Town and City Heritage Walks

Book a Heritage Walk for your group or family in or around Bradford and Bronte Country. All walks are guided by experienced guide and local historian, Helen Broadhead.


 Bradford’s Industrial Heritage


The Wool Exchange, Market Street.

The Wool Exchange, Bradford

Walk Highlights:

  • magnificent Victorian architecture from Palladian revival to Gothic
  • the Wool Exchange and its  ornate interior
  • the first prestigious bank building
  • the Midland Railway company’s showcase hotel
  • Bradford Cathedral (an optional extra!)

Bradford’s woollen  industry goes back to at least the fourteenth century, due to its rich local resources of soft water, coal and iron, but the industrial revolution transformed its fortunes. In the first 30 years of the nineteenth century it went from a rural market town to an industrial town with 38 worsted mills. It was nicknamed  ”the Metropolis of the Worsted Trade” and processed two thirds of the country’s wool production. New commercial buildings were erected using local high quality sandstone and the best architects and builders. Many of these remain today as testament to the wealth of the city during the nineteenth century.

Come and see for yourself and find out about the fascinating history of this once magnificent city.


Bradford Jewish Heritage Trail


The Aron Kodesh or, in English, the Ark, where the Torah (Scrolls containing the five Books of Moses) are kept during the service.

Walk Highlights:

  • grand public buildings funded by Jewish merchants
  • earliest Reform Synagogue site, and former Orthodox Synagogue
  • the Schiller-Verein
  • tour of the Reform Synagogue, Bowland Street
  • Little Germany (on longer tours)

The Jewish Heritage Trail was first created by Nigel Grizzard in the 1980s, and later further developed by Benjamin Dunn with the help of Heritage Lottery funding in 2011-2013. I was delighted to be involved in this project known as Making Their Mark, as I knew from my own researches that the Jewish textile merchants, who began to arrive in Bradford from Germany in the 1820s, had indeed made their mark on this city. As well as Little Germany, the area most often associated with them, they built or helped fund many public buildings, including St. George’s Hall, the Wool Exchange, hospitals and schools, as well as their own Synagogues and institutions. Some also played a crucial role in increasing trade with the continent.

Come and discover more of the history of the Jews of Bradford on this tour of Bradford city centre and the Manningham area. Little Germany may also be included if requested.

Image courtesy of Making Their Mark: Bradford Jewish Heritage Trail

Saltaire: Titus Salt’s model village.

Titus Street, Saltaire  

 Walk highlights:

  • Salts Mill with David Hockney Gallery
  •  Beautiful Italianate architecture
  •  Mill workers’ houses on streets named after Titus Salt’s children
  •  Original school, hospital and alms house buildings

Saltaire was named after its founder, Titus Salt, and the river it was built beside, the river Aire. The village, which is still largely intact, was built between 1853, when the mill was opened, and the 1870s.  No money was spared to make the village and mill as attractive as possible. Salt wanted to provide his workers with healthier living and working conditions than those he had seen in Bradford. But was he motivated purely by philanthropy? Come and find out on this fascinating tour led by a costumed guide!

Small adult and school group bookings are especially welcome for this easy town walk. A tour of the beautifully renovated Roberts Park, originally Saltaire Park created by Titus Salt, is an optional extra!

Victoria Hall, Saltaire, is also home to the Wurlitzer Organ, Opus 2208, originally Installed in the Gaumont Cinema, Oldham, 1937. Members of the  Cinema Organ Society Northern Branch practice here regularly and welcome visitors. You may be lucky and hear them on your tour!

For more information see

Image courtesy of Tim Green aka atoach 

Shipley Glen Tramway walk


Shipley Glen Tramway

Walk Highlights:

  •  Ride on the Shipley Glen Tramway
  •  Explore the remains of the old rides on Bracken Hall Green
  •  Hear stories about the area’s colourful old characters

Meet at the Half Moon Cafe - a Grade 2 listed building in the beautifully restored Roberts Park (originally created by Titus Salt) – for a circular walk up Shipley Glen to Bracken Hall Green. Hear all about the area’s colourful old characters and their enterprising schemes while you take in the breath-taking views! This walk incorporates a ride either up or down the recently restored Shipley Glen Tramway. At the bottom you can visit the Tramway’s own museum –  see photographs of Victorian ladies enjoying the ‘Toboggan  Slide’!  Reminisce about the fondly remembered fun fair at the top of the Tramway. Find out more about how the Tramway works. Distance:  3 miles. Moderate. Image courtesy of Dates for this local history walk:

Date Meeting Point Time Book (click below to book)
***Please contact me for dates***


The Bronte Way to Moscow!

Moscow on the Bronte Way to Moscow

Moscow! – in Thornton

Walk Highlights:

  • Old Bell Chapel
  • Bronte Birthplace
  • Scenic walk around Doe Park Reservoir
  • Moscow – in Thornton!

A walk from the Old Bell Chapel, Thornton near Bradford, following in the footsteps of Patrick Bronte as he did his parish round, from Denholme to Moscow (in Thornton!). A beautiful scenic walk via Doe Park Reservoir.

Distance: 4.5 miles. Hard.

Dates for this local history walk:

Date Meeting Point Time Book (click below to book)
***Please contact me for dates***

image courtesy of Tim Green 

The Great Northern Trail: Thornton to Queensbury

Thornton Viaduct

Thornton Viaduct

Walk Highlights:

  • Thornton victorian viaduct
  • Elizabethan & seventeenth century Halls
  • ‘Queensbury Railway Triangle’
  • Scenic countryside

A walk from Thornton near Bradford, starting at the Great Northern Hotel, Thornton Road, along a section of the Great Northern Trail to the ‘Queensbury Triangle’, passing an Elizabethan manor house on the way. Return via the site of the Clayton Fireclay Works.

Distance: 3.5 miles. Hard

Dates for this walk:

Date Meeting Point Time Book (click below to book)
***Please contact me for dates***

image courtesy of Tim Green

 Thornton Village: Birthplace of the Brontes and more…

Footpath to Egypt Thornton village Bronte Country

Footpath to Egypt from Thornton village

Walk Highlights:

  • Corn and textile mills
  • Old Chapels & graveyards
  • Seventeenth century Manor House
  • Elizabethan hall
  • Old Thornton Grammar School

A variety of 1.5 – 2.00 hour walks around the old snickets and ginnels of this village near Bradford dating back to the eighteenth century. Or venture further afield into the lovely surrounding countryside where old houses have quaint names like Salt Pie, Thowt It and World’s End.

Distance: 3 – 4.00 miles. Easy to Hard

image courtesy of Tim Green 

for more info on Thornton village see

Dates for this walk:

Date Meeting Point Time Book (click below to book)
***Please contact me for dates***


Keighley at the time of the Brontes:

Keighley at the time of the Brontes
Keighley at the time of the Brontes

Walk Highlights:

  • The Parish and Methodist Churches
  • The Mechanics’ Institute
  • The first Carnegie Library
  • The Police museum

A walk around the Brontes’ nearest town, starting outside the Parish Church, to discover more about its turbulent history in the midst of the Industrial Revolution and since. Distance: 2 miles. Easy.   Dates for this local history walk:

Date Meeting Point Time Book (click below to book)
***Please contact me for dates***

Image courtesy of Keighley Shared Church

5 Responses to Town and City Heritage Walks

  1. Jeanne Matos

    I have just completed the Bronte Way to Moscow walk and it was most enjoyable. Helen you have a wealth of knowlwdge and it was so interesting. Although I live in this area, I had never done the full walk before, I have only mastered Doe Reservioir part so now I can boast that I have walked more of The Bronte Way. I will look forward to joining another of your brilliant walks. Thank you.

    • Helen

      Thank you, Jean, it’s nice of you to say so. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed taking you. More walks around the Thornton area coming up soon…!

  2. Mohammed layas

    Hi am from Bradford and always wanted 2 c Haworth and othe areas from ghers parts .i also want 2 join a walking club am al new 2 this but want 2 do this cos it’s the only way 2 c our lovely countryside and its histroy so if can help a new Comer 2 this walking and hiking it wud b appreciated.

  3. Barbara Wolkowitz

    Any walks on July 18, 19 or 20? Do you do walks around Hayworth?

  4. Ann-Marie Hulme

    Dear Helen
    Your name has been given to me by Nicola Pullen at Abbey House Museum Leeds as I am keen to find out about women’s suffrage activities in the Bradford area. Nicola tells me that you have researched the subject. My maternal grandmother b Bradford 1895 was a woollen mill worker and supporter of the movement. I would like to find out what rallies and events she might have attended.
    Any pointers would be most helpful.
    Many thanks

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