Shipley Glen and Milner Field

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BAILDON LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY WALK 29 June 2009

SHIPLEY GLEN AND MILNER FIELD

Shipley Glen is actually in Baildon and was given that name around 1840 when a minister from Bethel Chapel was promoting the area as an area for recreation amongst the millworkers of Shipley.

A series of amusements were set up-in 1888 the Ocean Wave, a kind of Big Dipper, was the first which was close to where the countryside centre is now.

Sam Wilson set this up and later had the idea of building a railway from Victoria Road to the top of Baildon Moor.

The tramway cost £998 to build!

It opened to the public on 18 May 1895 . Sir James Roberts (the head of Salts) is reputed to have asked Sam Wilson why he built it. His reply was seven reasons

For rich or poor

Old and young

Lame and lazy

and lastly for myself.

The fare was one penny up and one half penny down from 1895 to 1951, unchanged for over half a century.

We start the walk at the Glen House pub, which stands by an ancient drove road. In 1850 Charles Clegg converted the farm to a temperance Hotel. Later owners established a thriving refreshment trade, with the added attraction of a miniature railway which went around a pond. In 1947 Mrs Raistrick took over and reared peacocks there. She retired in 1983 and the building was converted into the current hostelry.

We now walk down by the side of the pub into the woods, which are mainly birch at the top and oak lower down. On our right we can see Trench Meadows, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a managed site, with a certain amount of grazing by cattle. Within the neutral grassland are found several herbs- devil’s bit scabious, tormentil, and betony. Other parts of the meadow have acid loving grasses whilst three flushes have yet more distinctive species of grasses and plants such as marsh bedstraw, and meadow sweet. All in all a very diverse site.

At the bottom of the track we join Higher Coach Road which as its name suggests was the coach road to Milner Field. On our left we can glimpse Trench House; the information board gives further details about the house and the surrounding area.

We now turn right and walk along Higher Coach Road (crossing Load Pit Beck). This section of the road is 'lined' with Chestnut trees. We continue through the gateway by the South Lodge on to the 'drive' to Milner Field and walk though the woods until we come to a clearing on the left. We walk through this and come to the ruined gateway which marks the entrance to the remains of Milner Field which was originally the home of Titus Salt junior and his wife Catherine (nee Crossley). They married in 1866 and for a time lived at Baildon Lodge which is now a nursing home.

Milner Field was built in 1the 1870s and replaced a seventeenth century house of the same name. 'It is a self-contained..modern structure with large Conservatory (containing semi-tropical plants and exotics', Winter Gardens, Greenhouses, well-stocked Gardens,..Lodges, Woodlands..Lake etc.' The interior of the Mansion was panelled in oak, teakwood, mahogany chestnut and cedarwood.

There were two royal visits to Milner Field. The Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra in 1882 and Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1887.

Titus Salt junior died in 1887; his widow remained at Milner Field until 1903 when she sold the estate to Sir James Roberts who lived there until he retired and moved to Scotland. Mr Ernest Gates was the next occupier; unfortunately he died in 1924 and Mr Hollins moved into Milner Field. After his death in 1929 the house was put up for sale but there were no offers for it; the house was eventually demolished in the 1950s.

We now retrace our steps back to the drive; here we turn left and catch a glimpse of the North Lodge which has recently been restored after having been in a ruinous state for many years. We now return down the drive and through the gateway; here we turn right and walk uphill until we come to the 'birdcage gate' (kissing gate). We turn right and walk downhill (Sparable Lane); the area by the stream is known as Crag Hebble the expanse of water was created by damming the stream in 1911, the water being used for the Salts Mill dye house. (a footpath off the left hand trackway) passes the remains of Milner Field's kitchen gardens.

We now turn right and can glimpse the upper part of Trench Meadows; after which we take the path on the left which takes us back up to the top of the Glen and to our starting point at the Glen Pub.

M C & L A Lawson