CHURCHES and visitor attractions in Keighley, the Worth Valley and South Craven are taking part in this year’s Heritage Open Days.

A host of free activities for all ages will be on offer across the Yorkshire region as the national event celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Heritage Open Days, billed as England’s biggest festival of history and culture, runs from September 13-22 and offers people family days out, visits to places not normally open to the public, and a chance to learn more about the heritage on their doorstep.

Around 700 events are planned in the region, at venues including churches in Stanbury and Kildwick, museums at Ingrow railway station, and National Trust properties including East Riddlesden Hall.

Rail Story is an attraction at Ingrow station that brings together Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, the Bahamas Locomotive Society and the Vintage Carriages Trust.

Rail Story will offer visitors free access to the engine shed, the Museum of Rail Travel and the Learning Coach.

The new Railway Corner will be open for children to delve into a railway treasure chest, and there will be guided tours of the museum, workshop and yard.

Rail Story will be open on September 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 from 10am to 4pm.

East Riddlesden Hall will be open in September 21 22 from 10.30am to 4pm.

As well as the 17th century manor house and intimate garden, there are 50 acres of space to be explored. Family natural play areas include a mud pie kitchen, den building area, hidden tunnels, wooden play equipment and 50 acres of outdoor space.

People can have a guided tour of a medieval church at St Andrew’s Church in Kildwick – known as the “Lang Kirk of Craven” – seeing Saxon stone fragments, a pre-Celtic carved face and 17th century carved oak pews. The event runs on September 14, 15, 21 and 22 from noon till 4pm.

For anyone aged eight and over there will be a hands-on opportunity to take part in Bell Founding, the casting of bells, in the churchyard on September 14 from11am to 4pm.

A spokesman said: “The bells we will cast are only a few inches in height; not like the monsters hanging in the tower!”

People can see the real bells and the ancient clock by visiting the bell tower on September 14 and 15 between noon and 4pm. Visiting the ground-floor ringing chamber, with its rare ‘Yorkshire Tail Ends’, people can ring a dummy bell and hear a talk about bells and bellringing.

St Gabriel’s Church, Stanbury, will open its doors on September 21 from 10am to 4.30pm. The 19th century schoolroom, used for worship by modern-day villagers, was built by the Rev Patrick Bronte and contains an 18th century pulpit from Haworth Parish Church.

Keighley Shared Church will be open on September 20 from 11am to 3pm and 21 from 10am to 4pm for people to see parish registers and furniture. Dating from 1848 in Victorian gothic style, the church contains monuments from the original medieval church, a 1661 font and a 12th century cross.

Visit for details of all venues, dates, times and activities.