Road developments

Prior to the building of the Aire valley trunk road in 1990, the main road through Steeton was built in 1782. The Keighley & Kendal Turnpike Trust (formed in 1753) was responsible for these road improvements, and collected tolls at Toll Bars to finance them They were located at Steeton Cross (at the bottom of High Street) from 1753 until 1782, then at Bar House Lane in Utley from 1782 until 1823, and finally at Hawkcliffe Cottage from 1823 until 1878.

The Turnpike road replaced the Old Bank road, which came from Keighley along Spring Gardens, and Hollins Lane. into the village down High Street, along Chapel Road, Pott Lane and on to the Lyon at Eastburn. As well as being the main Keighley – Skipton road.

This was extensively used before the industrial revolution as the “pack horse route” joining the wool producing areas around Colne and Skipton with the weaving and spinning centres of Halifax and Keighley.

In 1782 the main road altered its course down Bar House Lane at Utley and along its present route through the village. In 1825 the turnpike was removed from this stretch of road and the main road from Keighley via Utley to Steeton was completed with the Bar House moving to Hawkcliffe.

Another route that had fallen into disuse by the middle of the 19th century was called Wood Street. Wood Street was a bridleway that led directly northwards from roughly what is now the entrance to Airedale Hospital. The bridleway crossed the then main Keighley-Skipton road at a place called Nanny Grave Hill (the site of a 17th century suicide), where Pott Lane met Lyon Lane, and continued northwards, fording the river Aire and continuing up the far hillside to Kildwick Grange.

The road to Silsden, now called Station road, has also followed a number of routes as it follows its course towards Silsden. It originally went far closer to Steeton Hall, before snaking towards Kildwick, and fording the river Aire to the west of where Steeton beck joins the river. This is about 50 yards up-stream of the current bridge, at a place that was called “The Streams”. While horse-drawn carts & wagons had to ford the river (or travel around via Kildwick if the river was too deep), there was a footbridge, near the point where Steeton beck flows into the river Aire.

With the coming of the railway in the mid 19th century the road from Steeton top to Silsden altered it course further away from Steeton Hall, and directly towards the Station. Evidence of this can be seen by looking at the gardens of the houses at the top of Station Road; the old houses date from 1732 and indicate the path of the older road, but the newer route for the road veers away to the right. At this time the road crossed the railway at a level crossing, but in 1990 when the dual-carriageway along the valley was built the course of Station road was again altered: taking it slightly to the west and over the railway on a new bridge.