Tag Archives: archaeology

Archaeology in Cross Stone

Stoodley View

A rare Friday outing began with a speedy bus journey to Todmorden.  Having no firm plans about what to do when we got there, Phil suggested going up to Cross Stone to re-examine a prehistoric site, previously visited during an archaeology trip some time ago.  I agreed, with the proviso that we had food first.  Alighting at the bus station, we entered the classic market hall to be tempted by an all-day breakfast at the cheap ‘n’ cheerful Market Hall Café.

Red and yellow 4

From the town centre, we took a back route eastward, stopping briefly in the community garden.

Bees buzzed amidst colourful flower beds. Young green apples hung from low branches.  Juvenile jackdaws searched for worms on the moist grass.  A small tent pitched close to the bins, suggesting someone lived there.

Proceeding down back streets we noted the familiar northern town grid-pattern terraces. We walked the length of the unmistakably Victorian-named Industrial Street, and turned right onto Anchor Street.

At the corner of Halifax Road, I cut through the grounds of Roomfiled Baptist Church to re-join Phil on Halifax Road.  We paused on the bridge over the River Calder to watch dippers hopping among the stones as small fish created concentric ripples on the water’s surface.

Street sign 4The second turning on the left marked the start of our climb up Cross Stone Road.  Urban landscapes quickly gave way to a more rural aspect.  Steep curves led us past dark green verges, almost submerging large stones and unkempt benches.  An old toll house had been converted into a twee cottage.

At the top, we felt overheated layer and rested awhile by a clump of dog roses. We turned up Hey Head Lane toward the golf club.  Unsure of where the earthworks lay, we followed the drive into the car park, and started heading upwards across the green to a likely ridge. Phil asked a helpful golfer if he knew where the site was and he directed us to the top of the course.

Golf course 5On a further ridge, we tried to differentiate between ancient markings and modern bunkers.  A second golfer shouted sarcastically “take your time!”  before informing us about a public footpath along the top edge of the green.  This turned out to be quite pleasant.  Edged with small shrubs, grasses and willow herbs, we discovered what looked like a grave marked by a standing stone in a boggy patch.

Eventually, Phil reckoned we had located the ‘earthwork’.  Having been told in archaeology class that it was a long barrow, we were sceptical.  Clearly visible markings that appeared to be field boundaries, lay atop the undulating mound, suggesting this had been a settlement. Views of the valley across to Stoodley Pike seemed to confirm our theory.i

Up the laneQuest over, we returned to the marked path.  A gap in a lovely stone wall led back onto the lane.  I developed indigestion as a result of eating just before embarking on the climb.  I tried to ignore it and concentrated on the pleasant walk down.  In places, hedgerows of hawthorns were fronted by stone walls suggesting that Medieval hedges had then been added to later.

Back in the village, we rested on a wall by the now-defunct church.  Ignoring the curtain-twitchers, we looked round for the stocks then realised they were by our feet, almost totally overgrown with weeds.  We had noticed a footpath down the west side of the churchyard and guessed it might cut out the first big bend on Cross Stone Road.

Carr Lane Farm 2The extremely narrow path soon arrived at some steps.  A woman gardening informed us of the way to go, but it seemed to be leading in the wrong direction.  The untrodden path took on a spooky aspect, until we reached another ‘junction’.

I suggested taking a lane back to the road rather than following the path (signed ‘Calderdale way link path’) as I didn’t want to end up walking along the tops all the way home.  We past an impossibly cute row of houses, followed by a row of posh parked cars.

Later, I discovered it was marked on the map as ‘Carr Lane Farm’, but the clues implied this was now a des res.  Carr Lane became grassy as it led us down to Cross Stone Road.  From there, it was an easy stroll down to the main road where we caught a bus straight away and were soon home.

Note

i For more information on the bronze age ‘Blackheath long barrow’ see:

https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/residents/leisure-and-culture/local-history-and-heritage/glimpse-past/archaeology

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti4IqLoyglWjabVfbvg

Golf course 2

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Explorations on Lower Midgely Moor

Heights Road 1

A week into April, we deemed it dry enough to venture up to the lower part of Midgely Moor in search of archaeology we had not seen on our visit last summer.  The warm Saturday sunshine had brought hordes of people into the town centre.  Not tempted to join them, we passed by the busy pubs on our way to the bus stop on Commercial street.  As the bus to Old Town turned the corner onto Heights Road, I realised we had reached the golf club.  We pressed the buzzer and the driver let us off a bit further down the road (a tad grumpily).

Midgley Moor quarry 1We took in the views and hedgerow features before walking the few metres back to the club entrance.  At the corner, we tried to avoid making ‘selfies’ while taking shots of the mirror on a pole and watched the antics of chickens.  We walked up the drive and cut across the pleasant golf course to the gate onto the footpath.

 

Reaching the top, we checked the map and determined that the enclosure we searched should be behind the nearby quarry.   On entering, we sat awhile to enjoy the sun and debated our next move.  Phil thought he had a found a route.  We started climbing and spotted a likely mound.  But the way proved tricky, not being an actual path.  Scrambling back down, we turned left to continue on the proper path.  Just before the next gate, we noticed another path leading up sharply on the left.

Midgley Moor earthworks 1This took us to the top of the quarry where we observed grouse screeching as they flew away from us between a series of mounds.

I wondered if the whole area had been a burial site.  We kept going on small paths in the direction of Lane Ends.

They led us down through moorland vegetation and onto a track churned with mud by cattle and tractors.  We kept along the edge of a stone wall to avoid the mud but had to crouch beneath low-hanging thorn trees.  Eventually, we found a safe course back onto better paths once more and soon found ourselves back on Heights Road.   At the Hare and Hounds, we commandeered a table on the patio.  We enjoyed the sun while eating, drinking and chatting for over 2 hours.

Mill with flowers in foreground 2Deciding to walk back down to Hebden in the ‘golden hour’ proved an excellent choice: the moon rose over the moor; spring flowers adorned the hedgerows.  We stayed ‘up tops’ as long as possible, taking Raglands Lane to Dod Naze then down into Common Bank Woods to witness gilded trees in the glowing light.

I stumbled on a tree branch and landed on my bad knee.  I sat in the dirt for a while recovering but no damage had been done and I said it would have hurt more if I hadn’t had 2 pints!

Back in town, we considered another drink.  However, the sight of people who had been drinking all afternoon put us off so we headed home.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiqUzzrIq2giN_bP9qg

Trees at golden hour 2

In search of Brearley

Old mill wall panorama

We often walk along the canal to Mytholmroyd, but had never ventured beyond. At the other side of the village we took in a different view of the industrial estate and walked on to the cricket club.

Lock number 5 iiThe next section of canal proved very picturesque. A passing old man told me interesting facts about how the canal used to be a mess until not long ago and his grandma who lived in the nearby ‘spring cottages’ (so named yes, you guessed it, because a spring ran through them which was just as well as there were no taps back then).

Polite noticeWe realised we had overshot the hamlet and started to make our way back, stopping at a pretty lock for en route.   Locating Brearley, we walked over the river bridge and passed the chapel aiming to go back a different way.

We found the ‘greenway marked with amusing polite notices requesting ‘courteous cycling’’. Unfortunately the path was shut due to ongoing work.

Metal birdBack along the canal we looked at a sculpture of a bird, puzzled by the lack of clues as to what it meant…

More photos at: http://1drv.ms/1gvICQ2

Changing Landscapes in Crimsworth Dean

Old road with tree 1

An alternative to the ever-popular Hardcastle Crags, a ramble through the nearby Crimsworth Dean took us on a journey through numerous landscapes.

Woodland flowers 1At the top of Midgehole Road we skirted the edge of the crags passed the overflow car park. We walked up the bridleway, and climbed, and climbed.

Soon after the apex we found a small path going down to the right and headed through woods planted in the 1830’s with Scottish spruce and beech. We took time to admire spring flowers and tiny birds flitting amongst the trees.

Crimsworth brook 1Descending further, we navigated across felled trees, impromptu streams and small waterfalls until we reached a very pretty bridge over Crimsworth dean brook.

After crossing we turned right again and followed the line of the brook on the other side of the clough.

Large stone with ruin 1The landscape changed every time we passed over a boundary. From a posh garden and through wetland, we came into a moor-like field, complete with tiny ruins and huge stones.

A perfect spot for a picnic.

The next boundary brought us back into woodland. We came across a crop of garlic. Pausing to pick some, we discovered most of it was growing in bog making harvesting rather tricky. We then chose from two paths to go down to the water’s edge.

Mill pond with duck familyThis took us to a series of industrial ruins.

On an old mill pond we took time to watch a family of ducks calmly paddling away from us.

We then proceeded along the man-made landscape and came upon a huge dam wall. We marvelled at its dimensions then carried on into a more pastoral scene where lone trees adorned pretty green fields. Pausing again to take in the views, we came out through a wooden gate back onto Midgehole road.

Old dam wall 6More photos at: http://1drv.ms/1QpWlVn

Walks in Colden Clough

Tree stump with bluebells

We never tire of walking in Colden Clough. Due to the seasonal changes, it is impossible to have the same experience twice.

Spring walks are rewarded by a riot of bluebells and garlic, which we can smell before we see it (we pick young leaves away from the path for ace soups and pesto). Summer brings the trees out in full bloom – beech and birch, oak and rowan are the most common. This is also usually (but not always!) the time when the lower paths are driest allowing navigation of routes otherwise too muddy and wet.

Colden Clough April - Lumb Mill Archaeology - Mill Floor 4

Autumn brings out the true majesty of the trees in their golds, oranges, reds and browns. We may forage for beech nuts if the squirrels haven’t beaten us to it!

And in winter, the Clough becomes a wonderland, when blanketed with snow or hoar frost.

Despite the interest of organisations such as the AA i and the BBC ii, it is not unusual if you choose the less-trodden paths, to barely see another soul all day. Start by walking west out of town along the main road to the Fox and Goose pub. Then either turn right up the next path you come to or up Church Lane passed the parish church and keep going up.

Red path 5

From here, there are numerous paths to choose, some of which take you very quickly to Lumb Bank. Others will lead you on a series of adventures via woods, rocky outcrops, up and down steps, and numerous examples of industrial archaeology.

These latter two are Victorian creations: many of the small paths were built as a part of a job creation scheme in the early 1900’s.

If you keep to the route of the river, you will eventually come to Hebble Bridge. In good weather, the river and clearing on the other side is busy with people picnicking, children paddling and dogs optimistically waiting for someone to play with them.

Many of these may be staying at the campsite, just a little further up in the New Delight pub (known affectionately by locals as ‘The Newdy’).

Meaningless signs

This can be reached by climbing either of the steep sets of steps in front of you as you come over the bridge. Turn right at the top and go along the lane.

You then have choices to make: follow the packhorse trailii or the modern road to Heptonstall, go back into the Clough and keep heading down, or just get the bus back to town.

 

 

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References:

i http://www.theaa.com/walks/jumble-hole-and-colden-clough-421306

i i http://www.bbc.co.uk/bradford/content/articles/2008/04/09/colden_clough_walk_feature.shtml