Ilkley Town – www.ilkley.org
There was a Roman fort called Olicana, built here in 79 AD. A portion of the original wall can still be seen at the site, adjacent to the Elizabethan Manor House and All Saints’ Church. The church itself was established before the Norman Conquest and you can see three famous Saxon Crosses inside. Nearby is the Old Bridge over the river and dates from 1675. Two long-distance footpaths, The Dales Way and The Ebor Way start and finish here. (Incidentally, The ‘New’ Bridge is still called just that even though it is now a hundred years old!)
The Victorians built moorland tarns and wooded ravines such as Mill Ghyll and Hebers Ghyll. All these can still be enjoyed today as can Middleton Woods – especially beautiful in May when the bluebells are spectacular. On a hot summer’s day, popular places include the River Wharfe with its’ little ‘beach’ and the outdoor lido.
Ilkley is highly regarded for its’ stylish architecture and award winning flowerbeds. The tree lined shopping streets include award winning tea rooms, (including Betty’s an absolute must), a large number of excellent restaurants and quality shops. There is even a traditional Victorian arcade, complete with potted palms!
Ilkley is fortunate to have one of the last remaining outdoor lidos in the North of England. Open from May until September, there is nothing better on a fine summer’s day! You can take your own picnic (or use the café there) and there are extensive grounds to sunbath or just relax. There is also has an indoor pool open daily throughout the year including several early morning and evening sessions. Click here for more details.
There is a host of other sports facilities locally including floodlit and outdoor tennis courts and squash.
There are four local golf courses and day permits are available (in season) for fishing on the River Wharfe.
The southern slopes of Wharfedale form Ilkley Moor and are immortalised in Yorkshire’s anthem – On Ilkla Moor baht ‘at – known all over the world! Prehistoric man lived here and left behind Bronze Age circles and hundreds of rock carvings. The Moor is a site of Special Scientific Interest and there is unlimited access for walkers, runners and lovers of nature to enjoy the fresh air and spectacular views across Wharfedale. There is even a permanent orienteering course and opportunities for rock climbing on the Cow and Calf Rocks and in Rocky Valley (all very easy to reach from us). Ilkley Moor is owned by the local council and there is a policy of tolerance to mountain biking with routes passing our door.
Westwood Lodge is situated on the very edge of Ilkley Moor. You are literally on the Moor as soon as you cross the cattle grid at our gates!
Whilst there is little traffic other than the odd passing sheep, deer or pheasant, you’re not going to find yourself ‘in the middle of nowhere’ staying here. Westwood combines a rural location with close proximity to Ilkley town itself (just down the hill) plus all the places – town and country – that you might need to get to.
White Wells – a 10 minute stroll from Westwood Lodge
In the 19th Century Ilkley became a very popular spa town. Visitors flocked to take the waters and bathe in the cold water baths. According to the local history, around 1780 a shepherd had an accident and severely damaged his leg. The wound refused to heal. But by daily immersion in the ‘waters of Ilkley’ at White Wells, the wound began to heal itself.
White Wells (right) is now a café serving hot beverages rather than cold baths. You will find the natural spring water at the back of the premises, still flowing, and people are able to tap the source of the ‘miracle cure’ for themselves, so don’t forget a water bottle. Most visitors these days seem to prefer to drop a coin into the waters to wish for health and happiness!