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Malcolm Hanson - Skipton tourist guide

Malcolm Hanson



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Heritage Walks involve children:


reading and writing

researching local history

map making and map studying


‘desk top’ publishing


To see an example, click here

The idea of school ‘Heritage Walks’ came about in the spring of 2002, when I was asked by the Keighley Walking For Health Group to create a walk aimed at people requiring gentle exercise such as anyone who might benefit from walking a certain distance each day. There were certain stipulations: the route must be on flat ground; there must be plenty of interesting things to see; the walk must be able to sustain the walker’s interest; the walk must cover a fair distance and must have plenty of joining and leaving points along the way.

 By coincidence Oakbank School contacted the Walking For Health Group with a request for details of interesting walks. It was suggested that a group of children be allowed to join Malcolm on the last phase of his remit which was to walk the route and put together a guide. This work would take place one morning per week over a ten week period. The project was given a working title “Keighley Overground” and the walk began and ended at the site of the old Keighley market place by the Parish Church. On route were many remarkable points of interest such as the Parish Church itself; Keighley & Worth Valley Light Railway; the huge Dalton Mills complex, and a beautiful riverside walk along the banks of the  Aire. But what interested the children most were the number of “off the wall” features such as the rediscovery of the gravestone of  “Old Three Laps” - a man who had spent 49 years of his life in bed after his bride spurned him at the alter (pictured); a chimney that sported the stone head and shoulders of its builder; the site of a "cool" haunted house; and the “Wife Taming Cradle - Box No. 6 - Patent Cure for a Cross Wife” (a long, long story!)

The project was so successful that in 2003 Malcolm - together with a second group of Children from Oakbank School - created the “Oakbank Trail”, a Heritage Walk purely for the school itself. The route took in Oakworth, Haworth and Ingrow, and apart from the usual interest such as the Bronte Sisters story, it contained more quirky history that the children could happily relate to: a legend of a ghostly rider at Slaymaker Lane cross-roads; the grave of a Highwayman at Haworth Church; and Damems railway station - the smallest in England.

It soon became obvious that the formula of walking / investigating new routes was proving a big hit with children of all ages. Malcolm offered the idea to Embsay School, Skipton. The school agreed and in the autumn of 2003 an Embsay School trail - titled “A look back in History” was worked on. This route covered the centre of Skipton, and as usual, apart from well-known history, it concentrated on really quirky gems such as the site of  the house of Piggy Sam: a man who shared his one-roomed hovel with forty pigs(!); the site of the town’s ducking stool in the 17th century; the “Skipton Loveheart” (pictured)  and the last vestiges of the Castle Moat in a field between the castle and the Bailey. In addition to creating the walk, the children put together a souvenir booklet, and on the inaugural walk itself they acted as ‘guides’ relating  local history and explaining points of interest to a group of invited parents and teachers. Click Heritage Walks to see how well and truly they have arrived! 

Below is a chronological timetable of all the schools that have built Heritage Trails.

September 25th - December 11th 2002

Oakbank Senior School, Keighley Walk 1

January 8th - April 14th 2003

Oakbank Senior School, Keighley Walk 2

11th September - 23rd October 2003

Embsay Primary School, Skipton. The Embsay School Heritage Walk covers an area of Skipton including Skipton Castle, Holy Trinity Church and the High Street.

January 6th - March 3rd 2004

Church Primary School, Barnoldswick. The Church School Heritage Trail covers an area of Barnoldswick including Manchester Road, Bancroft Mill, Monkroyd and the Town Hall Square

January 12th - March 23rd 2004

Kildwick Primary School. The Kildwick School Heritage Trail covers an area of Kildwick including Kildwick Bridge, The 'Lang Kirk', Leeds - Liverpool Canal, Farnhill House, Farnhill, Kildwick Hall and Parson's Walk.

March 8th - June 24th 2004

St Stephen's Catholic Primary School, Skipton. St Stephen's School Heritage Trail covers an area of Skipton including the Leeds - Liverpool Canal, Albert Street, the High Street, Skipton, Skipton Woods and Raikes Road Cemetery.

April 21st - June 24th 2004

St Anne's Catholic Primary School, Keighley. The St Anne's School Heritage Trail covers an area of Keighley including Skipton Road, Devonshire Park, Cliffe Castle and Utley Cemetery

November 11th - December 8th 2004

Embsay Primary School, Skipton. A one-off Victorian Trail centred on Skipton, taking in Christ Church, the High Street, Swadford Street, BelleVue Mills and Skipton Railway Station.

March 10th - June 10th 2005

Denholme Primary School. The Denholme School Heritage Trail covers an area of Denholme including the Mechanics Institute and Foresters Hall, Top Lodge, Wesleyan churchyard, the Little Bull, Denholme Park and Reservoir, Foster Park and the Cenotaph.

April 6th - July 6th 2005

St Anne's Catholic Primary School. The 2nd St Anne's School Heritage Trail covers an area of Keighley including Skipton Road, Town Hall Square and Cenotaph, Shopping Precinct, Low Street, Worth River and Low Mill and St Andrews.

May 18th - May 27th 2005

Cowling Primary School. Cowling School Heritage Trail covers an area of Cowling including Middleton and Vicsount Snowden's cottage, Ickornshaw and various chapels and houses, site of the 'Moonrakers', Cowling Church and churchyard.

June 6th - July 21st 2005

Our Lady Of Victories Catholic Primary School, Keighley. Our Lady Of Victories School Heritage Trail covers an area of Keighley including the Guard House, West Lane, Quakers cemetery, Church Green, central Keighley, Devonshire Park and Cliffe Castle.

September 1st - November 3rd 2005

Sutton Primary School. Sutton School Heritage Trail covers an area of Sutton including Sutton Park, Holme Lane Bridge, the Manor House, West Lane, Sutton Hall gardens, the Lodgegate House and Bay Horse.

September 9th - November 17th 2005

Nessfield Primary School, Keighley. Nessfield School Heritage Trail covers an area of Keighley including Oakworth Road, Exley Head and Exley Manor, Bronte way, Ingrow Church and the Haggas Family monuments and Francis Villy grave, Lund Park and Mollie Sugden's childhood haunts.

September 12th - November 23rd 2005

Braithwaite Special School. A Heritage Trail by bus covering a large area of Keighley and surrounding areas including Braithwaite old village, Keighley Tarn, Utley Cemetery, central Keighley including St Andrew's Churchyard, Oakworth Road and Exley Head, Haworth and outlaying areas.

September 13th - October 21st 2005

Springvale Primary School, Penistone. Springvale School Heritage Trail covers an area of Penistone including Penistone Church and churchyard, the High Street and Beast Market areas, the site of Penistone Grammar School, Church Street and Penistone Railway Station.

April 28th - June 26th 2006

St Anne's Catholic Primary School, Keighley. The 3rd St Anne's School Heritage Trail covers areas around Keighley including the Railway Station, the ginnels to Low Mill, Cavendish Street and the Victorian Arcade at Worth Way.

May 3rd - June 28th 2006

Eastburn Primary School, Keighley. The Eastburn School Heritage Trail visits the Dolls House, Skipton Road wells, the old Eastburn Tavern (formerly Red Lion), the Methodist Chapel, Red Lion Lane to the site of Cromwell's visit and the school's original gas lamppost.

September 14th - November 23rd 2006

Victoria Primary School, Keighley. The Victoria School Heritage Trail visits Devonshire Park (Miss Butterfield's Fountain), Cliffe Castle museum and grounds and the ancient track used by opposing forces in the Civil War.

March 3rd - June 22nd 2007

Oakworth Primary School, Keighley. The Oakworth School Heritage Trail visits Dockroyd, Oakworth Railway Station (KWVR museum), Vale Mills, Lane Ends, Christchurch and Oakworth Hall.

April 20th - June 29th 2007

Lees and Cross Roads Primary School, Keighley. The Lees School Heritage Trail visits the Knights Hospitallers farm, the park, Donna's last dance, Cross Roads Inn, St James's Church, the Methodist Chapel and the Youth Hostel.

September 7th - November 2nd 2007

Oldfield Primary School. The Oldfield Primary School Heritage Trail visits areas in Oldfield and Stanbury including the old packhorse trail, the Grouse Inn, the Canadian Air Force memorial, Pickles Hill, Stanbury cemetery, Stanbury Manor and the "Old Gentleman's" grave in the valley.

September 26th - November 22nd 2007

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Ingrow, Keighley. St Joseph's School Heritage Trail visits the grave of Francis Villy, the Worth Valley Railway (and museum), Ingrow; the former house of the Lord Mayor of London, the Bronte's riverside walk and the brewery.

January 14th - March 18th 2008

Eastwood Primary School, Keighley. The Eastwood School Heritage Trail visit areas in Keighley including the railway, Devonshire Park, Spring Gardens Lane, Cliffe Castle museum and grounds and the ancient track way used in the Civil War period.

Apart from Heritage walks I also do songwriting workshops, history hunts & medieval storytelling. 


See also The School Experience within The Skipton Experience.


Interested? Call me! Contact Us

Embsay primary school

At Embsay, we built a medieval-style exhibition and showed it to our guests.



Sutton primary school

At Sutton, we locked our teacher in the stocks and visited a Tudor-style gatehouse



Nessfield primary school

At Nessfield, we danced around an ancient cross and visited the house of a once-famous film star!



Oakworth primary school

At Oakworth, we became the "Railway Children" and discovered an ancient well.



Malcolm is a qualified Volunteer Walk Leader. 

"I have worked with 25 schools on 25 projects and I have yet to hear a child say: "Can we go home now - I'm bored!" But what do the children think? 

Dear Malcolm,

     We are writing to tell you how much we have enjoyed our local Heritage Trail and the work we have done about it. Thank you for putting so much effort into our history work during the last few weeks. I really liked inviting my parents and dressing up. My mum was going to dress up but she didn't have time. I enjoyed everything, especially the Market Cross. I'm glad you came and organised it. I'm glad you came, you're a very very nice man and a kind man. I know you put loads of effort into it. Thank you. We'd love to see you again, the whole class will. We will try as hard as we can to get the grave of Francis Villy restored to its former glory. I liked all of it, it was really really super cool I'm not joking. My mum really enjoyed it too. it's the best trip ever. The whole class enjoyed it I'm sure.

Yours sincerely


And what do the teachers think?

... thank you on behalf of the pupils involved and myself for an excellent programme.

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