River Aire

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The River Aire is a major river in Yorkshire, England of length 71 miles (114 km). Part of the river is canalised, and is known as the Aire and Calder Navigation.

The Aire rises at Malham Tarn, flowing underground to Malham Cove (Aire Head), near Malham, in North Yorkshire, and then flows through Gargrave and Skipton. After Cononley, the river enters West Yorkshire where it passes through the former industrial areas of Keighley, Bingley, Saltaire, and Shipley. It then passes through Leeds and on to the villages of Swillington and Woodlesford. At Castleford is the confluence of the Aire and Calder; just downstream of the confluence was the ford where the ancient British road, used by the Romans, crossed on its way north to York. The river re-enters North Yorkshire near Knottingley and in its lower reaches forms part of the boundary between North Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The River Aire empties into the River Ouse at Airmyn, 'myn' being an old English word for 'river mouth'. The name possibly derived from Brythonic *Isara, meaning "strong river". The Aire could have been the winwœd or winwæd written about in Old English, from the Old English elements winnan or win ("strife", "fight") and wæd ("shallow water", "ford"), however others have proposed that it is actually the Went (also called the "wynt" in Old English) or the Cock Beck (see Battle of the Winwaed). Still others have claimed that it is actually the name of the battle and not the body of water itself.[1][2]

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