Visitors to Skipton may not be aware of the short canal spur that leads to a dead end below Skipton Castle. This spur was built specifically for the loading of limestone from a nearby quarry. The stone was delivered by a tramway and dumped via shutes 100 foot over the precipitous wall by the castle, into barges below. 80,000 tons a year–it’s a wonder the barges didn’t sink with that onslaught! The old quarry is now a housing site.
The first photo shows the footpath which gives entry to Skipton Woodland (managed by the Woodland Trust). The canal spur is on the left in a deep gorge below and the river is to the right of the path.
The woodland has historic features, including old mill dams. The more interesting older trees are on the boundary and the Limes on the upper path show this. The sprutting growth at the base is one of the best habitats for birds and home to all kinds of creatures. Public parks always cut away this epicormic growth (behaviour known as tidiness I believe), forgetting the importance it has for biodiversity.
Canal spur in gorge on the left below Skipton Castle
Boundary Lime with tremendous habitat