What are the best bits?
Druid’s Altar. Long believed to have been used for druid’s ceremonies, the Altar is a jumble of flat-topped gritstone rocks. It was featured in Disraeli’s novel Sybil as the place where revolutionary trade unionists met. The Aire Valley stretches out below you, the noise of the traffic echoing up to the lofty perch despite its distance. The altar is located a 100-yard walk to the north of the stone mounting block on Altar Lane (see directions).
St Ives Estate. The estate is most closely associated with the Ferrand family which owned it for nearly three centuries from 1636. The family were responsible for the Jacobean mansion to the rear of the present building as well as the later 17th century buildings including the chapel. Later generations provided the estate with the Home Farm buildings, exotic gardens and water features that makes the estate so intriguing.
The previous owner until the Dissolution of the Monasteries was the Church but the estate dates back to earlier times as evidenced by stone tools found near the Druid’s Altar. St Ives was gifted to the council in 1928. The visitor and education centre is open from 11am to 3pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Goit Stock waterfalls. Leave your bike beside the footbridge at Hallas Bridge and walk downstream for about 50 yards and you will find the two Goit Stock waterfalls. Take care descending. The handrail on the rocks is more something you hang from rather than lean on. The mill a similar distance upstream of the footbridge is worth a quick look too.