Distance: 2 miles
Time: 1 hour
In June 1900, a journalist wrote in the Craven Herald: “The people of Silsden are fortunate in having almost unlimited facilities for taking pedestrian exercise amidst country scenes captivating in their charming picturesqueness.”
Our use of language may be less flowery now but the message remains as true as the day it was written over 100 years ago. Walking in and around Silsden is an absolute delight. Silsden’s country scenes are not only “captivating in their charming picturesqueness”. They also hold clues and reminders of the men and women who stepped this way before us, of how they lived their lives and shaped this growing village that we know today.
Silsden has a rich and colourful history. Discovering this for ourselves enhances any walk, whether short family stroll or bracing day out in the hills, and opens our eyes to the secrets and stories of our own heritage.
The Two Hamlets
Beginning and ending at Silsden Playing Fields. It is less than two miles and will take around one hour. The walk passes through the two ancient settlements of Brunthwaite and Swartha.
Setting off from the bridge by the post office, keep the beck to your right until you reach the footbridge which takes you into the Playing Fields, opened in 1934 on what was then a field known as the ‘Shooting Croft’. Head directly forward, with the soccer pitch on your right, to reach the small playground, then climb gradually right towards the distant hedge encircling the rugby pitch. Banklands Lane will be reached at the top.
Until housing development began in the 20th century, Banklands Lane was a quiet tree-shaded old pathway known to everyone as ‘Lovers Lane’.
Turn right along this road until an old stile and open gateway point the way past the final bungalow and onto a narrow field stile. At a wooden swing gate, the walk crosses the field diagonally to reach Drabble House Farm. Next to the farm gate is a smaller iron exit which leads out into Brunthwaite Lane.
Turn right, and then left at the green crossroads into this lovely old settlement. Head through Brunthwaite and, on reaching the small village green, skirt along the top, passing directly in front of the lerrace of houses there. Immediately on the left will appear some stone steps to a rickety gate. (Before going up the steps, take a look at the very old drinking trough, almost hidden to the right).
Going through the gate. the hamlet of Swartha is seen directly at the top of the rise. Walk straight up through a stile and then an open gateway. Keeping slightly to the right of a magnificent oak tree, walk unerringly forwards through two stiles and out into Swartha Lane. Turn left and begin to head downhill until a stile faces you at the corner of Hawber Lane. Walk down the hedge-side of the field to a small iron kissing gate. Head diagonally across to an old barn on the left,
where another stile awaits, and then straight across this field to re-join, at a stile, the now familiar stretch down to Banklands and the Playing Fields. Walk and images taken from Discovering Silsden, by Cathy Liddle.
Walk and images taken from Discovering Silsden, by Cathy Liddle.