CORNER OF YORKSHIRE:
White Wells, Ilkley Moor
A perennial of Yorkshire calendars, White Wells is a spa bath on the side of Ilkley Moor and a place of virtual pilgrimage for proud Tykes thanks to On Ilkla’ Moor Baht ’at, especially on Yorkshire Day. It was established around 1760 when three plunge pools were installed below a natural moorland spring, by the local Middleton family to provide a health remedy the “cold water cure.” Originally, walls enclosed the pools on three sides before today’s whitewashed cottage was built. The water’s medicinal qualities were e legendary. A shepherd’s injured leg was said to have been healed after bathing it in a pool. Others claimed it cured blindness and tumours. Famous visitors in Victorian times included Charles Darwin and the composer Frederick Delius. Later analysis concluded the water had no medicinal qualities but praised its purity and softness. Today there is an annual tradition of people using the freezing cold plunge pool on New Year’s Day.