This is a part of the Calderdale Way. See more about the Calderdale Way
Back to it.
This is a part of the Calderdale Way. See more about the Calderdale Way
Back to it.
This is a part of the Calderdale Way. See more about the Calderdale Way
The route from Todmorden is not very well signposted, and even with constant referring to the map there is a lot of retracing to be done to get back on track. Part of the problem is that I wanted to stay on the marked footpath exactly, if you can be a little more flexible, then this is the way forward.
Calderdale council have used similar looking way markers for the Calderdale Way and the general footpath. If you find the older “3 circles” markers, they are much easier. Still, armed with a good map, a compass and a download of the gpx to your GPS navigator, you will be fine.
This section begins at the supermarket in Todmorden, or rather, on the opposite side of the road, and almost immediately there is a revision. the Calderdale way used to cross the railway line. It still does, but now you use a footbridge.
Somewhat safer, you can start the first of a lot of uphill sections. Signs are good so far, and you will soon be able to look out upon Dobroyd Castle. On the Sunday I passed by there were canoeists on the pond.
Now, keep your eyes open. you are soon by an old cow byre, and it is tempting to walk on by, but you need to turn left to stay on the route.
Heading generally North you will, after half a mile or so, come to Todmorden Edge. Don’t expect to see the sign, it is well obscured. A steep, short side road, hidden behind a road sign leads you to a couple of houses. A footpath sign has been “edited” to advise that bikes are not welcome, but it does at least point in the right direction. The right direction is a gentle but muddy path leading to the top of a wooded area with a very steep, very muddy pathway down to the road. This tarmac leads you down, past the school to the main road, the A646. Here, behind some crocuses (crocii ?) and dafodils, the river Calder is encased in a concrete gully. The Calderdale way turns left, and will soon be heading up the other side of the valley, so cross over whenever it is safe to do so, there is no beauty by the river, so nothing is lost by crossing earlier.
The next uphill takes you through a tunnel under the railway along Stoney Royd lane
At the point where I took the above photo of Orchan rocks, there is a fork in the path. The Calderdale way takes a right turn to pass below Stannally Stones, but you can carry straight on. It is a bit steep, and you will need to turn right at the juntion with the Todmorden Centenary Way. This diversion adds about 00 yards to the walk and takes you around the top of the Stannally stones. Both routes meet up at Kit Hill and continue on a well marked route to Whirlaw Stones.
The Calderdale way here is a public bridleway, so be aware that you may come across horses, like this beautiful old girl, Bo, who was very well behaved when she was being photographed. She did think a little nibble was in order when I stroked her nose though.
If you have ever wondered at how the countryside looks so lovely, you are not on your own, but it doesn’t get like this all on its own. Today I was lucky enough to spot a lady taking on the task of making the world more beautiful. Sally was busy pruning an Alder so its branches didn’t get tangled. Nothing wasted either, the offcuts get used for kindling.
East Whirlam Farm is a muddy confusion with not much in the way of way markers, but if you negotiate the way through correctly you will be on a road made from old concrete railway sleepers leeding down to a junction. The Way marker leads you uphill again, this time through a muddy field, but easily followed until you reach a B road. You aren’t on this for more than a few yards before heading back into the mud. You are heading towards Law Hill then following the contour past Higher Birks to reach a minor road at the other side. Follow this road uphill and turn right at the T juction and before too far there is “Great Rock”.
The Calderdale Way pointer (bottom left) looks to point to the top of this ancient rock formation, but it means pass to the left of it. Only an idiot would take it literally and climb up the rock!
Back down on terra firma idiocy confirmed, the way follows a bridleway on the level before forking. The North fork is the one we want and it leads to Hippins Bridge and good signage through Hippins, Blackshaw Head and into Shaw Bottom.
Aiming to get to Colden Clough, which is a very picturesque series of waterfalls in a pleasent glade, it is easy to miss the left down a narrow path. You may end up as I did looking longingly at the river from the wrong side of the valley. Double back if you do, Colden Clough is just too good to miss
I wasn’t the only one to think this a great spot, I arrived at about the same time as a ladies walking group, “The Jessies”. Claiming the group name comes from them all being big Jessie’s I think is a bit of a fib. Whichever way they got here its a proper hike. Maybe I need to become a big Jessie too?
This thought was soon efaced from my mind when, taking the woodland path to the right after the bridge, I happened upon a pregnant ewe. She had managed to get herself stuck in the barbed wire, and really didn’t look too happy about it. As I couldn’t find a telephone box to change into my superman outfit, I had to content with just taking off my pack before climbing up to her. Holding her head still while tugging upwards on the wire soon freed her, but left a large clump of fleece behind to mark the spot. Somewhat dazed she wandered off a few yards, then stared at me with a look that said “Don’t expect thanks, I never asked to be rescued!”
Even though my undoubted heroism was unacknowledged by sheepkind, I was sufficiently boosted to walk with a marked spring in my step (and a sheepy smell on my hands 🙁 ) for the next mile or so.
Shortly after, I found a trough with a clear running spring, so I gave my hands a really good scrub. Just as well, because after the next stile I met Eddie. Eddie was very friendly, and couldn’t wait to jump muddy paws on my trousers. When you are already muddy this is not a problem, and she is so cute, how could you refuse her love?
Reluctantly leaving her behind I almost take the wrong route, but make a quick correction and follow signs which indicate that the Pennine way has been given the addition of the “Hebden Bridge Loop”. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of such a loop, it does take you very nicely to Heptonstall, which is incredibly pretty. It also has a pub.
Even better than a pub, it has clear, accurate signs for the Calderdale Way, which direct you onwards and into a short sharp downward woodland section towards Midgehole.
The name may strike fear in the hearts of men, particularly men who get eaten alive by midges! Worry not, Midgehole is actually a nice place, with a weir and a working mens club. Very nice, though I would imagine it is under-used. The reason I suspect this is that only 100 yards further along is the main entrance to Hardcastle Crags. A super spot owned by the National Trust, it isn’t actually on the Calderdale way, its a small detour. Not sure which way the Calderdale Way path was, I asked a member of the National Trust staff for directions. I was 500 yards into Hardcastle Crags before I realised that he was wrong. I doubled back and showed him the route on the map, “oh yes”, says he, “I did know that, Ooops”
Lesson learned, trust your own map reading, not directions from anyone else, no matter how authoritative they look 🙁
Girding my loins (is that actually an expression used in the 21st century?) I set off up what should be the last uphill of the day, past Shawcross Farm and on to the strangely named “Bogs Eggs Edge”
The next mile or so, it is difficult to go wrong. The path walks the boundry between tended fields and fells. A beautiful, but uneventful section, keep a look out for the abandoned quarry working at cock hill.
Having walked 17 miles of the Calderdale way last weekend, I had set myself the target of 18 miles for this section. That was not to be, I only managed 15 before nostalgia got the better of me, and I found an excuse (the weather), to take one of the many link paths and visit Midgley and Luddenden Foot. This was where my childhood was spent, and where I left age 18 to join the Navy.
I am looking forward to the adventure coming up on the 19th March. A trip that has been in the diary since January. Planning is nearly done, Team get ready!
I will be joined for the day by Big Dave (of Black Hill fame) and Mike.
Our intended outing will start at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, ascend to the top of Pen-Y-Ghent, where we will attempt to activate the summit for SOTA. Then, our return route will take in the spectacular Hull Pot, the largest natural hole in the country (I know! I thought it was TB too.)
You can download a .gpx file of this route here
The walk is only about 6 miles, but has 1300 feet of ascent, and we will be carrying a fair amount of weight with the radio equipment.
To get ready for the day, Dave has been working out daily on his Hamster Wheel, to make sure he can handle the miles. Mike has been for a long pub crawl in the caribean to make sure he can handle the ales. I have done neither. Hopefully if I start to fall behind they will help me along.
The map for this route is all on the West Sheet of OS Map OL2, which is also the map you need for the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
If you would like to track our progress, you can follow my spot
This is the GPS tracker I have with me on all the walks I do. It updates live on the day, and keeps the detail for a week, so if you check it out on the day you will know when we are in position for transmission. We will be using Yaesu Ft-817’s and will try and work 2m FM and HF 20m and 40m SSB. Dave may even try CW. Call signs to look out for 2E0KUK (Andy) and M0RIU (Dave). I expect to be on air from about 11:30 to 12:30, but this is a very rough guess. Watch the spot!
Notes for the Team!
Good boots, waterproof and windproof clothing. I will have hot drinks to make with me, but bring your own mug and some sarnies.
There will be beer at the The Crown when we finish!
This is a part of the Calderdale Way. See more about the Calderdale Way
You can download a .gpx file of this route here
The Calderdale Way was created in the 1970’s, so its not a new route, but it is worthwhile giving it a try. The Calderdale Way is 50 miles long, and being a circular route you can start and stop at any point on the walk. Continue reading Calderdale Way – West Vale to Todmorden – Day 1
This wonderful walk seems to be one which the National Trust don’t have a leaflet for, so I set off with map and compass to create my own take on this historic trail.
You require two OS maps to cover the whole route
Starting off at the National Trust Barn by Marsden Train station, you can park you car for free, always my preferred option, so that is where Suzi got left.
Leaving the car park and heading down the hill, you are almost immediately given a choice. The road to the Right heads towards St.Bartholemew’s, the pretty Parish church of Marsden, or head along the main road to one of the café’s.
On this occasion, I diverted from the true path, and went for a bacon butty.
If you are led by tummy, you need to back track, or head up to the A62 to get back on the Standedge Trail, not difficult as its still on tarmac.
Look for old mount road. Old Mount Road was originally an old turnpike road. Head uphill. It’s quite steep. As I was huffing up the hill, I found myself trying to imagine how this would have looked and felt when pack-horses were plodding up here, heads hung low, weary from the trek from Huddersfield, bags stuffed with wool or cotton bales from the mills. I was hot about the collar and I was only recently stuffed with breakfast. Still, as I got my old body up the hill, I was able to look down on Bank Bottom Mill, which was opened in 1824, and didn’t cease making woollen cloth until 2003. It looks such a benign building, but what horrors must have been seen inside in its lifetime?
Just over a mile into the walk, you will need to look for a footpath on the Right, The path is muddy, and as it nearly doubles back on itself after 50 yds it gets wetter, water flowing like a stream. My feet found most of the deep spots in this part stream, part footpath. It leads to a green lane, which the Standedge Trail follows until it meets another old turnpike, currently called Mount Road. When the barges sailed through the tunnel, the bargemen would push the heavy loads by laying on there backs and walking their feet along the ceiling. At the same time, the horses relieved from the job of pulling the barges, had to walk over the moor to meet the boats again at Diggle.
I diverted again from the set route, as I wanted to have a look at the old quarry workings. I believe that this was the area where a lot of the building material for the tunnels was quarried. Beneath my feet there is a tunnel for the canal, and a tunnel for the train, (completed in 1811 and 1848 respectively). The tunnels are hidden from view, but you are in no doubt as to where they are, as you can see the round air vents standing proud of the moor all along the route. There is another quarry on the other side of Pule Hill, which is bigger and has more evidence of its industrial past.
I enjoy meeting other people while I am out on these walks, and having left the beaten track and visited these old workings, I was fortunate to meet Andy, James and Mark, three intrepid travellers, who I was informed by James, had already conquered the “big hill”. It is nice to see a new walker in the making, James is 6, Andy and Mark are at my end of the spectrum, being 51 and 59 respectively.
I get back on track, but for only a few yards as the trail appears to vanish over a cliff. Actually it doesn’t vanish, but winds down a steep cut to the ford at the bottom. Look for a standing stone as your waymarker.
This steep cut in the gully side continues up the opposite bank and leads you onto an area of wet and muddy flat ground. The Standedge Trail joins the Pennine way, and can see Redbrook reservoir shining in front of the ever present Pule Hill on your right. There is a ford to cross along this stretch, is it too romantic to imagine the tired horses getting a break to drink and get there breath back?
Does anyone else picture history in monochrome?
Keep going until you get to the car park at Brun Clough Reservoir and at the exit at the other side, take a left, watch your step, its slippy. This path heads down to get close to the vents, and I very nearly ended up on the wrong track again because I started daydreaming. In my minds eye, the decay of long years fell away from the house, and I tried to imagine its former glory.
Daydreaming aside, you need to head past the house a few yards, then drop down to the right. You pass one of the spoil heaps, still no grass on the steep slope after a hundred years and more. You are almost in Diggle, and if you are lucky the Diggle Hotel will be open for foaming glasses of local cask ale. Or it may not. It wasn’t.
The route on the OS Map shows the Standedge Trail turning right just before the Hotel, I would suggest that you stay on the main road and cross the road bridge over the railway. This adds maybe a hundred yards, but avoids a very dicey looking slope. Once over the bridge, I turned right to wade through the latest flood. I say wade, I skirted the edge ankle deep. This little detour is along an older road, and avoids a section of the main road, just to give a little change, I don’t always follow an exact path. Putting on my Zen hat, you could say, “you are only lost if, you care where you are”. Still, this is supposed to be a guide to the Standedge Trail, so back to it. If you have been good, and followed the map, you will be on the Huddersfield Road. If not, find a footpath which links to it from Ridge Road, where I was.
Heading uphill, I am being careful, as there is no pathway but fast moving traffic. I try and always be on the side of the road on which the cars will be going up, as I feel that gravity can help them brake if they see me late, a split second might count. Looking out for Dean Head Lane, you head down this little road and will find yourself enchanted by the smell of fresh pine and damp moss. I was 12 again, playing in the woods in Halifax, with dirty knees and mucky hands.
As you round the corner another gentle slope takes you to the A62, which is crossed carefully, onto yet more mud, but very soon you will be turning right to follow the tarmac in the direction East North East. A marked alternative is to head 50 yards downhill and then turn uphill along the original drovers path. This is the path I took, and was smiling to myself as I decided to make some notes for my “creative writing”. What I noted was the flags of fleece on barbed wire, waving in the wind like long forgotten bunting.
Make the most of the opportunity to romance, for when you reach the next turn (a left) you are heading to the Standedge, which shows here as a long prominent scar of millstone grit. And you are going to the top of it, albeit up a pass between bluffs. The wind, which has been around, but starting to be ignored, reminds you of its power. Stay away from the edge, it wants you off its hill. Most times I would assume its not this bad, but as I arrived I rendezvoused with Storm Ewan, Storm Doris’ little brother. You are not on top of the bluff for a long way, but be aware of the different paths, there are several meeting here. You need to be East North East which will take you back to the A62, left then Right brings you to the foot of Pule Hill. If you decide you want to climb up Pule Hill, go for it, its not on the Standedge Trail, but the views from the top are tremendous. Ewan was still with me as I reached the summit, to find I was not the only one who wanted to meet him.
There is a path heading North from the stanza stone at the summit, if you take it, and you want to get back to the Trail, you will risk life and limb down a steep hillside. I found myself thigh deep in stagnant water, twisting ankles all the way down. Far better to retrace your steps South and rejoin the marked route at the bottom.
Cross the A62 again and you need to go down a narrow dark ginnel. Possibly the steepest part of the walk, its certainly the slipperiest.
but at the bottom, wow. You will need to ford the river at the bottom, but that leads to Easter Bridge, which is very pretty.
Across the bridge a gentle stroll back to the visitor centre awaits. From here, after a brief stop for refreshment ( I highly recommend the Blueberry tea) the last stretch along the Standedge Trail is the canal tow path, 10 minutes walk on the flat and you will see the first (last?) lock on the Huddersfield side of the Pennines. You are back where you started from, 4 or 5 hours ago, a bit tired, but I hope very satisfied.
This walk is up on the tops beyond Marsden. The going is tough in places, boggy and deep mud. You can avoid all the mess by sticking to the Pennine Way path, and rerouting accordingly.
This route is about 11 miles long, and would be ideal for taking your dog along, please take a lead though, there is livestock on the route. The sheep live here, you are just visiting, please be nice.
[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/Soldiers Lump.gpx”]
At the start, find a parking space, there are plenty, but nowhere for a comfort break, so pay a visit before you get here.
I started by walking down past the first of 5 reservoirs, Wessenden Head. The path is gravel, and downhill. Easy going, but can be a little wet. Today it was frosty and snow was covering the moorland.
The next reservoir soon comes into sight, this one Wessenden.
The beautiful deep blue of the sky belies the cold. Its feels bitter at -2’C
I have been warmer in Iceland!
But what a view!
The snow line was just below Wessenden reservoir, and at the farm there were some expensive beasts.
(8 venison legs for £50, Is that two deer?) -sorry I couldn’t resist!
Back to the walk, and we are going to be crossing that little bridge, bottom right on this picture.
Its well signposted following the Pennine Way, expect good footpaths, but don’t expect level. This part is very steep, use your hands to steady yourself, you do not want to overbalance here.
The stream looks amazing with the early morning sunlight glinting off the ripples, the water dancing at the start of its long journey to the sea.
Up the steep other side, and on to Marsden Moor
The reservoirs of Blakeley and Swellands will be seen in passing, the path takes you up close and personal with Black Moss Reservoir
who knew there was a beech in the Huddersfield area?
Traversing almost 360′ around the reservoir, this hike as left the Pennine way and the clearly defined pathway is no more. It will become clearer further on, but I find I am having to take and follow compass bearings to get along. Sure, I could have managed, perhaps, or I could have retraced my steps. A map and compass is my preferred option.
Walking over the moors, with a map, you also get to see the names, I like the idea of “Black Moss” and “White Moss” and I wonder what went on in the past to give such evocative names as “Featherbed Moss”
No time to get too romantic though, the A635 is soon reached and with it the increased speed of the world. The map has a footpath marked, but alas the way was not willing to be found today. I chose instead to walk along the roadside to a disused quarry, and go off-piste. Although there is a path marked, nature had had other ideas, and almost any trace had been erased over the winter. If you are on the right track, you should find the odd cairn to guide you.
Luckily enough, there is a highly visible landmark in front of you, just look up! Soldiers Lump is the name given to the top of Black Hill, the highest point in West Yorkshire, and back to the superb pathway of the Pennine way. Whip out the old camera and grab a selfie!
Just for the heck of it, I walked South along the main path for about a mile, just to take a look, then doubled back to the trig point, and onwards towards the car park.
In the distance, the jewel in the crown of West Yorkshire, Huddersfield shines.
There is a steep downhill section which is a bit tricky, and then the crossing of Dean Clough before the last ascent and you are back at the Car Park and if you are very lucky, the welcome sight of a tea van.
Have fun, and enjoy yourself, but please be safe while you are out, and follow the countryside code.
The starting point for this walk is Castle Hill, in the car park at the side of Victoria Tower. The beautiful rosy glow belies the freezing temperature at 6:30 am as the sun rises.
If you have a favourite walk in or around Huddersfield, why not write about it, and email it to us so we can publish it for others to enjoy. Our email: Contact Us @ WalkHuddersfield
This is a circular walk of 11 miles, and regardless of which way round you tackle it, you will start going downhill, and finish with a rise. (This is what happens when you start on the top of a hill). On the positive side, you can see the tower from most places on this walk, making it hard to get lost. Expect to take 4-5 hours on this walk.
[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/Circle away from Castle Hill.gpx”]
Today I had company for the walk, my daughters boyfriend is just finishing basic training with the army, and volunteered to come along. As we set off heading North-East from Victoria tower, Huddersfield is veiled in low cloud.
The mercury is hovering around zero degrees, but the clear sky is a good indication of a pleasant day to come.
The footpath leads downhill, veering slightly more towards east, until we meet the road at Wheat Royd. Your start point is still clearly visible.
Turn off the main road at Sharp Lane, and there is a footpath on the left, this takes you down a meandering path to Rushfield Dike
Up a rise to Birks Wood, where you join Woodsome road.
Starting to feel warm, we take a break for a brew by Woodsome Hall Golf Course, its still quiet on this road, but I suspect it will be noisier when we get to the A629, which is just around the corner. This corner of the road is treacherous, please be really cautious. The A629, although not really busy yet seems to be manic after the quiet of the walk so far, stay safe as you cross this main road. You are only alongside for 50 yards before turning Right (signposted “Lepton”)
If you have driven some of these roads, you will know how steep they are, so you can imagine that approaching on foot is disheartening, but actually they don’t seem too bad, and there are lots of spots where you can stop and chat with the locals.
A little way up the hill, turn Right along the footpath, which is well marked and a nice stretch along to the bridleway at Burton Royd lane, a good place to pause and take in the view.
If the weather is good, it is possible to see the start from here
It is actually about 5 miles as the crow flies.
The route circles around Kirkburton on a small road, joining a footpath again at Cinder Hill
This is as close as we get to Emley Moor mast, which is just 1km from us.
The footpath is reasonably well marked, but a little “tyred” in places
At Shelley, you are back on tarmac, drop down the steep hill into the lower village, then turn right along the A629. There is a turn to the left which takes you to Thunder Bridge, which is a very pretty little village, well worth a visit.
Take a breather before the steep uphill sectionup to Jenkinson wood and along wood lane. Right on Farnley lane and you are well on your way to Farnley Tyas.
Thunder Bridge was always a popular destination it seems
Emley mast is looking a little smaller now On the opposite side of the road, there is a strange looking little building, which is the well head that supplied Storthes Hall in Victorian times
Nearly back, Victoria Tower stands guard, waiting to welcome weary travelers back but before you get there, there is the pleasure of Lumb Dike. Please be careful, it can be very muddy here then start your assault on
the South Face of the Hill
Starting out at the University of Huddersfield, at Lock 1E, this is a pleasant walk of just under 8 miles, finishing about 3 hours later at the Standedge Tunnel in Marsden. A more extended walk includes Standedge Moor, rejoining the canal at Diggle and continuing on to Ashton-Under-Lyne. This long walk comes in at 23 miles
This walk is shown here as a map and can be downloaded as a gpx file
Getting to Aspley, for the start of this walk is easy, its only a few hundred yards South East of Huddersfield Town Centre. Follow Wakefield Road until you get to Aspley, and get onto the Canal Towpath.
At this point you are on the Broad Canal, so head West past the University, and you will see the start.
Accompanied by the local ducks,
I leave the first lock and head off into the walk. Don’t get used to being on the towpath though. The canal allows barges to pass along, but the towpath is sadly no more. It is necessary to leave the canal almost as soon as you have begun, A short climb
Down the street (turn right at the bottom)Then keep going straight until
you get to the Kirklees College
Before you cross the main road, look back along the canal and you will see lock No.2. This is the only way to see it unless you are on a barge.
Lock No.3 is somewhat easier to see and has the towering backdrop of Kirklees College
At lock No.3 you rejoin the towpath as it heads away from huddersfield and sheds modernity for tranquility.
More on this to come,
In the meantime, there is a booklet available from: