The Unitary Development Plan policy text offers
these descriptions of the local landscape.
||"The Wilsden character area is
a sheltered, settled landscape dominated by the three principal
settlements of Harden, Wilsden and Cullingworth which nestle
in the concave landform of sheltered hollows and dips.
Farmsteads are scattered throughout the landscape but are
often large, and extended with modern farm buildings. It is
a well wooded area with significant, sometimes dominant, mixed
plantations interspersed with actively farmed pasture, surrounded
predominantly by stone walls.
Parkland also contributes significantly to the landscape and
there are small outcrops of gritstone moorland around Harden
"Although Thornton/Queensbury is an area
of traditional pasture dominated landscape with scattered farmsteads,
its character has been urbanised by a proliferation of pylons
marching across the landscape. The farm units are often supported
by the dual economy system, whereby the marginal agricultural
infrastructure is supplemented by other land uses such as haulage,
storage of materials and riding stables."
These references do not describe the natural beauty
of the landscape, particularly as seen from the disused railway.
Alan Whitaker, journalist, railway historian, and
wildlife enthusiast, writes:
"The railway corridor provides important
habitat for wildlife. Rabbits, brown hares, squirrels, foxes and
hedgehogs are not uncommon. Weasels, stoats, fieldmice, voles
and shrews are seen less frequently. At dusk and dawn bats are
on the wing.
Many varieties of butterfly are to be seen including
less common species - Dark Green Fritillary, Comma, Painted Lady,
Green Hairstreak, Common Blue, and Brimstone. The six-spot Burnet
Moth is there by the score in late July/early August.
All common native birds are regularly spotted
and the more rarely seen Redstart, Tawny Owl. Barn Owl, Sparrowhawk,
Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Redpoll, Goldfinch,
Jay, Fieldfare, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush.
Wetland areas support modest populations of frogs,
toads and newts".
The railway trail will provide an important resource
for school field study trips. Bradford Urban Wildlife Trust is
represented on the Great Northern Railway Trail Forum and is willing
to advise on protecting and managing sensitive areas of habitat.