Overlooking the town of Ilkley, Ilkley Moor is an icon of the southern Dales. Giant boulders and rocky outcrops jut out across an elevated plain strewn with heather, wild flowers and walking trails. It’s starkly beautiful. Some may know it by name thanks to the old Yorkshire anthem On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at (On Ilkley Moor Without a Hat), but it’s also instantly recognisable from its many on-screen appearances. Most recently, it features in the 2020 feature film Say Your Prayers starring Derek Jacobi.
Ilkley Moor is part of the South Pennines Special Protection Area, home to cuckoos and owls’ nests, important heather moorland and even Bronze Age archaeological sites. One of the most popular areas of the moor – and a filming location for countless productions including recently Say Your Prayers and the fourth series of Kay Mellor’s The Syndicate – is the Cow and Calf Rocks, where a steep trail leads through a valley of ancient, tall rocks to an exposed headland.
Over the years Ilkley Moor has featured in dozens of films and TV shows, including Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Meaning of Life, Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette’s Miss You Already, DCI Banks, Calendar Girls, Gunpowder, Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell and Ghost Stories.