Work on the new paving at The Wells is now complete and we’d like to thank the contractor (Jet Aire) who has done an excellent job – although they now think it constantly rains in Guiseley as it has never stopped for the two weeks they have been working here !!
The work was paid for by the Developer of Springhead Mills (Linden Homes) as part of their planning agreement and organized by The Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum, Incredible Edible Aireborough, and Guiseley Wells Society, with input from a variety of people including Codswallop CIC, St Oswalds Church, MAS Design, Paul Tomlinson Landscapes, Guiseley in Bloom, and ward Councillors, in conjunction with LCC’s Highways, Section 38 and City of Culture Teams.
A temporary barrier has been put around the area until new planters and bench can be installed after Christmas. Parking on this area is not allowed, it is a pedestrian area.
The Wells also known as the Springs is one of the most ancient features in Guiseley. It was traditionally an open area on the corner of The Green pouring forth an abundant water supply into a beck flowing across Well Lane and into a stone trough, before crossing the Green to eventually join up with Tranmire Beck, on its way to Guiseley Beck and the Aire. An analysis of the water shows that it still contains glacial microbes.
Springhead Mills (used for scribbling and fulling) which opened in 1842 used the water to power its steam engine. In times past, wells provided not only a source of clean water but also a meeting place; two prehistoric tracks cross in the area. In neolithic times springs in ‘interesting landscape’ were frequently sites of religious veneration. It is highly likely that the Springs are the reason for both the growth of the site of the Parish Church and also the surrounding settlement, which sits on an arc of higher ground around the site; old texts talk about trees lining the ridge above the Wells and fields behind with violets and primroses. There is a paper on the historic wells of West Yorkshire by Dave Weldrake here.
The Wells themselves were restored by the Guiseley Wells Society in 2000 with a lot of hard work from volunteers and funding from the Lottery and Aireborough Rotary Club. The team uncovered centuries of old paving and original water chambers. Rain meant that the restoration took 18 months, with The Wells finally opened again in 2001 with a Christian blessing ceremony. The Guiseley Wells Society have looked after the wells ever since and are always pleased to have new volunteers to carry on the work. You can contact Geoff Brook on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Future ideas for the development of the area include thoughts on how to tackle the traffic problems and improve drainage ( it is estimated that water through the Wells flows at at a rate of 60 million gallons a year) but these are still on the drawing board and will be subject to public consultation.