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A stroll around Bingley St Ives

Quite often I'm guilty of heading off to either one of the Lakes or Dales's honeypots when there are plenty of local places for me to visit. Ogden Water, the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and St Ives are but three such places. Today I went to St Ives.

Even on a Saturday there are still plenty of places to find a bit of peace and quiet so I headed off in to the woods in search of the Druids Alter. The alter overlooks Bingley and the Aire Valley.  It is allegedly the scene of human sacrifice in ancient times although there is no evidence for this but you can imagine how people's imagination gave it it's name as the rock stands high above the valley and is of an impressive size. The walk is very pleasant with many wooden sculptures scattered through out the woods. 

After visiting the alter, the walk then skirts the golf course before starting to head back down to Coppice Pond and the Estate. On the way you pass a large obelisk and Lady Blantyre’s Rock. The obelisk commemorates William Ferrand, MP for Knaresborough 1841- 1847, and his campaigning on behalf of oppressed workers and the poor, particularly opposing the repeal of the Corn Laws. He was instrumental in abolishing the truck system which allowed employers to pay workers in tokens that could be redeemed only in the company’s own shop, often at inflated prices.
The stone tablet commemorates Lady Fanny Mary Stuart Blantyre, who became Mr Ferrand’s second wife in 1847, and loved the view from this spot. With her husband she was responsible for planting 400 acres of woodland. Coppice Pond was originally used by the Ferrand family as a boating lake but is now used for fishing. The spoils must be good as you can usually see a heron on the small isle standing motionless hunting for its tea. Birds are plentiful in this area and there is a hide but it seems to be getting a bit overgrown and uncared for. 

I usually pop in to the coffee shop but, with it being a Saturday, it looked very busy so I decided to give it a miss. Then it's just a downhill stroll back to the car park. There is a bit of a whohaa at the moment as the local council are wanting to start charging to park but there was no evidence of this having started. I suppose there are pluses and minuses to the debate: if its just an occasional visit like I do then its OK but a lot of people come up frequently to exercise both themselves and their dogs so I should imagine that could work out pretty expensive. 

Ten minutes later I was back home and feeling rejuvenated by my visit.

Reach for the sky

St Ives woods

St Ives woods

St Ives woods

The Aire Valley

Track to the Druids Alter

The Druids Alter

The Druids Alter

Track to Coppice Pond

Track to Coppice Pond

Ferrand's Obelisk 

Wetlands near Coppice Pond

Wood carving

Wood Carving

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