Saturday, 13 August 2011

23rd-24th and 30th-31st July 2011

Whitfield Tours
The guided walks for the Festival of British Archaeology were a great success, informing approximately 60 members of the public and UWHG members about the Whitfield Syke Mill complex.

Alison talking about walls & boundaries (Photo by Jane Lunnon)
Each walk followed more or less the same format, only being slightly adapted for the different parties. The “dry run” for UWHG members proved to be very wet indeed in the rain, but all members battled valiantly on, in spite of getting soaked!  The following weekends proved to be exceptionally hot and so were taken at a more leisurely pace.
Having met in the car park, and following a brief introduction by Ruth, we walked up the lane, stopping to look at some of Maria Phillips photographs (taken c. 1900-1910) of the mill site on the way and comparing them to the present view.
Alison then took over and told us something about the enclosure of Embsay Pasture and the medieval origins of the surrounding walls, eventually leading us on to look at the walls of the reservoir and the  remains of the late 18thC cottages now incorporated into this wall.

Alison pointing out remains of cottages in the walls (Photo by Jane Lunnon)
Chris, assisted by Jane then informed us about the mill, pointing out the various stages of its development, greatly helped by the coloured flags which he and Jane had previously laid out. The former warehouse and its association with Elizabeth Garnett and the Navvy Mission Society, as told by Jane, proved to be of great interest.
Chris explains development of the mill (photo by Jane Lunnon)
We then walked back to the moor side, where Ruth indicated the various mill ponds and the cmplex management of the water supply for the mill. Again the coloured flags were useful to indicate the various channels at present obscured by the height of the bracken. The walk finished by looking at the Weir and the Sheep Wash area.

Ruth explaining the water management systems (photo by Jane Lunnon)
Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the walks and said how interesting they had found them – many people having walked there frequently but knowing very little about the mill complex. They all agreed that their walks in future would take much longer as they would now be looking at walls and buildings, etc in a very different light!
 Ruth Spencer