Healing Well: OS Grid Reference – SE 12797 39277
Best reached by going up Shipley Glen, to the Brackenhall Circle enclosure; keep going for a couple of hundred yards and then drop down into the trees, taking the directions directly to the Cloven Hoof Well. Just past the well, a small footpath leads you downhill towards the large stream at the bottom, where there’s a rocky crossing (an old ford). Go over here and, barely 50 yards upstream to your right, a large singular moss-covered boulder is set back, just a few yards above the stream with a small pool in front of it. That’s it!
Archaeology & History
The ‘directions’ to find this might seem a little confusing to locals at first. This is because the whereabouts of the Wood Well is on the eastern boundary edge of Gilstead – which is down at the bottom of Shipley Glen. The steep muddy hill above it is almost always slippy and wet through, so it’s easiest to approach from the Baildon side.
The site is shown on the 1852 map of the area, but I can find no written material telling of its qualities. If it ever had any medicinal virtues, they have long since been forgotten. Whilst the water here is fresh and drinkable, in times of drought and low rainfall the water subsides and leaves only a muddy pool – just as it was when I last visited, making it quite undrinkable. But to me, the main aspect of this site is its natural spirit, its locale, as it’s surrounded by unerring hues of rich greens, cast out by the landscape of mosses prevalent in a region almost bereft of such voices. If you like y’ wells – check it out!
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian