Shipley Glen

  • Glen Road, Baildon, Shipley, BD17 5EA
  • Car parking
  • Nature reserve
  • River
  • Walking routes
  • Wildlife

Glen Road, Baildon, Shipley, BD17 5EA

Shipley Glen is a diverse site full of contrasting yet complementing habitats.

What’s on

Check the calendar for upcoming events and activities.

What’s there

Shipley Glen comprises steep slopes above Loadpit Beck covered in ancient semi-natural woodland and heathland upon the plateau.  The site is a dominant component of a long sweeping south/west-facing woodland area stretching for over 2.5km.  Grazed by livestock until relatively recent times the open structure of the heath is now reverting to woodland as pioneer species such as birch move in.


Shipley Glen is rich in archaeology and recent surveys have found evidence of historic charcoal making platforms on the wooded slopes.  The area was an extremely popular destination in the late 1800s as thousands of local people visited the open countryside and, at the time, its theme park.

Natural history

There are three species of woodpecker resident in the UK and they can all be found at Shipley Glen.  The smallest and most elusive, the lesser spotted woodpecker, is in steep decline across the country.  If you’re very lucky you may see them nesting in the local vicinity.

Wood chippings are thrown to the wind as the male lesser spotted woodpecker excavates a nest hole in a dead tree. Photograph: Andrew Cutts

Green woodpeckers feed on meadow ants and this is why they’re often seen on the ground.  Listen for the distinctive “laughing” call which indicates their presence.

Invertebrates play an extremely important role in the woodland of Shipley Glen.  They provide food for the woodpeckers plus numerous other birds and insectivorous mammals such as shrews, moles, hedgehogs and bats.  This wide-ranging suite of animals lacking back bones includes pollinators and detritivores.  The latter assist in the breakdown of deadwood allowing nutrients to return to the soil.  Pollinators not only include the obvious bees but also wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, and beetles.  Many of these can be found in the local area as adults on the wing or as larvae.  Carrying a hand lens on a walk can help open up a new world on a miniature yet astounding scale.