Tranquil woodland in the heart of Skipton

© Skipton Town Council 2016

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about the wilderness

If you like nature, then you will like visiting the Wilderness.  Wilderness Beck meanders through the trees on its way to join the River Aire, with a footbridge and stepping-stones inviting you to cross.


Access is easy, and the gates are unlocked – so if you want to bat-watch at dusk, or listen to the dawn chorus, you can come in without hindrance.


This historic little patch of greenery was formerly the garden of Skipton’s first Grammar School, Ermysted’s. The garden itself dates from the 18th century and had a Shell Grotto, still there today though now in ruin.


Ermysted’s moved to Gargrave Road in 1876, and the old garden fell into total neglect.  In 1998 the town’s Civic Society, as a Millennium project, decided to rescue it and raised almost £30,000 to restore it to its original layout. In August 2000 it was formally handed over to the town.


The Friends of the Wilderness group was formed in 2008 to care for and maintain the area. We strive to hold a balance between what is essentially a ‘wild’ and natural area and managing this to ensure you can enjoy it in safety.


Do come and see it for yourself.

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