OS Explorer map 288, Bradford & Huddersfield: East Calderdale – I own this map, and had visited it before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 16th August 2021.
Google Maps location links: Milner Field
As regular readers may know, when driving to and from distant parts of Britain, where possible I like to try to break the journey at interesting places, rather than always motorway service stations and the like. (For a couple of previous examples, see my posts about Escomb or Dunfermline). My previous post told you of the holiday I took with my friends Erithacus, Millicent and Vesper, to Stanbury in the West Yorkshire moors; and as you’ve probably guessed by now, this post concerns a stop we made on the way home.
Bingley is a satellite town of Bradford, and I’m sure has plenty to recommend it. However, we didn’t venture into the town centre, as we were here for a specific purpose: to go to the site of the country house Milner Field, which was demolished in the 1950s, but whose ruins survive in a wood on the outskirts of Bingley. We parked up on a nondescript suburban road, and entered the wood – i.e., the old grounds of the house – passing the fancy gatehouse that still stands, now as a private dwelling (whose inhabitants, we noticed, were watching Gavin and Stacey as we passed). We then found ourselves on a wide straight track, technically private property with no public right of way, but which various sources (including the website of the local town council) told us is commonly used by the public as a route between Bingley and nearby Baildon.
Turning off that track and following a narrower path for a few minutes, we soon found ourselves at the ruins. I’d found Milner Field via its entry on the excellent travel website Atlas Obscura. Hundreds of country houses were demolished across Britain in the 20th century – so many so that there’s a Wikipedia page about it – but Milner Field isn’t just another one of these. No, the interesting thing about it is that it has a reputation for being cursed, after four successive owners owners met early death or personal tragedy within a few decades.
There isn’t much of the house left, but it was fun clambering over the various bits of scattered masonry that do remain as one of us read out about the house’s misfortunes, and descending a little way into the surviving cellar.
After a short explore of the wood, we headed back to the car and resumed our journey home. A fun little stop at the end of a great holiday!
Beside Bradford and Bingley, this map area also contains Huddersfield. A distant branch of my family lives up here – to be precise, the family of the wife of one of my cousins. I know I came to Huddersfield at least once as a child for some family function, but I have no idea when or what we did, so I have nothing to describe to you, I’m afraid!