Ah don’t you just love the run up to Christmas , every town and city running their own Markets and Festivals , jammed roads and packed public transport , not great for our type of doggy day out , so where to go to escape the great worship to over consumption and commercialism..?
Well we found our own bit of Festive Cheer visiting a frosty Shipley Glen , a beautiful area of common land a short distance from Saltaire and Bingley and to get us there used the totally unique Glen Tramway Railway . A cracking day rounded off with a visit it to the pub voted the Most Dog Friendly Pub in Yorkshire last year .
Taking a 20 min bus ride to Saltaire we walked through the village , Roberts Park and to the Bottom Tram Station set back from Higher Coach Coach Road (pass Titus Salt School and you’ve gone too far!! )
The Tramway was opened in 1895 to make the short journey up the hill from Saltaire to the Glen which had become a popular open air playground for Salts many mill workers .Despite many attempts to close it down and develop the site for housing , its clung on to survival and now r every weekend it runs its two funicular trains continuously up and down its quarter of mile track through pretty woodland. ( Though apparently some dimwit has some half arsed plans to house build on the fields – seriously ??)
A return ticket costs two pounds (mutts free) and quite honestly I can say its the best couple of quid I’ve spent in a while . The cheery volunteers have kept the whole operation true to its history , you’ll find nothing hi-tec or hip here.Commercialism extends to a collection of postcards , dirt cheap guide books and a much loved ‘weigh out’ sweetshop .As it was Christmas Santa had arrived and had taken up residence in an engine shed , attended to, it has to be said ,by a couple of rather elderly elves and there was an excited queue of youngsters read to reveal their present lists and receive a gift for the miserly sum of a fiver a child . To add to the ambience the tramway route was decked out in garlands of fairy lights ; subtle Christmas decoration and traditional carols playing in the background creating an un contrived Festive feel.
Ok so the five minute ride isn’t wildly exciting but the tram shakes n stutters enough up the hill to be an experience ,Bruce was a little wary on the outward journey but soon was confident on the return to be in full head out ears flapping mode ! Only one thing to note if you have a extra large dog the floor space between seats is not huge so you might struggle somewhat though the very willing volunteer staff will no doubt find a way to allow you to travel !
A five minute walk up Prod lane from the top Station takes you to the Glen .It was sad to see the former Pleasure Gardens adjacent to the top Tram Staion now built over with ‘executive ‘ housing . The little fairground that was built along with the tramway including the torturous ‘ariel glide’ ride had delighted many a child including me over the years and held out till a couple of years ago and it was sad to physically see its demise .
Onto the Glen , an area of real natural beauty and judging by the number around a real hotspot for the local dog walking community .It’s an area of woodland , stram walks and moorland boulders that has a myraid of paths across its entiriety , its not huge but there are numerous paths that you can take across a patch that measues probably a mile, if that ,longways .
However it’s those numerous paths that make it such a great spot to dog walk as you can normally find an area to let your mutt off away from others if like our Bruce you’re not completely sociable off lead ,or be for those with more affable canines stick to the popular paths and you’ll find loads of dog friends to romp with .
We stuck to the Glen floor alongside the stream with our duck friends , Bruce’s terrier instincts took over and he spent a happy hour squirrel chasing , rabbit scrabbling and generally adding his own aroma to every tree stump going . In the summer I’m sure you could get away with trainers n shorts to walk your beloved but come winter boots are a def to take on the muddy patches ,rock scrambles and moorland streams.
Post walk we adjourned to the Old Glen which has proved its dog friendly credentials by various awards .Like a fair few places it splits it’s facilities between dog welcome and not…which is never a problem if that’s advertised prior to a visit .The dog welcome part of the pub was full of canines all happily welcomed by young enthusiastic bar staff offering treats and water alongside our beers . (Well kept couple of pints of a couple of the 6 real ales kept )
Outside for the summer months as well is cracking sun trap beer garden and also a small cafe serving hot drinks , ice cream and simple kids favourite meals such as burgers and beans on toast.
Because of its location you are hardly like to find yourself as the only customers ‘with mutt’, even during the quieter time of the year , and at weekends and school holidays its normally a four paws under every table scenario so it might not be the best watering hole for any reactive dogs out there .
Indeed it was standing room only when we visited and Bruce found found himself getting acquainted with a couple of beagles and a cokerpoo who’s owners out on a festive ramble had stopped for a small snifter of mulled wine to warm to cockles .Luckily his Lordship was on best behaviour and we even managed a reluctant tail wag from the Grumpster !
For those who want to extend their walk ,the adjacent Baildon moor provides more opportunities to eat up the miles .but for us it was a return back to our more mature woodland folk and the fun of another tram trip back to our starting point in Saltaire