Urns return as part of Mill Ghyll restoration project


The Mill Ghyll restoration project has been completed in time for Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Ilkley


During 2021 Town Councillors were asked to consider initiating key projects around the town that would be of benefit to both residents and visitors alike and which could be completed in time for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Ilkley.


Mill Ghyll is an attractive green space at the foot of Ilkley Moor which slopes down towards the town centre and is divided by a stream that descends from the Moor. The origin of Mill Ghyll dates back to 1873 and today the area forms part of the ‘Victorian Ilkley Town Trail’.


During the recent lockdown periods, Mill Ghyll became an important outdoor space in the centre of the town, where residents could meet safely with friends and family. As the area became more popular, the Town Council became aware of its growing importance to residents and visitors alike as a pleasant, accessible area which should be preserved and enhanced to enable more people to enjoy.


Positive feedback from residents and visitors alike encouraged councillors that this was a key area of the town which would benefit from work and focusing on what needed to be done, an appropriate programme of ongoing maintenance was required to be put in place.


The Town Council approved a request by Councillors Joanne Sugden and Jennifer Souter, to establish the Mill Ghyll Restoration Project. The objective was to restore the area to its former glory and put in place an approprite schedule of on-going maintenance. Work started on the project in early February this year, with the engagement of a Trees and Woodland Manager from Bradford, a variety of experienced contractors and with the invaluable support from the ‘Friends of Ilkley Moor’. The Council is fully committed to a programme of activity to improve Mill Ghyll which is hoped will continue into 2023 for the celebration of its 150th anniversary.


Since late April many new shrubs have been planted throughout Mill Ghyll. Controlled woodland management has ensured that views across the area and down into the stream have been restored. An extension of the lighting scheme to the southern border has meant that the whole area is lit at night as it was in the late 1930’s. The fencing and the gate at the southern entrance and an original kissing gate, have all been repaired. New signs have been put in place at the main Brook Street entrance as well as the southern entrance and two Victorian style urns which were originally commissioned and manufactured for display in Ilkley in the late 1950’s, have returned to the town and positioned at the main entrance to Mill Ghyll.


A podcast which will highlight the historical significance of this area in the growth of the town during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is being produced in conjunction with Ilkley Civic Society and the Town Council which its hoped will encourage even more visitors to visit and enjoy what Mill Ghyll area has to offer.