SIR, - I was very pleased to hear that Mr Ken Cooke had come up with the idea of seeing whether or not the National Trust would take over the ownership of Ilkley Moor, in the light of Bradford Met being apparently unable to manage the moor any longer.

I think it would be a very good thing to have a trust' presence in this part of the world and a boon to Ilkley as well. There is, though just one obstacle to this notion, though it may not be insurmountable.

The National Trust, in spite of appearances, plus being the nation's largest landowner, is not over-funded with money, and a considerable endowment might be needed for it to be able to take over the moor.

Yes, the trust is able to raise large amounts of cash due to the largesse of its supporters, membership subscriptions, and admissions at its many properties etc, but these monies are very quickly ploughed back into the conservation and maintenance work on each individual estate, and Ilkley moor would be something new to be undertaken.

However, it may be that some sort of appeal could be launched, as was done when Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal was acquired.

Having the National Trust as owners of the moor would be a good thing for the locals as well, because the trust has a great dependency on willing volunteers for all sorts of tasks,.

So, as Frazer Irwin says in his last letter, it would give us all the chance to polish up our spades and show we mean business.

Being a life member and a long standing volunteer for the National Trust at its properties at both Fountains Abbey and Brimham Rocks, I can tell you that volunteering for the trust is very rewarding and gives one an inner sense of peace and satisfaction at the idea of helping to preserve our heritage for the nation.

The trust also looks after its volunteers and keeps them fully informed on everything.

I believe that it is only the National Trust that can save the moor. It has the expertise and the abilities on a nationwide front to raise the funds to do the job in a better manner than a small local body, however well meant.

I do not doubt for a minute that the people concerned are well intentioned, but if it can be persuaded to do so, I heartily agree with Mr Cooke that the National Trust is the answer, and for me it would be very gratifying to see those famous Omega signs appear on the Moor.

C S Hartley 41 St Peter's Way,Menston.

Moor unique

SIR, - It was with horror that I read last week's report in respect of the future of Ilkley Moor.

Our moor is unique and gives hugepleasure to thousands of people. There is a sense of freedom never felt in so many areas managed formally for visitors.

One of the worst of these is the top of Sutton Bank, near Thirsk in North Yorkshire, where the North Yorkshire Moors authority seems to ensure that no-one can get out to breathe the air without paying to stop to do so.

Brimham Rocks, under the auspices of the National Trust, creates a similar situation. There is no comparison wit Ilkley Moor.

In 1893, the moor, together with Hebers Ghyll, Hollin Hall Moor, the allotments, Silver Well Farm, Panorama Rocks, together with mineral water and sporting rights, was acquired by the Local Board from the Middleton family at a sympthetic price due to their affection for the town'.

As common land, covered by the Law of Property Act 1925, it has given rights of access to generations of West Yorkshire people. Are we going to be a party to allowing this to stop?

As far back as 1974, and several times since, reports have been produced stressing the need for work to be carried out.

Countryside officers have made much progress, especially in respect of paths and some ditching, but the loss of sporting rights stripped much income from its upkeep and contributed to the neglect of bracken control.

Given the huge Council Tax contribution from Ilkley and other communities adjacent to moorland, the amount allocated by Bradford Council has been laughable.

Are we prepared to lose our exceptional moor to others? Are there enough local people to fight this? May we hear more about a local trust? Will we get the fullest consultation on this high priority?

The moor has always had a part of our rates contribution. A specific trust, receiving that share, could possibly be the answer. Do enough people care?

Barbara Cusson, 4 Curly Hill, Ilkley.

Questions remain

SIR, - Considerable disquiet has been expressed through your columns over the prospect of an independent trust taking over the running of Ilkley Moor.

Rather than treating this disquiet properly, Councillor Hawkesworth has told Ilkley residents that there is no alternative to supporting the plans.

But several questions remain to be answered, and the call for a full public meeting seems understandable.

1) Given that the new Natural England body only becomes effective from October 1, 2006, why the precipitate rush to form a trust? Natural England has yet to make clear its level of support for either trusts or council-owned natural land.

2) Councillor Hawkesworth needs to spell out precisely what extra funding would become available if a trust was formed. Would this funding only become available if the trust had significant private sector involvement?

3) Under the suggested terms of any trust: How would the trustees be selected? Would trustees be elected by Ilkley rate-payers?

Would the ratepayers of Ilkley have any say in the trust's composition? Would the trust be intended to have control over access and use of the moor- ie could it potentially allow the reintroduction of shooting?

Would the trust have control over the properties on the moor -Silver Well, White Wells, etc?

4) Given that the recent proposals for hiving off the public buildings of Ilkley to a private body collapsed under accusations of corruption, should collectively owned it. This land is our land, and it should not lightly be handed over to a group of unelected individuals over whom we have no control.

Vaughan Allen, Thorpe Hall,Queen's Drive,Ilkley.

College shock

SIR, - We were shocked by Bradford College's announcement that there will be no adult education provision at Burley Grange in the next academic year.

A meeting has since taken place with the principal of the college in which the background to the decision has been explained but consultation with local communities should have preceded that decision.

The Grange is a building at the heart of Burley with important historical associations, and residents from the village and elsewhere in Wharfedale enjoy using it for adult education classes. It is easily accessible for day and also for evening classes. Local businesses also benefit from the custom brought by students from outside the village. Some additional activities which take place in the Grange will not be able to find alternative provision in the village. There is also concern that students who have begun courses which extend beyond a year may be unable to continue these in Ilkley.

For those without cars provision within Bradford is very difficult to access by bus. We urge the college to postpone its decision for the coming year in order to give sufficient time to work out a possible satisfactory way for saving the college and maintaining adult education at its current level within the local area.

Students on courses, and other residents, can sign the petitions against the closure in Burley shops, at the Wharfedale Newspaper offices in Wells Road, Ilkley, and online at Theyare also asked to write to their MPs.

Sylvia Tilford On behalf of Burley Parish Council.

Adult learning

SIR, - The future of adult learning is under threat. Stories of courses being cut or fees increasing are common, along with teachers at risk of redundancy.

There could be as many as one million fewer adult learning places over the next two years.

However, because of the falling birth-rate, the vast majority of jobs in the future will need to be filled by adults and more and more of tomorrow's jobs will require higher skills.

Learning also contributes to people's health and self-esteem and brings communities together. Adult learning is not an option - it's a necessity.

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education has decided to hold a Big Conversation' about adult learning.

We are calling on learners, teachers, lecturers, college staff, and other interested groups to consider the current challenges and what should be done about it.

Please report back to us about the issues affecting you and we will submit a dossier of evidence, opinion and analysis to the Government.

Please contact us at: or on 0116 204 4200 and make your voice heard alongside thousands of others.

Alan Tuckett, Director, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP.