Calderdale Way Day 3 – Sunshine and Mud

This is a part of the Calderdale Way. See more about the Calderdale Way

Calderdale way Midgley to Stone Chair GPX

Back to it.

Having taken a break from the Calderdale Way to get wet on Pen-y-Ghent, and have a sniffle in Meltham, it feels good to put my boots back on the trail.

I still don’t feel 100%, it seems to take longer to shake off colds as I get older. I am not going to let it win though, back to the walking.

Getting to Midgley is straight forward, but can’t be done early on Sunday. The first bus is at 9 ‘O’ clock, getting into Midgley at around a quarter to 10. By the time I got there the sun had burned off all the dew, and the day looked set to be a good one.

I took the short path from the road up the hill to the Calderdale Way. This is one of the many link paths that make this such a good route to follow. I have probably said it before, but it bears repeating, that the Calderdale way has lots of these link paths that let you get on and off wherever you feel, allowing a short or longer section to be undertaken as you require.

This section of the hike is skirting around the bottom of Crow Hill, and is a little on the soggy side. Luckily the mud isn’t deeper than the lace holes on my boots, but it still feels cloying, and I am glad to get onto stonier ground at Height Farm. Here the Calderdale way is tarmac, and you follow the road down, all the way to Jerusalem Farm.

Jerusalem Farm is a nature reserve, and it looks to have changed very little since I was a boy. If anything, there are less people here. Even if you don’t want to walk the whole of the Calderdale Way, you should consider a day out to these woods. With the river gently burbling through the valley, it is a pleasant place to while away a few hours. Today was not a day for sitting around though, and the path leads up through the woods. There is a convenient bench half way up the valley, with great views, but more importantly, somewhere level to sit the stove and make a brew.

Coffee in hand, and able to lean back on the bench, I could trace the route I had come on the hill opposite. A nice way to spend 10 minutes, just long enough for legs to stiffen and your body to feel the chill of the shade. Back on your feet, the hill has waited long enough.

The pathway soon changes from muddy track to tarmac again, and this continues until you get to Warley Moor. There is a footpath that leads over the top of Warley Moor, to a place called Rocking Stones, but the Calderdale way goes around the moor. The diversion to take the summit adds about 3 miles to your route, and is one I have not taken as yet.

Around Moorfield Farm is very wet, short sections of planking have been installed to help keep your feet dry. To some extent this works well. Between planks is another story.

Back on hard surfaces the route leads through Lower Brockholes, and skirts around Bradshaw. At one point it feels like you are walking through somebodies back garden, but this opens up into a newly paved area with a pond.

No signs direct you, so head around the far side of the pond, looking for a small gate at the far side. This leads you back to a road, which you cross before heading back into the fields. Mud is the main feature for the next few hundred yards before you return to firmer ground for the short leg down to Holdsworth House. Although your route doesn’t take you directly to Holdsworth House, it is a short detour up the driveway to have a look. As I was so muddy, I chose not to, although it would have been nice to see again where our wedding reception was held.

The Calderdale Way is well marked up to this point, but I didn’t see any markers for this section, which heads along the main road, left over the bridge and back up the hill. On the right is “Crooked Lane” which is steep, and also appears to be a site of special fly-tipping interest. I was glad to get past this and away from the dreadful sight. A quick left and right on the main road and a welcome Calderdale way marker is again to be seen. This points you down through Scout wood to Shibden Dale. I thought I had seen mud for the day, but I hadn’t seen anything. The route down through Scout Wood was deep mud across the path, with no easy way to avoid it.

After the mud, I noticed a lone walker checking his map. A fellow Calderdale Wayfarer, we decided to join forces for a little way.

It made a nice change to have someone to chat with, and you can imagine my surprise when it turned out we had both worked in the same Tandy shop back in the 90’s. Paul worked there just before me, so we had never met, but knew all the same people.

The last hour of today’s section seemed to be particularly well signposted, but I suspect that two pairs of eyes and Paul’s local knowledge helped with this.

We soon arrived at Stone Chair, and of course, we had to sample the refreshments at Paul’s local.

Saying our farewells, and with wishes to stay in touch, we parted company. Paul for his house just up the road, and me for my bus back to Halifax for the ride home.

This section of the Calderdale way has some moorland, but is mostly on firm ground and tarmac. The areas that are wet are many, and these get very muddy. Although not my favourite section so far, it has much to commend it, not least of which is the relative ease.Today’s superb weather helped too.

 

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