Calderdale Way – Day 2- Todmorden to Midgley

Calderdale Way Todmorden to Midgley.gpx

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

On the skyline you will see Orchan Rocks. Your path does not lead directly to them, and the diversion is awkward, so content yourself with the view, there are more good horizons later on.

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.

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Upcoming Adventures with Friends and Radios

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

Pen-Y-Ghent and Hull Pot.gpx

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!

SOTA Details. Summit Ref: G/NP-010

WAB Square SD87

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!

 

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Calderdale Way – West Vale to Todmorden – Section 1

You can download a .gpx file of this route here

Calderdale Way – West Vale to Todmorden.gpx

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.

This section is 17 miles long, Can be done in 3 sections 5-6 miles long

It is suitable for dogs, but take a lead

Total ascent is over 3000 feet

I class this as a moderate to hard walk. Smaller sections would be said to be relatively easy

You will need good stout boots, and be prepared for any kind of weather.

Mobile Phone signal was generally good throughout the walk

Officially the route starts in West Vale, close to a bus stop at Grid Ref SE095214.  One thing that I like about the Calderdale Way is that you can tackle it in very small chunks. The route has lots of “access path” sections which are always well marked. These short pathways lead you off the Calderdale Way to civilisation, and public transport. Finding the start is quite easy, the biggest landmark is “Andy Thornton’s”, an Architectural salvage company in a repurposed mill. About 100m North of the bus stop is the start of the walk, at Clay House Park, which is where my journey will begin.

My route along the Calderdale Way is planned to be 3 sections each of around 16-17 miles. This is the first section and is around 17 miles long including the detours. It will take around 6 or 7 hours to walk. This section can very easily be split down further to 3 or 4 parts. I arrived in West Vale at about 8am and was struck by how few references to the path there are. In fact, I couldn’t see any. The OS map shows the route along the main road, turning Right up some steep stairs, a left and another right at the Star pub. This is okay and will lead you to a narrow path on a cliff top.

Two OS maps cover the route

This path will be closing on the 18th March 2017, and will stay closed for repair work for about 18 months. There is a better way. Instead of the roadway, you can walk through Clay House park, and you will join the Calderdale way after the soon to be closed section. Distance and elevation are similar, and the OS map does show clearly a footpath.

The Calderdale Way is marked with Signs and symbols very well. There are occasions when you are left wondering where to go, luckily these are few and far between. Take a map or the gpx from above with you. It will prove to be preperation well worth doing.

After the clifftop, Take a the road downhill briefly, the back into the woods. This part is really muddy. In the woods you will be joined by the alternate path I mentioned, just in time for a pretty stream.

A few yards further, at the bridge, you leave the woodland behind and head for the fells. Norland moor is not a huge are, but its easy to get lost. There is no Calderdale Way marker at the first major junction. The path divides into at least 4 routes at a low electricity pylon. Turn Left, heading on a bearing of 255′ until you see a cairn, where the signs resume and you go right.

On the top of Norland Moor is a trig point at grid ref SE054214. Its actually just off the Calderdale Way, but I do occasionally detour if its worth it. Do you take a selfie at trig points? I do.

You leave the moor a few minutes later and walk along the tarmac of Butterworth End Lane, looking out for a Right turn through a farm yard. Grid reference is SE052208. Before long you will be on Moor Bottom Road, which is nice and level, but there are a couple of dogs behind a wall that make you jump. At the end of Moor Bottom Road, you turn right to head downhill, and can if you desire have a stop for refreshment at “The Fleece”

As your way continues down Greetland road, past the Fleece, keep a look out for a very steep side road on the right. You need to follow this down into Ripponden. Pass St Bartholemew’s church on your right, cross the bridge and, after a short climb, you will be at the A672. This is a busy road, taking a good amount of traffic from Halifax out to Oldham or Manchester on the A62, so please cross with great care. The route at the other side is uphill for about 200 yards, and turns Right at grid ref SE038199. On the day I passed this way, the parts that were flagged were slippy, and the other ares were deep mud. This however leads you to more pleasent pastures with a good view of the valley. Signposting along this section is excellent, just be careful to look for the correct waymarker, as several routes converge here.

Following the signs, you will arrive at Soyland Town, and here I was left with no guide. You will see from the gpx plot that I missed the Right at grid ref SE036205 and instead, took a fork in the road a few yards further along. This could have been a good thing, as by now the rain was torrential and my steep downhill section on tarmac may have been somewhat safer. I rejoined the Calderdale Way just on the outskirts of the pretty little village of Mill Bank, where maybe 30 yards after the bridge the route hairpins around and leads you up into the woods. On your right as you walk up you can look down onto the old Mill pond, but take care not to get too close to the barbed wire fence. A warning sign telling you it is there is shown at the other end of the wood.

Follow a well marked route along tarmacfor a while, passed Great House and Hole Head turning right at SE017218 on a dirt track heading up towrds the dissused quarry. There is no shelter, but walkers can always adapt.

The bridleway you follow is very wet, and you can see it will get much worse just a bit further up. You turn left before you enter the mud pit.

After about a mile on theses green paths, if you are following along with the well signposted route, another potential finish point is reached. The Hinchcliffe in Cragg Vale awaits, along with a cheeky barman who will photo bomb your selfie

I was drenched and filthy when I arrived, and they could not have made mw feel more welcome. This is a great place for walkers to visit.

Leaving the bar, if you can, head outside and turn right. stay on this road, don’t turn off, even though tempted. A lack of signs will encourage your return to the real fire in the pub, but perseverence will lead you uphill to eventually find Withens Clough Reservoir, and a level but stoney pathway around its northern shore. You almost cannot miss the gate taking you away from the water and NorthWest on another hill. This one has awelcome rock strewn skyline to draw you along. You will be turning left before the top, along the bridleway. There is a footpath taking a diagonal for the two sides of the square you are about to walk, but I couldn’t find the start of it. I was onlt aware it exists because at the other side there is a marker pointing across the field. You have arrived at a strange place called Red Dykes. No longer used, there is an abandonned building and a lot of tall drystone walls. I would hazard a guess that this was used when the sheep were driven across the moor to market. I my be wrong, but the path has the feel of a drovers route. You will follow one of these walls up the hill to the start of Withens Gate.

This ancient way marker is one of several along this 300 yard stretch, with a large stone at its other end, leaning to one side, as if pointing you up the hill. It is not necessary to follow its suggestion, the Calderdale way continues straight ahead. If you are feeling strong in the legs though, be tempted. The stone is showing you the way to Stoodley Pike. It s much further thn you think. The structure is massive, and can be see from a long way off. Stoodley Pike was completed in 1856, and at 121′ high it dominates the landscape. If you have a torch, and are feeling brave, you can climb the steps to the landing and have a view all around. It is open all the time.

Retrace your steps back to the leening stone, and thank it or curse it for its suggestion. Either way, it marks your retur to the Calderdale way, so turn right and begin the long downhill walk on the well worn drovers path.

On the tarmac you will pass through Mankinholes (look for the YHA building) keeping an eye open for your left turn back on the drove route, leaving the road.  You will get to Lumbutts. A nice straight road leads away from the village heading generally West. Turn off the road at SD949233, through Croft Farm and then take a left at SD948235, which is marked, but not immediately visible. This next section is the muddiest of the walk so far, and was well above ankle deep in a few places. I tested the depth with my stick, a wise move, as some areas are very deep. At the end of the quagmire is a riding school, and welcome hard surfaces to tread upon. All that remains for this section is a pleasent walk down hill into Todmorden, about 1/2 a mile away, passing the old quaker burial site and the very large Church.

 

 

 

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Standedge Trail Heritage Walk from Marsden

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.

  • 11.5 miles, with over 2000 feet of ascent
  • Duration 4hrs+ (allow 5hrs)
  • Dog Friendly, but you need to use a lead in certain areas
  • No facilities on route, but cafe at start and Pub at apx 1/2 way
  • Stout Boots are required
  • Route Crosses a Ford – in winter this can be deeper than boots

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?

1824-2003
Bank Bottom Mill

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.

Andy (51) James (6) and Mark (60 next)

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.

Waymarker showing the way off Mount Road

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.

The Photo Album

 

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Wessenden Head, Marsden Moor and Black Hill

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”]

elevation

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.

Start

The next reservoir soon comes into sight, this one Wessenden.

wessenden

The beautiful deep blue of the sky belies the cold. Its feels bitter at -2’C

selfie 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. deer

(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.

grouse

Its well signpostedway 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.

river

Up the steep other side, and on to Marsden Moormoor moor2

moor3

The reservoirs of Blakeley and Swellands will be seen in passing, the path takes you up close and personal with Black Moss Reservoir

BlackMosswho 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.

cairn

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!

soldierslump

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.

huddersfield

There is a steep downhill section which is a bit tricky, and then the crossing of Dean Clough deanclough 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.

 

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Castle Hill – Shelley – Thunder Bridge – Farnley Tyas – 11 miles

Victoria-Tower 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

Emley-Mast

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”]

elevation Elevation, Clockwise

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. Huddersfield

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.Tower-Almondbury

 

 

 

 

 

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 DikestreamRushfield-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.

Horse

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 hereHighburton

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 HillEmley

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

Tyre

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.Thunderbridge

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 seemsTo-Thunderbridge

Emley mast is looking a little smaller nowFarnley 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 timesWell

Nearly back, Victoria Tower stands guard, waiting to welcome weary travelers backTower-from-Farnley but before you get there, there is the pleasure of Lumb Dike. Please be careful, it can be very muddy here LumbDike then start your assault on

the South Face of the HillLumb-Dike

Tower-Return

 

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Huddersfield Narrow Canal

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

canal

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.

Lock 1E
Huddersfield Narrow Canal Lock Number 1E

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 climbleave canal

Down the street (turn right at the bottom)street1Then keep going straight until

you get to the Kirklees College college

2EBefore 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.

3ELock No.3 is somewhat easier to see and has the towering backdrop of Kirklees CollegekirkleesCollege

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:

Huddersfield Canal Society

email the Huddersfield Canal Society

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Walking the Meltham Way Circular Walk in Huddersfield from Blackmoorfoot Reservoir

The Meltham Way

The village of Meltham lies on the South West of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. It Famously holds an annual 40’s weekend with thousand turning up to take part. The 2016 event will be held on the 2nd and 3rd of July. See more at their website here melthammemories.co.uk

Circling around Meltham is an 8.5 mile walk, The Meltham Way. It is, in my opinion, one of Huddersfield’s finest walks.

If you are planning to try this walk, it is possible to park your car on the roadside by Blackmoorfoot Reservoir. You can get here by bus from Huddersfield. It takes 28 minutes on Bus Number 393.

Or if you are training for the Yorkshire Three Peaks, You can walk up to the resrvoir from Milnsbridge, Paddock or Crossland Moor.

Coming at it from the West you will be close to the Wills’o’nats pub, well worth a call in afterwards, or alternatively, from the East or North take a look at grabbing a pint from the Bull’s Head

The walk around Meltham is not signposted as the Meltham way, instead, there are arrows on small green plaques which say “Walk Meltham”.

The terrain is often soft underfoot, and there are a lot of high stiles and walls to climb over. These are generally in good repair, but as always, please be careful. There is also a short ladder to climb.

You will be mostly walking on the flat, but the walk has aproximately 500′ of elevation change over its length.

Expect the walk to take around 31/2 hours.

Starting from the access road on the East side of Blackmoorfoot reservoir, walk clockwise around the reservoir to half way along the South bank. You will see the start of the Meltham Conduit, a manmade feeder waterway for the reservoir.

Meltham Conduit

The entrance to the pathway is just to the left, and follows the banking along. At this end, the conduit is quite wide, and has some pretty bridges for the sheep to get from field to field, there may be trolls underneath, I didn’t hang around to find out

In the distance, you can see West Nab, the prominant point on the skyline

 

This stretch along the conduit is about a mile and a bit.

It is relatively easy going between the 4′ high walls, which have steps built into them to assist your climb.

Be careful, one of them has a long step down, and several cross onto roads which are fairly well used. The views are stunning though, so its worth taking your time.

It can be a touch windy, there is not a lot to shelter you.

 Keep going until you come across an old set of lock gearing.

Hard to miss. At this point you are going to change direction from generally SW to roughly SE, it is here that you will come across the ladder, and you cross the spillway.

This shows the spillway, and the ladder, its below the level of the land to the left, so you get a bit of shelter, an ideal spot for a drop of #yorkshiretea

Back to the conduit, and the locals are quite friendly

 

The conduit gets smaller and eventually fades to next to nothing, you cross a stile and are left wondering where to go next. At this point you are on a road/track turn right and walk uphill to see the steep sided valley of Royd Edge Clough.

Then turn left and walk down the side of the valley. If its Spring, as it was when I did this, there are some really good opportunities for Easter Photos of Daffodils with Meltham in the background.

As you follow the path on a road, look out for a right hand turn which doubles back. The signs are there, but not easy to see. They get harder, there is a gate on the next corner, which gets hidden by parked cars. Make sure you go through this gate, then only a few yards further and you turn left in the valley bottom. You will believe that you have gone wrong as you go uphill along the path with overgrown tree roots and branches at head level, but its not for long and you get to a farm yard.

In this farm yard is an attack Turkey. I kid you not! For all the times you have had a Christmas dinner, this little bugger wants revenge! Maintain eye contact at all times, and don’t stop until you are past. I turned to get this info from the farmer and the little sod had me! You have been warned.

Back to the walk, and across the Wilshaw Road you enter Meltham Gardens, which is a restful 5 minute stroll, sheltered and shaded, and no Turkey.

Out of the Gardens and the Meltham Way goes Right and Uphill towards Thick Hollins Park. Or, alternatively take a left and walk along the bottom side of Meltham Mills. This naughty little detour reduces the walk by about 40 minutes, and because its Easter Sunday, and I have family to visit, I’m taking the detour.

I rejoin the Meltham Way by taking the second public footpath on the right hand side of the main road and follow the walk meltham signs right back to Blackmoorfoot reservoir

and then to the start point

…..This is my fourth Sunday of getting up early and going out for a little walk. Today started at 5:30am at Marsh,

Walking past Royds Hall, down into Milnsbridge

I took the Right Fork in Milnsbridge to cross Manchester road and head up to Colne Valley High and then the reservoir.

At dawn, with the birds singing away you get some good views out over the valley

 

and pass the church in Linthwaite.

Just before the top of the hill is a great view of the Colne Valley

 

The total distance was about 15 miles. I am starting to feel a bit fitter, although today was very windy, which made walking tough.

Along the way I detoured to keep to my self imposed training schedule, which as far as possible I try and follow without compromising on family life.

The reason I started doing all this walking is to increase my fitness levels, and to reduce my Cholestrol, but in recent weeks I have been training harder than before as I will be attempting the Yorkshire 3 Peaks #Y3P in May. I have taken on the challenge to support the RMBI

If you have enjoyed reading this, perhaps you would be willing to sponsor me with a pound or two? If you can Thank You! here is the link justgiving.com

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