When I first stumbled across this piece of land in Kirkstall in 2014 it was a bit of a mystery to me, writes Mark Stevenson.
Ribbons were tied to the tree branches, some with little charms on, even a small ‘stone circle’, of sorts numerous beehives and some farm machinery and to top it off two metal posts on the river bank.
I then noticed the old mill with tunnels underneath it which turned out to be Burley Mills Main Range, built around 1799. It is Grade ll Listed.
The tunnels beneath the mill were for the goit to flow through. The goit itself dates from the 1700’s. The goit makes this piece of land in Kirkstall into an island – indeed, it was called as such in the 1840s.
The island was owned by the Earl of Cardigan and leased by Sir Graham Sandford but was occupied by John Howard, who was the owner/occupier of Burley Mills at the time.
The island was split into four plots. Two of these plots were called Upper Daniel Ing, the other two Lower Daniel Ing and the Island.
Those two metal posts I mentioned were part of the old Benjamin Gott footbridge that he built for his workers at Burley Mills around the 1850’s.
It stood until 1954 when it was destroyed in a storm.
There is a similar bridge up river near Esholt that gives you an idea of how it might have looked.
Who owns all those beehives? They’ve seen better days!