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.

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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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One thought on “Wessenden Head, Marsden Moor and Black Hill”

  1. Wonderfully descriptive and informative blog with a little humour thrown in for good measure..The photos are beautiful..makes me want to get my boots and thermals on and get out right now..Thank you Andy.

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