Shipley Glen was named by a Shipley clergyman when he discovered the area. However, the area is in the Borough of Baildon.
Generally the term Shipley Glen includes the flat area of Bracken Hall Green and Trench Wood beside it.
If we could travel far enough back in time, we would find the area now known as Shipley Glen was somewhere south of the equator. Over millions of years it has travelled slowly to its present position.
During this journey it has also changed from thick forests to marshy wet lands and more recently to a land covered in ice many feet thick.
During the journey and well before the ice ages, trees died and fell to be covered by sand from later ancient seas or river estuaries. The trees rotted and, under pressure, became coal whilst the sand became layers of rock or slate. Living creatures died and were covered in the sand and were preserved as fossils.
Trench Wood was carved out by glacial action during the ice ages and traces of the action of the ice can be found on the rocky sides of the glen where the layers of rock have been revealed.
The ice ages ended about 10,000 years ago and gradually life returned to the area of Shipley Glen. In those days what is now the British Isles were still attached to Europe and animals and people would gradually explore and settle further and further over the land.
Trees and vegetation will have preceded them. Trees such as Alder, Hazel and Birch will have covered the area soon after the ice ages whilst oak and sycamore came later, sycamore most likely with the Romans.
There are remains showing that people were living in the area about 4000 years ago.
A quern stone (used for grinding corn) was found on Bracken hall Green and flint tools and weapons have been found in the area.
These stones are the remains of an iron age wall which stretched across Bracken Hall Green and up through the field beyond.
A circle of stones are the base of a circular enclosure where iron age man very likely kept his domesticated animals safe from the wild animals that roamed here.
The circle is just beyond the Bracken Hall Centre. It is often called ‘Soldiers trench’ possibly because a few soldiers may have camped there at one time.
There will have been plenty of wood for fires and building and a number of springs and the stream in the glen will have provided water.
The top of the moor will have been a naturally defensive position and there is evidence that people lived there too.
There are many of these stones on Baildon Moor, most of them overgrown but one good example has been placed in the the corner of the wall surrounding the caravan site and farm at Dobrudden.
The date these stones were carved and why is still a mystery but the carving was certainly well back in history.
Some suggest that they are star maps others that they were for offerings to gods. (In fairly recent times local villagers were still putting a few drops of milk outside their homes and in small stone ‘cups’ each night to please the gods.)
Others similar stones are found on Rombalds Moor and across the north of Europe and Northern Russia.
This trench surrounded an area where a burial urn was found almost certainly from the iron ages.
It is by the car park above the reservoirs on Bingley Road/ Glovershaw Lane.
Baildon Moor is at the northern end of the Yorkshire Coal Field. But, though the coal field has some 43 seems there are only two seems at Baildon. The coal here is also of poor quality.
In the 17 century and onwards coal was mined on the moor and the numerous bell pits show where this activity continued.
By the 19 century deeper pits were dug and the whole area is honeycombed with galleries linking these pits.
All the bell pits have become filled in and the deep pits have been capped as the remains of the shafts were dangerous.
One of the bell pits on the moor
(there are also remains of the tracks used to carry the coal off the moor)
and a diagram of a bell pit in use
Baildon was the meeting place of many ancient tracks, or as Baildoners used to say ‘Many important tracks radiate from Baildon’.
The tiny hamlet of Little London, next to Faweather, was a trading place for goods, especially salt, coming by packhorse from Cheshire, through Morton, past Dick Hudson’s and along the present Otley Road to Otley and Wetherby. (Salt was important as a preservative before the days of fridges.)
Little London. There is evidence that the flat area at the bottom of the field was a trading place. (The name London was often given to such a trading place.)