now regarded as one of the top 3 Literary Festivals in the
See the Ilkley
10 October 2008
Girls hit the stage
The 2003 award-winning movie Calendar Girls has been
brought to the stage by it's writer Tim Firth. The new
production opened this week at the Chichester Festival Theatre,
and opens at the Bradford's Alhambra Theatre on Monday, 6th
October for a week.
Calendar Girls tells the amazing story of a group of women from
the Dales villages of Hetton, Rylstone and Cracoe, who set out to
raise money for Leukaemia Research by producing an Alternative
Womens Institute Calendar.
"At first glance it should look like your classic WI
calendar. Jams, cakes, sewing and all that. Except for one tiny
So far the Rylstone & District Womens Institute has raised
over £2 million.
The show stars Patricia Hodge, Gaynor Faye, Lynda Bellingham,
Sian Phillips, Elaine Smith and Julia Hills. The show tours the
country until the end of the year.
See the Tour
schedule, or take a look at the original Rylstone
3 October 2008
Fell Race runs again
Over 170 runners turned out on a glorious autumn day for the resurrection
of the famous "Whernside". It's 7 years since the race
was last run - it fell to
a combination of clashes with other races and the inevitable drop
in numbers. But runners have always spoken affectionately of the
race, and the excellent turnout proved that it has been missed.
Competitors spoke highly of the impressive organisation, which
bodes well for future outings. The gruelling 12 mile run, which
starts and finishes at Church Bridge in Dent, climbs Whernside -
the highest of the Yorkshire peaks. It then drops to Kingsdale
before another climb to the top of Great Coum, which at 687 metres
almost matches Pen-y-ghent.
First in was Matthew Speak, with others close behind after only
an hour and a half.
The main fell race in Yorkshire is the Three Peaks Race. First
run in 1954, this year it was run as the World Long Distance
Mountain Running Challenge on April 26th. With over 900 entries,
including 100 international runners, and a distance a little over
23 miles, the winner Jethro Lennox came in at a little under 3
Check the The
27 September 2008
Town's "Absolutely Fabulous" Festival ends
Sedbergh's annual two week literary festival drew to a close on
Sunday with a one man show Sweet William performed by
Michael Pennington, founder
of the English Shakespeare Company, but probably best known for
his role as Death Star commander Moff Jerjerrod in the film Return
of the Jedi.
Shakespeare was the theme of this years Festival of Books and
Drama, the fourth since Sedbergh established itself as a Book Town
in 2003. It was recognised as England's official Book Town in
"The Shakespeare theme has been a great success and
Saturday's fringe event, which included twelve hours of writing
from a largely amateur crowd of performers, was absolutely
fabulous" said organiser Carole Nelson.
"We have had very good turn outs for the lectures, which
is good for a literary festival because lectures aren't for
everyone, and we have had a couple of hundred more children coming
to events this year."
Next year's theme will be Travel and Adventure, but the event
may be hosted at a different time of year.
Take a look at England's
22 September 2008
Rain fails to dampen Yorkshire spirits
The unusually heavy rain through August and early September has
led to flooding in parts of Yorkshire and the cancellation of some
events, such as the
annual Keighley Show. But most events have gone ahead successfully
despite the waterlogged ground. Dentdale Show proved a success
following earlier fears that it might be cancelled.
Climate change has been blamed by the Environment Agency for
the 5th wettest summer on record. The worst was last year. The
Agency's regional director for Yorkshire and the North-East, Toby
" It is absolutely clear that climate change is having an
effect on weather patterns. If you look back 10 or 12 years ago,
there were seasonal floods in the autumn, winter and early spring
months. But flooding can happen at any point during the year
It seems we may have to get used to it. However, the wet
weather has it's advantages, as one young couple who braved the
rain to walk A Dales High Way discovered - spectacular waterfalls.
Their photo shows a torrential Gordale Beck in full flow at
Gordale Scar on Saturday.
View their video of Gordale Scar.
9 September 2008
Public to help solve riddle of the stones
A new archaeological project to investigate the mysterious
cup-and-ring-marked stones of Rombalds Moor is seeking volunteers
from the public.
Moor is famous for it's large collection of prehistoric Rock Art.
Over 690 examples have been catalogued on Rombalds and surrounding
moors to date. They are believed to date from the late Neolithic
and early Bronze Age period - over 4500 years ago - but their
meaning remains a mystery.
The Bingley & District History Society and Bradford
University are forming the team with financial help from the
Heritage Lottery Fund. They plan to investigate sites at Stanbury
Hill on the edge of Bingley Moor.
Project director Dr. Keith Boughey said,
" Stanbury Hill is a relatively undisturbed prehistoric
moorland site. As such, it provides a unique opportunity for both
archaeologists and the local community to learn more about their
Bronze Age past, especially the rock art, as well as providing
volunteers with the experience and skills of an archaeological dig
at first hand, supervised by a Department of Archaeology with a
Those wishing to volunteer must attend a meeting at the Eldwick
Village Memorial Hall on Saturday 20th September from 10am to
noon, in order to register. Work is expected to start later this
year and continue throughout next year.
See the Bingley
History Society website. See also examples of Rock
Art on Rombalds Moor and visit West
Yorkshire Archaeology Services website.
1 September 2008
Royal drama shot in Saltaire
ITV cameras were out in Saltaire last week filming an episode
of the popular 1960's hospital drama The Royal. Locals
watched as old cars, complete
with "DEC 69" tax discs, were parked on Albert Terrace
and double yellow lines were painted over. Even the controversial
wheelie bins were replaced with metal dustbins, a vast improvement
according to one bystander.
Saltaire's narrow streets and Victorian terraces make the
village a great location for artists, photographers and filmakers.
Albert Terrace, with its cobbles and view of Salts Mill chimney is
often seen in pictures of Saltaire and local artist Stuart Hirst
is famous for his paintings of its wet pavements.
Another famous Saltaire local was Tony Richardson, director of Look
Back in Anger and A Taste of Honey whose father owned
the chemist shop at 12, Victoria Road.
The filmed episode of The Royal is due to be shown next year.
We can't reveal the plot line, except to say that it involves a
Rag 'n Bone man and his horse and cart.
Royal or take a look at Stuart
23 August 2008
African Drummers open Dentdale Show
Live music, fell racing, sheepdog trials, human bingo - there's
something for everyone at the third annual Dentdale Show. This
Bank Holiday event starts on Friday 22nd August with a band,
disco, bar and bbq in the evening and is followed by a packed two
days of events.
you're walking A Dales High Way this week it's well worth stopping
in this lively little village.
On Saturday morning African drummers "Honeydrum" lead the parade from the
village green to the showfield where you can see birds of prey,
vintage cars and more. For the really energetic the fell race to
the top of Rise Hill and back starts at 2pm.
On Sunday there's a tug of war, golf competition and a sheep
show and if visitors to Dentdale still haven't had enough, on Bank
Holiday Monday there's the annual Dent Gala.
See the Dentdale Show
16 August 2008
Official Walk Guide launch set for Saltaire Festival
The new guide book for "A Dales High Way" will be
officially launched at this year's Saltaire Festival. The hugely popular
village festival, which has grown quickly into one of the region's major
arts festivals, enjoys its 6th outing this year.
authors Chris and Tony Grogan will introduce the new long distance walk
with an illustrated talk and sign copies of the book. The launch event
will be held at the Half Moon Café in Roberts Park at 6.45 p.m. on
Monday, September 15th. Admission fees of £3.00 or £2.00 will be
refunded to those buying a book.
The Saltaire Festival began in 2003, organised by a small Festival
committee with the help of a band of volunteers and finance from a
number of local sponsors. It is a true community event and has grown
significantly in the last 6 years, with over 40,000 people attending the
Weekend Finale last year.
The 11 day Festival runs from September 11th to the 21st. The
Festival Ball on Friday 12th leads into the first weekend of music,
drama, dance, talks, walks and exhibitions.
The Weekend Finale includes a Gala and Funfair in Roberts Park, a
Continental Street Market, live performances at the Piazza Stage and the
annual Carnival Parade by local school kids. There will also be a
Festival Arts Trail, a local Produce Market and a Saturday Fete.
A full list of events can be found on the Saltaire
1 August 2008