At last! A day of sunshine and warmth!
I made a sudden decision to head off to Keighley and to follow a circular route around the splendid Cliffe Castle.
This is an excellent stroll for families and also for those who love their dogs.
The provision of dog bowls at the museum entrance and the gardens around the site provide colour for most of the year.
There are many seats placed around the area. Keighley developed because of the textile industries of cotton and wool but this area of 300 acres is literally a breath of fresh air.
1. For the car park entrance turn left down the steep Spring Gardens Lane and turn left again after just 20 yards.
Descend steeply through a rocky outcrop lined with trees.
2. From the castle entrance follow the well-maintained footpath around to the left.
Stop at the entrance to the castle which offers free admittance and visitors should take their time.
The castle is not as old as it looks but is no less impressive for all that. In 1828 Christopher Netherwood built Cliffe Hall in the Tudor style.
Then, in 1848, the Butterfield family who made their fortune in textiles, bought Cliffe Hall expanded the grounds from 20 to 300 acres and converted the “Tudor” hall into a “Gothic Castle”.
In 1949 Keighley Corporation bought the castle and developed it into the town’s museum.
Bear left along the side of the castle and ascend a set of stone steps.
3. From the steps turn right through gardens lined with seats and to the left are aviaries and greenhouses which are open to the public.
These provide colour all the year round and the heat generated inside allows native butterflies to appear early in the season and remain long after the first frost.
From the cafe follow the obvious footpath to the left. Then turn right and descend gently.
4.To the left is a children’s playground and ahead are large cages of domestic fowl and guinea pigs. Bear left and descend through a very pretty area of woodland dominated by oak and horse chestnut.
Grey squirrels are common here and the birdlife includes great spotted woodpecker, tawnyowl and sparrowhawk.
5. The track bears right and then continues straight ahead. Ignore the pedestrian access to the A6068 road to Steeton.
Pass an old fountain on the right where there are views up to the Castle. away to the left are hills showing that Keighley is situated in a valley of the River Aire.
Keep following the circular path around the park pass-ing another large fountain to the right and with splendid old trees to the left.
The route gradually swings right and returns to the Cliffe Castle entrance. Beyond this is the car park.
How to get there
The castle is on the outskirts of Keighley off the A629 Skipton road and there is free parking just off the A629.
The museum is also free and is open daily except Mondays (apart from Bank Holidays).
Distance: Two miles.
Time: 1½ hours — but don’t hurry.