This area in our valley floor, known as Dead Eye Pond once formed part of the course of the River Aire, and in the 13th century it belonged to Bolton Abbey. It has belonged to Cononley Parish Council since 2001. In essence, it is more than just the pond, comprising also of surrounding land, and is successful in attracting wildlife to the area.
Prior to Parish Council ownership, Dead Eye Pond was owned by
Mr. and Mrs. James Throup who gave it to North Yorkshire County Council, by deed of gift, on 24 May 1989.
The idea behind this generous donation was that Cononley Primary School and South Craven Secondary School could use it for their curriculum studies. In the 1990s, South Craven students and parents from Cononley School spent much time and effort clearing the pond and fencing the land and providing gates for access. Plans were even drawn up for a landing stage jutting out into the pond, from which the students persue their studies. However, this did not materialise and both schools subsequently said that they did not wish to progress with the idea any further. So, after discussions with North Yorkshire County Council, the pond was bought by Cononley Parish Council for a nominal sum for use as a wild life area.
The pond is approached along Shady Lane and then a footpath 2 metres wide from Ings Lane. You can also gain access over a style from the South East corner but please be aware there is no right of way all the way round the field.
Great care should be taken at all times at the site and especially at breeding times when the swans can be very unfriendly!
Marten Lougee with
grateful thanks to David Gulliver.
Greater detail about the area can be found in:
The History of Cononley: An Airedale Village (2000) by Trevor Hodgson and David Gulliver