IN 2001, Saltaire was declared a World Heritage site and is one of the most fascinating of planned industrial villages.
This gentle stroll leads through the village and close to the mill, which towers over the railway, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the River Aire.
In addition, there is an attractive park to explore whilst a tourist tramway runs to Shipley Glen and through woodlands famous for their rich fauna and flora. The spring bluebells are renowned throughout Yorkshire.
Take time to explore the compact village with its school, hospital, cottages, almshouses for the retired and meeting rooms, and then descend along the main street away from the Information Centre.
The village was developed during the 1850s when Titus Salt decided to move his Bradford Mills and associated workforce who, at the time, lived in slums, to a purpose-built complex which was named Saltaire.
Eventually more than 3,000 people were employed in the huge mill which had 1,200 looms weaving alpaca wool.
Production only ceased in 1986 but the structure has been saved as a tourist attraction.
A variety of enterprises now thrives in the area, including an organ museum and a collection of paintings by the Bradford-born artist, David Hockney.
At the railway station, take time to explore the still operational complex which has been restored to its Victorian splendour. Nearby is the United Reformed Church, which includes the Salt mausoleum, and is Grade 1 listed. Pass the railway and then the church on the left, and follow the narrow road down to the canal bridge. Look to the right for wonderful views of the mill and the chimney which was designed to resemble the bell tower (campanile) of St Mark’s in Venice.
Pass the Boathouse pub on the left. Cross the bridge over the Aire and take an obvious footpath immediately to the right. Follow this signed route, keeping a weir on the Aire to the right and a children’s playground on the left. Pass through a delightful stretch of woodland.
In around 500 yards, turn left and continue to bear left and into Roberts Park. This was laid out in the early 1900s to celebrate the life of Sir Titus Salt and financed by the Roberts family. To the left is a splendid cricket field.
To the right of the footpath is a sign to the Shipley Green Tramway This funicular railway was built in the 1980s to link Saltaire with the Shipley Glen Amusement Park.
The track passes through woodlands full of bluebells in spring and colourful fungi in the autumn, and is open from Easter to October and is well worth the diversion.
From the tramway sign in the park continue to follow the circular footpath and the cricket field and return to Saltaire via the bridges over the river, canal and railway.