The Countryside: One of the delights of Baildon is its rural setting. It has much common land, now owned by Bradford Council. On it the public have rights of ‘air and exercise’ and the owners or lessees of certain property are entitled to graze animals. The common land includes the Moor, Bracken Hall Green, Trench Wood, Baildon Green, Baildon Bank, Midgeley Wood and Brook Hill. These areas are a valuable recreational resource and there is an extensive rights of way network, which has recently been signposted.
The Moor was the site of industrial activity in earlier times. The numerous round depressions are the remains of bell pits from which coal and ironstone were extracted. The flagged track down the side of the Golf Course was originally built for coal wagons.
There are sites of special scientific interest (S.S.I.s) on the Moor and Shipley Glen, at Hawksworth Spring Wood and near Tong Park Dam.
Council land is ably managed by the Countryside Service, whose work, apart from general care of the environment, includes guided walks, courses in practical conservation, working with community and volunteer groups and loan of tools to schools and groups.
To a visitor Baildon Bank is spectacular. Much of the exposed grit stone sandstone cliff face is the result of quarrying and lower down are spoil heaps left by the quarrymen. Nowadays the Bank is famous among climbers. David Musgrove of the British Mountaineering Council says it is where magnificent quarried grit stone cracks and flared arches rise majestically to meet stout elms, oak and sycamore rivalling the very best this fair isle can offer.
Shipley Glen includes Trench Wood and the flat area above it, Bracken Hall Green.
Bracken Hall Countryside Centre - one of six Bradford Council Museums - offers displays (some interactive) on the ecology, geology and history of the area, appealing to all age groups. There are special activities on Wednesdays and Sundays. Group visits can be arranged and National Curriculum based studies are available.
Shipley Glen, which until quite recently had a Pleasure Ground and Funfair can be reached from Saltaire and Baildon Green on the Glen Tramway, Britain's oldest working cable railway, built in 1895. At that time the local Aire Valley would have been black with smoke from mills and domestic chimneys. A trip to the Glen was a holiday for the masses who worked there. At one time 17,000 people used the Tramway in a single day. Now the Friends of the Glen Tramway Group look after and work on the Tramway.