After miles of monotonous motoring, there’s nothing better for the weary wanderer than seeing a familiar landmark appearing on the horizon.
It’s a subjective issue, and everyone will have their own favourites, but here are seven sights that make me realise I’m arriving back in West Yorkshire or driving into Bradford.
Farm in the middle of M62
After a trip over the Pennines, you’re travelling along the best thing to come out of Lancashire – the M62 (the old ones are the best ones). Suddenly, the carriageways split and, slap bang in the middle of the two, is the legendary Stott Hall Farm - seen for half a century as a proud testament to Yorkshire bloody mindedness.
Many a passing motorists has attributed the unusual sight to a stubborn farm owner who refused to sell his land when plans were approved for the motorway in the 1960s.
However, accounts emerging in recent years suggest the motorway had to be built around the farmhouse because a geological fault beneath.
Red Bridge on Manchester Road
As you roll down Manchester Road, you know the city centre is creeping closer when the big red bridge appears into view. Nearly a decade ago, alternative transport charity Sustrans teamed up with Bradford Council to create the spectacular bridge and give a safe link for walkers and cyclists.
The £1.5m to build the bridge came from the Big Lottery Fund Grant, with some sceptics questioning the expenditure at the time. However, it has taken its place as a noteworthy landmark on a key gateway.
Damart Chimney, Bingley
With canal, railway and road running alongside each other, the journey along the Bingley Bypass is a spectacular one. A landmark dominating the view is the Grade II listed Bowling Green Mills, which occupies a prominent spot on the curve of the canal as it enters the town centre.
Currently occupied by Damart, the mill and its adjoining blackened chimney are a familiar sight to travellers returning to Bradford through the Aire Valley corridor.
Lister Mills, Manningham
Sitting on relatively high ground and with a chimney that’s 249 feet tall, Lister Mills can be seen as you approach Bradford from many directions.
Several other mills in the district – Salts, Black Dyke, Dalton – are landmarks in their own right, but nothing symbolises a return to Bradford quite like Lister Mills – once the largest silk factory in the world.
After a long jaunt back north along the M1, the appearance of Emley Moor makes the heart leap and something inside you shouts ‘West Yorkshire - I must be nearly home.’
The Emley Moor transmitting station is a telecommunications and broadcasting facility between Huddersfield and Wakefield. Its 1,084-foot-tall concrete tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the UK and has been seen by many a returning Yorkshireman.
Low Moor industrial scene
You’ve negotiated the busy Bailiff Bridge crossroads, got through Wyke’s notorious Hellfire Crossroads and now you’re heading into Low Moor on the A641. Suddenly, a glance to the right reveals a panorama across a vast industrial scene, much of which is occupied by Solenis, after a merger with BASF early last year.
Photo by Stephen Garnett
The imposing buildings have provided work for generations or Bradfordians and are unquestionably a landmark on the approach from Calderdale. Half a mile further on, the mill memorial wheel in New Works Road leaves motorists in little doubt as to the area’s industrial heritage.
High Point, top of town
Surely one of Bradford’s most divisive landmarks, this imposing skyline structure was originally erected in the 1970s as the headquarters of the Yorkshire Building Society and represents a bygone era of “brutalism” architecture. Love it or hate it, you can’t miss it and you know you’re back in Bradford as soon as you see it.
And it looks set to remain on the skyline for years to come after the recent announcement of plans to refurbish the long empty Westgate building.
Proposals would see the building converted from office space into an apartment complex.
This was not meant as a study of the district's finest buildings (City Hall, the Alhambra and the Wool Exchange would clearly have been on that list), but more as a look at those structures that 'jump out' at you during a car journey and provide a talking point - good or bad. They're the things that remind you home is near as you return from a holiday, watching a sporting event or concert in London, or perhaps it was a lengthy business trip.