St Ives is where wildlife meets outdoor pursuit. Over the last couple of centuries the site has grown up with a mix of planted pine plantations, wooded areas and man made ponds – additions to the longstanding meadows and moorland.
In this most idyllic setting the estate is privileged to host some of the most socially prestigious open air sports.
Things to Note
St Ives Estate has the following on-site or nearby:
- Accessible Toilets
- Disabled Access
- Disabled Parking
- Dog Waste Bins
- Nearby Food & Drink
- Nearby Parking
- Nearby Shops
- Pushchair Access
- Rubbish Bins
- Wheelchair Access
The St Ives Estate is an impressive 550 acres of land located on the edge of Bingley, next to the village of Harden. The site receives visitors from all over West Yorkshire. As the estate is a vastness of hills you’re treated to spectacular views of the Aire Valley. So good that the Druids are said to have created a throne here.
Things to Do
A good place to start is the Visitor Centre run by volunteers from the Friends of St Ives. This friendly information point is open Wednesdays 11.00am-1.30pm and Saturdays 11.00am-2.00pm. Pop in to get a whistle stop tour of the place.
The Friends of St Ives are a volunteer group set up in 2003 to develop the site in a way that respects the original ethos of the estate. A typical day with the group could involve something hands on like facility repairs, or it may be a social like a guided walk or event. If you want to find out more about the group you can contact them through their website or alternatively drop them a message on Facebook.
Over the centuries St Ives has had a fair few unique features added to the estate. They are well worth hunting out, and give a reason to really explore the space!
Overlooking the Aire Valley is a rocky outcrop that’s said to have been a druid worshipping spot. Some say this is a fable created by the Victorians. Or there’s something genuinely spiritual about Druids Altar. Come for a sunset and find out for yourself.
The pyramid-like monument was erected in memory of William Busfeild Ferrand, one of the owners of the estate and son in law of Lady Blantyre.
Lady Blantyre’s Rock
Lady Blantyre lived on the estate in the 19th century. And this was her favoured spot. So much that William honoured her passing by placing a memorial stone at this spot.
An unusual trail of chainsaw carvings appeared on the estate in 2005. These carvings are hidden all over the estate. A good place to start this trail is over to Coppice Pond.
The playground is one of the biggest in the area. It’s got what you expect from a traditional play area with the added bonus of some real immersive play equipment, including a miniature drilling station where the little ones can get their hands dirty moving mud. Toddlers and older children will both be entertained here.
Once you’ve played up a hunger you can sit and recharge at one of the picnic tables on the edge of the woodland, opposite The Ivy Kitchen.
Since the 1960s Coppice Pond has been a fishery. It’s a great place to catch Carp with a few hefty 25 plus pounders landed in the past. Also on offer is Tench, Bream, Roach and Perch. To fish here get your yearbook from Bingley Angling Club.
The Parks & Landscapes department at Bradford City Council have produced an informative leaflet with three short walks all under 3 miles. Keep an eye out for the yellow disks marking one of the routes.
The leaflet also maps all of the places of interest on the estate. If you’d like something more challenging then we recommend taking the Pennine Bridleway – Calder Aire Link which starts from the bottom car park near the Harden road entrance.
Dog walking off the lead is allowed at St Ives – check out these mixed walks ranging from 1-4 miles at MyPawson or these dog friendly walks that crisscross the estate over at Bingley Walkers website. If you’re more of a naturalist enthusiast checkout the Trees, Bats & Fungi walks’.
If you like to swing a club then the Bingley St Ives Golf Club offers a range of flexible memberships. Golf clubs are littered all over this part of Yorkshire but the pull is this 18 hole course takes in the best parts of the estate.
Archery, one of the more esoteric sporting pursuits is on offer on the estate. Originally used for hunting and combat, archery tests the participants coordination and aim. Aire Valley Archers offer their members a fun, social and competitive environment in which to shoot. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the club is happy to accommodate.
The third and final sporting membership on offer is the horse riding school at Aire View Equestrian Centre. They run a riding school for people of all ages and abilities. Expect everything from single sessions to day camps.
Coppice Pond is the play to go to catch the hustle and bustle of birdlife on the estate. The bird feed spots create a bit of a hot spot for birdwatching. Friends of St Ives have sighted 61 species in a year, take a look at the list on the Friends of St Ives website. Under the water the native White Clawed Crayfish – currently under threat in the UK – has been found in the pond.
With your attention away from the water there are many different tree species including oaks, yews, ash, pines, larch or rhododendrons dotted around the estate. A great place to wander and reflect.
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Recorded history at St Ives dates all the way back to the Neolithic-Bronze Age, that’s at least 7,000 years. Items have been found in the upper part of the estate that link directly to what was also called the metal ages – a significant technological and social advance.
From the 12th century onwards the Monks of Rievaulx operated a large part of the estate with their monasteries. When these dissolved at the end of the middle ages in 1540, the deeds covering the transfer of the land came with a covenant that it be used free from non-religious obligation. Walter Paslew of East Riddlesden became the new owner of Harden Grange in 1540.
For the next century the Laycocks and Milners obtained more of the land around the estate. Another distinguished family in Bingley were the Ferrands, they purchased the entirety of Harden Grange in 1636. The Ferrands have become the most famous owners of the estate, leaving a legacy of features and surprises that people come to St Ives to enjoy today. The name St Ives came into being in 1858 under the stewardship of the Ferrands.
Following the death of William Ferrand in 1889 the estate began a long slow process of ownership transfer to Bingley Urban District Council (later Bradford Metropolitan Council). The deal was signed in 1928 and St Ives Estate was sold to the council for £38,000.
Toilets (unattended) are located next to the playground, they are open from 9.00 to 16.00, 7 days a week. Although it’s worth noting that these have been criticised for their lack of cleanliness by several visitors. Rubbish bins and dog waste bins are located near the facility buildings at the centre of the estate.
Food and Drink
The Old White Horse Brasserie Bingley holds the accolade of the oldest pub in the town. The Brasserie has gorgeous cosy fires for the winter and a south facing riverside view for those balmy summer evenings. If you fancy some grub then the menu is wholeheartedly British with a slight French twist.
A stone throw away from the Old White Horse over the Millgate bridge is The Brown Cow, a family run pub that tops the table of places to drink in Bingley. The ales are award winning and sourced locally – it is Yorkshire after all! And when the weekend arrives so does the live music. Checkout the band schedule on a Saturday for something sonically pleasing.
Shama Bingley is one of the most popular restaurants in Bingley. The cuisine suits a broader South Asian palette with both Indian and Pakistani dishes on the menu. For full on flavour and spice we can’t recommend this enough.
The main car park entrance is on Harden road, this is the biggest onsite. There are smaller car parks by the play area and the coach house behind the golf club which has around 6 disabled parking spots. All parking on the estate is free.
There is disabled access onsite with many of the buildings (public and private) providing wheelchair friendly entry. Bikes are the best means of travel on the rocky and uneven trails. If you’re moving around with a pushchair we recommend a sturdy one.
How to Get To St Ives Estate
To get to St Ives Estate by bus from Leeds. Take the 60 Aireline towards Keighley or the 561 to Bradford and then swap for the 616 from Bradford Interchange or the 729 from Keighley Bus Station.
To get to St Ives Estate by train from Leeds. Take the Airedale line from Leeds Station and get off at Bingley Train Station.The station is only 15-20 mins walk or 5 mins taxi ride from the estate entrance.
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