SIR, - When our eldest son started school in September 2003 we were allocated a place at Ashlands, not our first choice as at that time we lived a within a two-minute walk from All Saints.

We were disappointed but went to look round Ashlands nevertheless. When we got there we found a warm, caring and friendly school with happy and polite children.

Teachers were dedicated and hard working and facilities were excellent. Although we looked at other options, including private education, we chose Ashlands and this was a choice we have never regretted.

Both our sons are now at Ashlands and doing extremely well. Academically they are encouraged by wonderful staff to reach their full potential whilst recognising that they are children and that their days should be happy and filled with fun, too.

Socially they have made great friends and love going to school - what more could a parent ask for?

A message to those parents choosing private education instead of Ashlands - come and look round our school and see what it has to offer and then think again . You could be making a very costly mistake.

Kate Rowe Wheatley Avenue,Ilkley.

Sad reading

SIR, - With regard to your report School place shortfalls are confirmed by study (July 27), It was with sadness that I read that local parents are choosing not to send their children to Ashlands Primary School, Leeds Road, Ilkley, but preferring to pay for private education.

My children started attending Ashlands in the summer term of 2005, following relocation from London. I am delighted with the progress they have made, the wonderful facilities, the great teaching staff and the friendliness of the playground, both to parents and children.

I feel lucky that the children have the chance to be educated in this environment within walking distance of our house, compared with the standard of education in our local (quite privileged) area of London.

It is a shame that more people are not aware of the delightful team spirit at Ashlands School which is nurturing well rounded and positive individuals who will enhance the community of Ilkley in the short term and the world at large in the long term.

Ruth Jones 5 Sunset Drive,Ilkley.

Governor replies

SIR, - As chairman of governors at Ashlands Primary, and the contented parent of two children attending the school, I'd like to take the opportunity to respond to your report on school places in Ilkley, and particularly the suggestion that parents are choosing not to go to Ashlands'.

The perception that some people may have, that Ashlands is second-rate' compared to the other Ilkley primary schools is simply inaccurate; it's a myth.

For the record, in the last published league tables, Ashlands led all the primary schools in Ilkley on the Government's 'value-added' measure, and our results overall are well above both the national and LEA average. They also compare very well with the absolute results from Ben Rhydding and All Saints.

The 2006 results are still further improved, particularly in the proportion of pupils achieving the very highest level.

League tables and scores are far from the whole story, though. The children at Ashlands are happy, the staff are exemplary, and the parent community is completely engaged with the school. Our parents raised more than £10,000 this year alone to fund a trim trail' in the playground. Our recent meeting with the new' parents was extremely well-attended and our new head, Mrs Eileen Fitzpatrick, was given an extremely positive reception.

If parents are choosing not to go to Ashlands, then they are myth'-informed. The bottom line is that ALL the Ilkley primary schools can offer a very high quality and completely rounded education, and prospective parents should feel no apprehension about allowing their children to join us at Ashlands. I moved with my family to Ilkley precisely because of the quality of the state schools in the town, both primary and secondary, and I'm more than satisfied that every child at Ashlands is the beneficiary of a top-notch education.

Matt Bacon Chairman of Governors, Ashlands Primary School

No management

SIR, - This past week has seen fires on Ilkley Moor. Two weeks ago there was a violent attack on a female dog-walker.

Each week bands of mountain-bikers violate the habitat. Not long ago a man got stuck in the rocks near the Cow and Calf. Last week a council pickup vehicle was stolen from near the paddling pool. On busy summer weekends cars are dangerously parked all along the moorside road.

Local residents constantly complain of the bracken invasion, making footpaths unwalkable in the summer and completely drowning the heather. This year no purple haze can be seen from the town.

Doom and gloom! What is it all about?

It is about the management of Ilkley Moor. There is none. It needs a permanently staffed presence by a warden and appropriate support staff, a proper plan and the spending of a good deal of money.

David Leather (letters, July 20) says the moor should not be given away. The simple truth is that it was taken from the people of Ilkley in the administrative reorganisation of 1974 and handed over to Bradford Council. He claims that the original asset value of the moor would be worth more than £1 million pounds in today's terms.

What is being done to manage such a valuable asset? ... Precious little. It has been neglected for so long that it now requires some £2 million pounds to bring it up to a proper world class standard.

Barbara Cussons (also letters, 20 July) cites an old copy of 'Yorkshire Life' (she didn't give a date) on how to manage heather. I can assure her that controlled burning works well for the regeneration of heather, but it does nothing to control bracken.

She wants the moor managed "as it was in the past". Well it was a grouse moor then, labour was extremely cheap, and there were very few cars to bring visitors here. Things have changed beyond recognition.

Despite the fact that the moor attracts 250,000 visitors each year, Midge Leather (letters, July 20) asserts that facilities such as toilets are not required. Fine for her, living on Panorama Drive, adjacent to the Moor - what about the other 249,999 visitors each year?

Ilkley Moor is famous and popular. It is also increasingly accessible. We have to move with the times and manage it appropriately.

Ken Cooke Wheatley Road,Ilkley.

Bridge protest

SIR, - I see we now have people in Ilkley opposed to the Burley Bridge. This bridge was supposed to be a gesture to the men of Burley who fell in the First World War, Ilkley seems to be well endowed with bridges and riverside walks, as has Otley with miles of riverside walks, but at the stepping stones all you are allowed to do is look at the river.

It is pathetic and riduculous that anybody in Burley or Ilkley is opposed to the bridge which is a facility for the public. The landowners have always been opposed to the Burley public, that is why the Labour Government brought out the Right to Roam Bill which was passed in the House of Commons.

There would be an almighty noise if people in Ilkley had to paddle over the River Wharfe.

W Laycock (Mr)Aireville Terrace,Burley-in-Wharfedale.

Shooting rights

SIR, - There has been in recent times a great deal of correspondence about the management of Ilkley Moor.

Has it not entered the heads of the various correspondents that if Bradford Council had not stopped the shooting rights, the moor would have been well managed in return for the right to shoot a few grouse?

Is it not the case that a shooting syndicate would pay Bradford Council for the right to shoot, and by agreement manage the moor to provide the best environment on which grouse could breed?

Such management encourages other moorland species to settle and breed, thus enhancing the flora and fauna of the region. Granted some grouse would be shot, but it is a fact that if grouse are not controlled, they become subject to parasitic diseases and die anyway.

I suggest that instead of looking for potentially expensive solutions, ie. National Trust or an ad hoc committee of well meaning amateurs, the council reverts to a tried and tested, successful form of moorland management.

Shooters manage and conserve the environment to the advantage of all. Above all, it would remain Ilkley Moor, the property of Ilkley people and avaiulable to all except for a few days shooting each year. (I am not a game shooter nor even a moorland walker, anymore) Victor M Bean Flat 1,114, Skipton Road, Ilkley.

Road closure

SIR, - Bradford Council regrets the inconvenience and impact the partial closure of Moor Lane in Burley Woodhead is having on residents and visitors but we are doing all we can to minimise this.

This is to allow us to carry out essential work to replace Stocks Hill Culvert which deteriorated rapidly last winter when it partially collapsed.

Unfortunately, because the road is narrow, it is not practicable to keep the road open during this work.

We could not start the work any earlier because the pre-cast concrete pipe sections had to be ordered, and we could not delay it because it could have collapsed further.

There has been extensive signing to divert drivers onto alternative routes and to inform them The Hermit is open as normal. The council's efforts have been frustrated by the work of thieves and saboteurs who took down signs and the road block.

As is normal practice, the council has been working with the contractor to see if the construction period can be shortened so the road can re-open as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we would ask motorists, residents and businesses to bear with us and remain patient as the work is for their safety.

Steve Barton Head of Major Works, Bradford Council.