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West Yorkshire
County
West Yorkshire within England
West Yorkshire in England
Coordinates: Template:Coord/display/title, inline
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Established 1 April 1974
Preceded by West Riding of Yorkshire
Origin Local Government Act 1972
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Ingrid Roscoe
High Sheriff Ed Anderson
Area 2,029 km2 (783 sq mi)
 • Ranked 29th of 48
Population (2005 est.) 2,118,600
 • Ranked 4th of 48
Density 1,044/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
Ethnicity 81.8% White
11.6% S. Asian
2.1% Mixed
2.1% Black
2.4% Other
Metropolitan county
Government West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Admin HQ Leeds
ONS code 2F
GSS code E11000006
NUTS UKE4
Website www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk
West Yorkshire numbered districts.svg
Districts of West Yorkshire
Metropolitan districts
Districts
  1. City of Leeds
  2. City of Wakefield
  3. Kirklees
  4. Calderdale
  5. City of Bradford
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police West Yorkshire Police
Time zone GMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)

West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in England. It is an inland and in relative terms upland county having eastward-draining valleys while taking in moors of the Pennines and has a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972.

West Yorkshire consists of five metropolitan boroughs (City of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, City of Leeds and City of Wakefield) and shares borders with the counties of Derbyshire (briefly to the south), Greater Manchester (to the south-west), Lancashire (to the north-west), North Yorkshire (to the north and east) and South Yorkshire (to the south and south-east). Seams of coal and iron ore abound in the county which attracted people over the centuries – the greatest hub in the area is Leeds which may become a terminus for a north-east limb of High Speed 2, major railways and three major motorways traverse the county. In the heart of the county is Leeds Bradford International Airport.

West Yorkshire County Council was abolished in 1986 so its five districts became effectively unitary authorities. However, the metropolitan county, which covers an area of 2,029 square kilometres (783 sq mi), continues to exist in law, and as a geographic frame of reference. Since 1 April 2014 West Yorkshire has been a combined authority area, with the local authorities pooling together some functions over transport and regeneration as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

West Yorkshire includes the West Yorkshire Urban Area, which is the most built-up and biggest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire.

History

See also: History of Leeds and History of Yorkshire
KirkstallAbbey
Kirkstall Abbey, Kirkstall, Leeds

West Yorkshire was formed as a metropolitan county in 1974, by the Local Government Act 1972, and corresponds roughly to the core of the historic West Riding of Yorkshire and the county boroughs of Bradford, Dewsbury, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, and Wakefield.

West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council inherited the use of West Riding County Hall at Wakefield, opened in 1898, from the West Riding County Council in 1974. Since 1987 it has been the headquarters of Wakefield City Council.

The county initially had a two-tier structure of local government with a strategic-level county council and five districts providing most services. In 1986, throughout England the metropolitan county councils were abolished. The functions of the county council were devolved to the boroughs; joint-boards covering fire, police and public transport; and to other special joint arrangements. Organisations such as the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (governed by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner) continue to operate on this basis.

Although the county council was abolished, West Yorkshire continues to form a metropolitan and ceremonial county with a Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and a High Sheriff.

Wakefield's Parish Church was raised to cathedral status in 1888 and after the elevation of Wakefield to diocese, Wakefield Council immediately sought city status and this was granted in July 1888. However the industrial revolution, which changed West and South Yorkshire significantly, led to the growth of Leeds and Bradford, which became the area's two largest cities (Leeds being the largest in Yorkshire). Leeds was granted city status in 1893 and Bradford in 1897. The name of Leeds Town Hall reflects the fact that at its opening in 1858 Leeds was not yet a city, while Bradford renamed its Town Hall as City Hall in 1965.

post-1974 pre-1974
Metropolitan county Metropolitan borough County boroughs Non-county boroughs Urban districts Rural districts
West Yorkshire County.png
West Yorkshire is an amalgamation of 53 former local government districts, including six county boroughs and ten municipal boroughs.
Bradford Bradford Keighley Baildon • Bingley • Denholme • Ilkley • Queensbury and Shelf •Silsden • Shipley Skipton
Calderdale Halifax Brighouse • Todmorden Elland • Hebden Royd • Queensbury and Shelf • Ripponden • Sowerby Bridge
Kirklees Huddersfield • Dewsbury Batley • Spenborough Colne Valley • Denby Dale • Heckmondwike • Holmfirth • Kirkburton • Meltham • Mirfield
Leeds Leeds Morley • Pudsey Aireborough • Garforth • Horsforth • Otley • Rothwell Tadcaster • Wharfedale • Wetherby
Wakefield Wakefield Castleford • Ossett • Pontefract Featherstone • Hemsworth • Horbury • Knottingley • Normanton • Stanley Hemsworth • Osgoldcross • Wakefield

Geography

Yorksgeology
Geology of Yorkshire

The county borders, going anticlockwise from the west: Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire. It lies almost entirely on rocks of carboniferous age which form the southern Pennine fringes in the west and the Yorkshire coalfield further eastwards. In the extreme east of the metropolitan county there are younger deposits of magnesian limestone. The Bradford and Calderdale areas are dominated by the scenery of the eastern slopes of the Pennines, dropping from upland in the west down to the east, and dissected by numerous steep-sided valleys. There is a close conjunction of large scale industry, urban areas and transport routes with open countryside. The dense network of roads, canals and railways and urban development, confined by valleys creates dramatic interplay of views between settlements and the surrounding hillsides.

The carboniferous rocks of the Yorkshire coalfield further east have produced a rolling landscape with hills, escarpments and broad valleys. In this landscape there is widespread evidence of both current and former industrial activity. There are numerous derelict or converted mine buildings and recently landscaped former spoil heaps.

In the magnesian limestone belt to the east of the Leeds and Wakefield areas is an elevated ridge with smoothly rolling scenery, dissected by dry valleys. Here, there is a large number of country houses and estates with parkland, estate woodlands, plantations and game coverts.

The rivers Aire and Calder drain the area, flowing from west to east.

The table below outlines many of the county's settlements, and is formatted according to their metropolitan borough.

Metropolitan county Metropolitan borough Centre of administration Other places
West Yorkshire City of Bradford WYorks-Bradford.png Bradford Addingham, Baildon, Bingley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Cottingley, Crossflatts, Cullingworth, Denholme, East and West Morton, Eccleshill, Eldwick, Esholt, Gilstead, Harden, Haworth, Ilkley, Keighley, Menston, Oakworth, Oxenhope, Queensbury, Riddlesden, Saltaire, Sandy Lane, Shipley, Silsden, Stanbury, Steeton, Thornbury, Thornton, Tong, Undercliffe, Wilsden
Calderdale WYorks-Calderdale.png Halifax Bailiff Bridge, Boothtown, Brighouse, Copley, Cragg Vale, Elland, Greetland, Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Hipperholme, Holywell Green, Luddendenfoot, Mytholmroyd, Norwood Green, Rastrick, Ripponden, Shelf, Shibden, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden
Kirklees WYorks-Kirklees.png Huddersfield Almondbury, Batley, Birkby, Birkenshaw, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Dalton, Denby Dale, Dewsbury, Emley, Golcar, Gomersal, Hartshead, Hartshead Moor, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Honley, Kirkburton, Kirkheaton, Linthwaite, Liversedge, Marsden, Meltham, Mirfield, New Mill, Norristhorpe, Roberttown, Scammonden, Shelley, Shepley, Skelmanthorpe, Slaithwaite, Thornhill
City of Leeds WYorks-Leeds.png Leeds Allerton Bywater, Beeston, Boston Spa, Collingham, Garforth, Guiseley, Harewood, Headingley, Holbeck, Horsforth, Kippax, Kirkstall, Ledsham, Ledston, Methley, Middleton, Morley, New Farnley, Otley, Oulton, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Pudsey, Rothwell, Rawdon, Scarcroft, Scholes, Stourton, Swillington, Walton (Leeds), Wetherby, Yeadon
City of Wakefield WYorks-Wakefield.png Wakefield Ackworth, Alverthorpe, Castleford, Crigglestone, Crofton, Durkar, Fairburn Ings, Featherstone, Ferrybridge, Fitzwilliam, Hemsworth, Horbury, Knottingley, Newmillerdam, Normanton, Nostell, Ossett, Outwood, Pontefract, Ryhill, Sandal, Sharlston, Stanley, Walton (Wakefield), West Bretton

Climate

West Yorkshire has an Oceanic climate, similar to almost all the United Kingdom. West Yorkshire tends to be cooler than counties further south, due to the inland location and high elevation (especially in the west of the county), and snow is common, as are sub-zero temperatures. In December 2010, many rivers in West Yorkshire froze over, such as the River Wharfe and River Aire.

Temperatures vary throughout the year, often sometimes reaching 30 °C (86 °F), and in winter temperatures have been reported to fall as low as −16 °C (3 °F) (as in December 2010), but in general they remain between −1 °C (30 °F) and 20 °C (68 °F) all year.

Climate data for West Yorkshire
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5
(41)
5
(41)
8
(46)
11
(52)
15
(59)
18
(64)
19
(66)
19
(66)
17
(63)
13
(55)
8
(46)
6
(43)
12
(53.6)
Average low °C (°F) 0
(32)
0
(32)
1
(34)
3
(37)
5
(41)
8
(46)
10
(50)
10
(50)
8
(46)
6
(43)
2
(36)
1
(34)
4.5
(40.1)
Rainfall mm (inches) 61
(2.4)
45
(1.77)
52
(2.05)
48
(1.89)
54
(2.13)
54
(2.13)
51
(2.01)
65
(2.56)
57
(2.24)
55
(2.17)
57
(2.24)
61
(2.4)
660
(25.98)
Source #1: www.worldtravels.com
Source #2: www.wunderground.com

Demography

See also: List of settlements in West Yorkshire by population
District Area km2 Population Population density
City of Bradford 366.42 523,100 1,346
Calderdale 363.92 200,100 545
Kirklees 408.61 401,000 975
City of Leeds 551.72 761,100 1,360
City of Wakefield 338.61 321,600 949
Population Density West Yorkshire 2011 Census
Population density in the 2011 census in West Yorkshire.
Distribution of ethnic groups in West Yorkshire according to the 2011 census.
White 
White-British 
White-Irish 
White-Other 
Asian 
Asian-Indian 
Asian-Pakistani 
Asian-Bangladeshi 
Asian-Chinese 
Black 
Black-African 
Black-Caribbean 
Other-Arab 
Distribution of religions in West Yorkshire according to the 2011 census.
Christianity 
Islam 
Judaism 
Hinduism 
Sikhism 
Buddhism 
Other religion 
No religion 

Transport

West Yorkshire lies in arguably the most strategic part of Yorkshire: the M62, M1 and the A1(M) pass through the county, as well as the internal urban motorways in Leeds and Bradford. West Yorkshire has two mainline railway stations, Leeds and Wakefield Westgate. Leeds railway station is the only Network Rail principal station in Yorkshire and North East England, and one of only three in the North of England along with Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street. Other important railway stations in West Yorkshire include Bradford Interchange, Bradford Forster Square, Huddersfield, Halifax, Dewsbury, Keighley and Shipley. West Yorkshire also has Yorkshire's largest airport, Leeds Bradford International Airport.

Unlike South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire has no light transit system; the Leeds Supertram was proposed, but was later cancelled after the withdrawal of government funding; the Leeds Trolleybus is the current proposed scheme. Public transport is run under the authority of the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (Metro).

Places of interest

Historic environment

See also: List of Museums in West Yorkshire, List of historic houses in West Yorkshire, and List of castles in West Yorkshire
Key
National Trust Owned by the National Trust
English Heritage Owned by English Heritage
Forestry Commission Owned by the Forestry Commission
Country Park A Country Park
Accessible open space An Accessible open space
Museum (free) Museum (free)
Museum Museum (charges entry fee)
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
  • Bretton Hall
  • Cartwright Hall
  • Cliffe Hall, also known as Cliffe Castle, Keighley
  • East Riddlesden Hall Historic House NTE icon.svg
  • Esholt Hall, Esholt
  • Firsby Hall
  • Harewood House Historic House
  • Kershaw House
  • Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Heritage Railway
  • Kirklees Hall/Priory Historic House
  • Kirkstall Abbey Abbey
  • Roman Lagentium (Castleford)
  • Ledston Hall, Ledston
  • Linthwaite Hall, Linthwaite
  • Linton Hall
  • Lister Park, Bradford
  • Lotherton Hall
  • Middleton Railway, the world's oldest steam railway
  • Nostell Priory Historic House NTE icon.svg
  • Oakwell Hall
  • Oulton Hall, Oulton
  • Piece Hall, Halifax
  • Pontefract Castle Castle
  • Pontefract Priory, Pontefract Abbey
  • Queen's Park, Castleford
  • Roundhay Park Leeds
  • Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Sandal Castle Castle
  • Scarcroft Watermill, Scarcroft
  • Shelley Hall, Shelley
  • Shibden Hall
  • Shipley Glen Tramway
  • Tong Hall, Tong
  • Wetherby Castle, Wetherby Castle
Harewood House, seen from the garden
Harewood House
SandalCastleWall
Sandal Castle

Museums

Leeds-RA-01
Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds: Looking up the main stairwell

Natural environment

EmleyMoorMastSpring2006
Emley Moor Mast
  • Emley Moor, site of the tallest self-supporting structure in the UK (a TV mast)
  • Harewood Estate – Leeds Country Way public footpath runs through the estate, beautiful landscaped gardens and home to Red Kites amongst many other birds
  • Ilkley Moor, part of Rombalds Moor
  • New Swillington Ings Nature Reserve
  • Otley Chevin – extensive wooded parkland on high ground with extensive views North over Wharfedale and South as far as the Peak District
  • RSPB Fairburn Ings – wetland centre for birds
  • Seckar Woods LNR, a Local Nature Reserve
  • Walton Hall, West Yorkshire, home of naturalist Charles Waterton and the world's first nature reserve

Waterways

Clarence Dock Leeds
Clarence Dock in Leeds
  • Scammonden Reservoir, Deanhead Reservoir – both in the moors near Ripponden
  • River Aire, River Calder, River Hebble, River Spen, River Worth
  • Aire and Calder Navigation
  • Calder and Hebble Navigation
  • Huddersfield Broad Canal
  • Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Standedge Tunnel
  • Leeds and Liverpool Canal
  • Rochdale Canal

Images for kids


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