Shipley Glen Tramway, Yorkshire

Shipley Glen Tramway

High above the industry of Yorkshire’s Aire Valley is Shipley Glen, a long shoulder of heathland below Baildon Moor, studded with boulders left there by the ice age. The Glen has been visited for generations, and was a very popular destination for the Whitsuntide Walks of the late 1800s and the first half of 20th century. Mill workers from Shipley, Bingley, Saltaire and Keighley would enjoy the open air in their hundreds. Local farms often converted a barn to a makeshift tearoom – some of these barns still have a faded TEAS still visible on their walls or roofs.

Many of these visitors would walk up the wooded hill from Saltaire, and In 1895 a local entrepreneur built the Shipley Glen Tramway to help get them up the slope. it’s been delighting the residents of West Yorkshire ever since. This cable-hauled funicular railway trundles the quarter mile from Saltaire Park at the bottom to the Glen at the top. At each end is a miniature station with a tiny ticket office run by an affable volunteer. Pass though the barrier and find a seat on the carriage – you may have to flip the back of the seat over to face the right way. When ready, a klaxon will sound, there will be a slight jerk and you’ll start your journey through the woods, clunking along through a tunnel of green at about the speed of a trotting horse. At exactly half way, the carriage from the other end will zip past in a flurry of bunting and waving arms.

Until a couple of years ago, the Tramway was part of a tiny theme park which included Britain’s oldest fairground ride, the Aerial Glide, built around 1900. Sadly, despite a campaign to save it, all that remains of the ‘Pleasure Grounds’ is a charming semi-decrepit (but happily functioning) dodgems – complete with marvellously unrestored cars – near the gate to the Tramway’s ‘top’ station. Next to the dodgems is a pleasing little souvenir shop selling ice-creams and sweeties. Further up the wonderfully named Prod Lane is a tea room and pub, and then the Glen itself – still a great place to explore, walk and relax.

Shipley Glen Tramway photos

How to get there

Shipley Glen Tramway, Prod Lane, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD17 5BN.

Public Transport (bus or train) to Saltaire – walk down through the village and park to Salt’s Grammar School. Turn right and walk along the road until you see the playing fields and ‘bottom’ station on your left. By car: Loads of parking at Shipley Glen for the ‘top’ station.



i went to saltaire with a couple of friends today, and took the opportunity to visit shipley glen tramway.

near the bottom, one of the staff was explaining to a group of disappointed potential passengers that he could open up the ride, but that it was 'inherently dangerous, and you could expect to be killed!'

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