Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
22nd January, 2007
I WROTE an illustrated town trail, Around Old Horbury, nine years ago then I did one of my ‘Sushi Sketchbooks’ on Four Corners of Horbury two years ago, but while researching my new Walks Around Horbury, I’m still finding parts of the town and its surrounding to explore and draw.
I’ve taken St Peter’s Church as the starting and finishing point for each of the walks. The neoclassical church, built in sandstone, is in the background in this drawing, which I made from the Tithe Barn Street car park on Saturday morning. I was waiting for Barbara to come back with the last bits of our shopping and, as usually happens in Horbury, she saw someone she knows, giving me more time on the sketch than I’d expected.
The roofs in front are those around Ring O’Bells yard, named after a pub which once stood opposite the church. The Tithe Barn Street car park played an important part in the town’s history: it was the graveyard until the nineteenth century. With the expansion of the town in that century it’s not surprising that they needed to make further provision for burials but this plot on Tithe Barn Street still seems too small as a burial ground for the town, even when you add the churchyard not far away. Some of the memorials and most of the remains were transferred to the new cemetery in the 20th century.
My final walk for my booklet follows this riverside path behind old mills (above, right) and for the more adventurous there’s a chance to explore this tunnel beneath the railway at the bottom of Quarry Hill.
The tunnel is a right of way but to get into it I had to climb over an old
fridge, step in a pink acrylic bath and pick my way over car tyre stepping stones.
I gave up when I got to a patch of sticky mud and deep puddles. Originally the
floor was paved with Yorkshire stone flags and the children called it ‘Echo
Tunnel’ but the flags were stolen many years ago and the echo
isn’t what it used to be.