Tag Archives: autumn

Frost, Fog and Sun

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The last Saturday in November, the low morning sun was blinding!  Lingering fog in the valley created a white line below an azure sky.

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We set off early afternoon, up the Cuckoo steps (resplendent in brown and green with a sunlit backdrop) and into Eaves Wood.  Views back down proved absolutely stunning with the bright light and clear sky.  Climbing up the lovely path along the ridge, we watched crows wheeling above the rocks – observing for the first time that they resembled a vanilla slice.

We took the steps up behind Hell Hole Rock, resting at the top to enjoy the warm sun. Phil clambered over an outcrop for more views.  I followed him and noticed a small path going southwards that I had not travelled before.

 

We walked along the edge of a horse field, past climbers whingeing about dogs, and saw an acquaintance with her dog who managed to chuck its ball into the field.   Phil clambered over the fence to retrieve it.  We continued around the field, through a newly-planted woodland and emerged near the social club.

 

As we watched the horses eating straw as if it was spaghetti, I spotted frosty leaves on the ground where the sun never shone.  We continued up the edge of Southfield to West Laithe and into the village.

sunny-path-1The old co-op building had been commandeered by a Heptonstall artists’ and makers’ market.  We Chatted to some of the artists and perused the merchandise.  I was fascinated by the pile of junk inside the old building – I never knew that lot was in there.

In the Cross iInn we found more art and bought raffle tickets. We fancied a pint and pub food, but they only seemed to be offering pizza and tapas.

Reasoning that we could walk back down in the last light of the day, we headed back to town.  We took the easy road back, until we came to The Buttress.

We took our time going down to avoid slipping on leaves.  It had been so long since I had travelled that way, and had not realised that the council had cleaned up the small graveyard.  Entering for a nosey, we found more frosty leaves, large brown mushrooms (Phil macabrely pointing out that they were growing from dead people!) and took in views of sunlight still lingering on Old Town.  At the bottom, we crossed the Packhorse bridge and up Bridge Gate for beer and huge pies at The White Lion.

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Slow Autumn in Crow Nest

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Early October brought slow changes to the woods.  On a changeable Sunday, we headed up to Palace House Road and took the first path into Crow Nest woods.  As we climbed, we picked a few remaining blackberries and popped balsam pods.  We paused to admire the gradually altering autumnal colours across the valley before coming to a fork in the path.

tree-with-balletic-armsThis time we chose to go westwards, a path we had not walked for some years.  The path was ill-maintained and tricky in places, littered with sticks and stones.  We zig-zagged to the top of the wood and figured it must be an ancient route-way as cliff-like sides and exposed tree roots suggested it had sunk a few feet over time.

 

tree-like-an-elephant-2We remarked on how different the wood looked to our last visit in May.  Patches of straw-like grass stood in the place of the earlier bluebells; multi-coloured beech leaves littered the route; half-eaten mushrooms poked out from the ground.

We carried on eastwards along the top path as it became made for elves and noticed a tree that looked like Groot (or an elephant depending on the angle).

 

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On reaching the apex, we crossed the small stream and continued down into the quarry.  Greeted by the remains of a fire, more balsam, (although dying off some still clung on), and fallen trees riddled with fungi.  I said that if it was cleaned up a bit it could be Malham Cove.

Doubling back, we came onto a narrow path behind the road.  Turning eastwards once more, we found ourselves on another old road, this time paved with cobbles, becoming slippery concrete further down.

As we emerged just north of the train station, we saw evidence of work being undertaken in the stone yard.   We picked our way through piles of stones and interesting junk to investigate. It appeared that the old watermill was being made to work again (very heartening).  From there, we walked onto Station road, across the main road and up Commercial Street.  We reached the Sunday market just in time to catch Craggs Cakes for a tasty treat.

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Colden to Draper Lane

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The first Sunday in November felt more like summer. It later turned out to be officially the hottest November day ever recorded. I wore sandals which could be unprecedented for this late in the year.

We walked the small paths up to Colden Clough. The bright sunlight and autumn leaves resulted in a profusion of stunning colours throughout the woodland.  We trod paths strewn with copper beech leaves, framed by greens and golds clinging still to trees, beneath a flawless blue sky.

Path with fallen leaves 2Just before Lumb Bank, Phil had to stop to rest his back. Perched on a rock, we watched leaves falling and tiny birds flitting through the trees.

As we set off again, we saw a friend coming towards us with a companion. We chatted about the glorious scene and taking photos inside Lumb bank sometime.

We said goodbye and carried on climbing up. We stayed on the upper path and continued climbing to the causeway at the very top along the wall.

 

 

Upper Causeway 1We continued to ‘Hebble Hole’ and sat on another rock for coffee and parkin.

I calculated we had about an hour and a quarter of daylight left. I did not feel confident walking back down through the clough in case we didn’t make it before dark.

Instead, we climbed up the small steep steps to Hudson Mill Lane to walk along the road towards Heptonstall. On the tops, the sun created beautiful orange glows across the valley. We saw a field of pheasants being stalked by a cat which amused us.

Twilight across the valley 4At Draper’s corner we turned down Draper Lane. We descended in the gloaming, catching the last light on the trees.  Even as we stopped to take yet more photos, we hoped we would make it down before full dark.

Coming onto Heptonstall Road and down onto the Cuckoo Steps (thankfully lit) we reached home with mere seconds of the dusk remaining.

Back home, we ate a very fat dinner of about 1000 calories, which we justified by reminding ourselves that we had no lunch and had walked for over 3 hours – a lot for us with all our ailments.

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Draper Lane

Tat and Leaves

Puddle and leaves 3Another grey day, but desperate for some air, we took the opportunity to visit the first floor of Hebble End Mill.

Hebble End mill 4The so-called ‘vintage sale’ proved to be a load of tat but the building was great. White-washed walls juxtaposed with hanging fabrics and trailing wires while leftover paraphernalia provided props for hanging clothes.

Hebble End mill 5As we took our photos, a woman asked if we were industrial spies. The mission took only a few minutes and we continued along to Blackpit Lock.

For a change, we crossed the bridge and trod the path on the other side. Now the reflections in the water became framed by structural plants reaching optimistically sky-ward

We were forced to turn left near the canal overflow, where the rippling water cascaded down into the river.

Further up, we examined old ruined buildings and an old tree-lined road.

The Old Pattern Works 3After some exploration, we went up the short flight of steps to Palace House Road and walked along to The Old Pattern works.

We perused the renovated exterior and the backyard, now converted into ‘luxury holiday cottages’.

We continued on the road. Reaching the train station, we crossed back over the river.

I spotted a heron on the weir – my efforts to capture it on camera were dire. At Mayroyd we bypassed the canal up to Station Road. I saw a huge squirrel dashing down a tree but it was too fast to photograph.

A day for bad wildlife photography obviously!

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Canal and plants

Lazy Sunday in the Park

Aqueduct 1Even if I am really not up to an actual walk, I will try to force myself out for some fresh air. I spent the last week of September (which turned out to be gloriously sunny) in bed with a bad cold.

Evening sun 4I tried not to sink into deeper depression and enjoyed the scene from my bedroom window. I managed to capture a beautiful evening displaying the slow-turning leaves across the valley.

By the weekend I was itching to be outdoors. On the first Sunday of October, we watched the skies waiting for the morning fog to burn off.

Red cherry cleft 1We walked along the canal through Hebble End and paused on the aqueduct to see how the ‘beach’ was coming along.

I noticed some fantastic reflections of trees where Hebden water meets the Calder. The water was so still as look almost like a lake.

We walked across the bridge at Blackpit lock into the park. The extended early autumn rendered the park full of interest.

We spent a good hour examining trees, bark, flowers and mushrooms. We even spotted a plum tree overhanging the river.

We circumnavigated the park before passing through the gate halfway along the top path and back onto canal.

Dog rose 4More photos at: http://1drv.ms/1ZCKdpN

Canal to Callis

Callis wood wonderland 1

Last Sunday was another bright October day. We set off towards Hebble End and westwards along the canal.

I spotted someone filming the scene on an ipad and wondered aloud how many crap videos we must be on. My partner played up to the camera, doing a very silly jig.

We bumped into a friend and walked her to the pub where she was meeting up with other people. After saying goodbye, we carried on along the towpath.  We enjoyed the patchy sunshine and joked about walkers in their hiking gear.

Abandoned bridge 1Just before Callis, we spotted a bridge over the river we had not noticed before and clambered through undergrowth for a closer look. We deduced it must be an old bridge although built up with concrete at a later date. Derelict-looking buildings stood behind, one of which appeared modern.

Callis wood wonderland 4We then found the path leading to the ‘wood wonderland’. I had known of its existence for some time but had never explored. Someone had obviously put some effort into making it attractive.

Following the path, we spotted various features including wigwams, birds hanging in trees, trees with tiny apples, chairs stood in a glade and a lovely arch at the start (we had done the walk backwards).

From Callis Bridge, we walked across the road for some exploration at the bottom of Jumble Hole Road and contemplated the old Lancashire/Yorkshire boundary.

Callis wood wonderland 7More photos at: http://1drv.ms/1Qntj8e

Common Bank to Nutclough Circular

Nutclough glen 2 This year, the late September sun felt more like summer than autumn. Emerging from the still-green Common Bank Wood, we traversed the small stream and stayed on the top path to see how far we could go. The small hillside field provided a perfect isolated spot for a topless man and his wolf-dog to partake in a spot of sunbathing.

Rowland Lane 1We followed a signed path as far as possible but again were thwarted by barbed wire. We walked back to the stream and staying on the left-hand side, walked up a lovely path flanked by livestock fields on both sides. The goats eyed us warily. Emerging onto Wadsworth Lane, we came across a bumper crop of blackberries and filled two tubs with the lush fruits. After resting on a bench at the corner, we took a flight of steps and turned left into Rowland Lane.

More brambles and fantastic views of Old Town and Heptonstall awaited us. We continued along the pretty well-kept lane to the next junction and dropped down onto Sandy Gate Lane. Stopping again to harvest berries, a couple I knew from dance classes came by and we chatted awhile.

Nutclough descent 1We then carried on until we found a gap in the hedgerow leading to a dappled footpath into Nutclough woods. Taking time to capture the picturesque scene of the bridge bedecked in copper beech leaves, we crossed over and turned left onto the steep path leading down to the old mill ponds.

It looked totally different again!  The stepping stones had been augmented with recycled tree stumps; the small islands were covered in lush vegetation; brown mushrooms sprouted in dank corners. We enjoyed the tranquil scene for some time before crossing back over the stepping stones and continued down the path.

We came onto Keighley road and descended into town. We both agreed that it had been a lovely circular walk and marvelled that it had taken us three hours!

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Our Back Yard

Eaves Wood - Down the path 2

The first Sunday of 2015 dawned bright and crisp. In the afternoon, we chased the sun up the hill through what we call ‘our back yard’ (commonly known as Eaves Wood). A climb up to Heptonstall road and a left turn, took us to possibly my favourite path along the ridge. I love all the little crevices made by the weathering of the sandy rocks and the numerous minute plants found clinging to the rock face. I could explore this tiny world for hours.

From Great Rock we took the precarious steps up and paused at ‘photographers’ corner’ where there was a bit of a lock jam. Not surprising given the views back down the valley across to Stoodley Pike. We then followed the path along, and stopped on one of the flat rocks for coffee, avoiding getting blasted by the icy air. I closed my eyes and felt the bright orange sun on my face – a real tonic.

Heptonstall - Churchyard in winter 3

We then carried on as far as the path took us turning right up the lane where we came across the tree planters. We waved in greeting then took the road down into the village. As the light faded, we lingered in the churchyard before setting off to walk back home.

Alternative route - Leaves of green and yellowWe recently discovered a different way up to the woods. I had a vague recollection of taking this less direct route some years before but unfortunately my memories were flawed.

We started out along the main road and soon after the Fox & Goose, we took a small flight of steps up. Struggling through brambles and overgrown balsam plants, we came to a dead end and concluded that we had followed a path to a telegraph pole!

 

Alternative route - Woodland den

 

We retraced our steps. About to go back down to the main road, we noticed an actual path leading further up and thought that might have been the one we had thought we were on to start with.

The sight of a woodland den prompted a joke that Ray Mears had been here recently.

We followed it up and around until we joined my favourite path from which we had a relatively easy and familiar climb.

 

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Jumble Hole Rambles

Stone waterfall 2

A mid-October ramble started with an easy walk along the canal to Callis Bridge. Crossing the road, we turned right up Jumble Hole Road then followed a path on the left side of the stream. Amongst the very pretty trees and undergrowth we spied a number of old broken down buildings giving the impression that this was once a village in the industrial era.

Mini moors 1We came to the remains of a mill confirming this view. With no way to carry on up the left side of the stream, we crossed via a bridge running parallel to a stunning waterfall.

We then ascended a steep tarmac path before veering off onto a smaller path back along the route of the stream albeit a lot higher up.

Further on, we had a choice of several forks in the path and took one going down to a cute stone bridge we knew well. Traversing the stream once again, we climbed up to a different path leading back down towards the Pennine Way.

The steep climb and lack of stopping places rendered us in severe need of R&R (rest and refreshment).

Kinky bridgeWe sat on a flat rock which had become so overgrown that it resembled a mini moor.

After a picnic, we embarked on the last part of our ramble. This involved a steep descent making us footsore.

However, we still managed to laugh at the sign for ‘Lacy underbridge’ as we emerged back onto the main road!

 

9 - Small ruined house 1Visiting the clough again the following April, we noticed that some of the old ruins had been demolished, but we found a tiny house to explore.   Taking care not to sink into the several inches of mulch, we marvelled at the small dimensions including the very low ceiling that must have been in place judging by the evidence remaining.

 

10 - Pikachu woods 3

After crossing near the waterfall and climbing up the valley side, we turned left up a different path than last time, which took us through a strange ‘Pikachu’ woods . Moss had grown round the bottom of all the trees creating weird animal-looking formations.

Following a steep climb, we eventually came out onto a grassy lane.

 

11 - Spring lamb 3

We took a somewhat circuitous route via a dodgy path to Great Rock where we enjoyed lovely views and a picnic. We then walked down a very pretty road, with spring lambs aplenty.

 

12 - Stocks

 

At the village of Cross Stones, we laughed at the stocks and wondered if they were still in use, before walking the rest of the way down to the bus stop.

 

An alternative route into Jumble Hole cCough involved catching a bus with a friend up to Blackshaw Head. Alighting near the graveyard, we walked down following the’ Calderdale way’ signs.

Alpaca family 4This took us along small paths. Somewhat overgrown in July, the stone paving rendered them still navigable. I picked wild grasses and stopped to look at stone troughs, wild flowers and unexpected llamas.

 

 

Staups Mill 2We turned left at a wooden gate and traversed a field of sheep down to a wooden bridge into the clough. We crossed the bridge and followed the path along the streamto Staups Mill.

After a picnic, we continued down the clough and back across the stream at the arched bridge. From there we climbed towards the Pennine way and along smaller paths homeward, admiring the lovely hedgerow flowers along the way.

Harebells 2Later in summer, I took my partner the route my friend had shown me. We admired colourful flowers, long grasses and curious alpacas (with babies this time) on our way down to the clough.  We stopped in the lovely meadow above the clough lingering to take in the scenery. Delicate harebells contrasted with the lush grass.

 

We then crossed the bridge and along the path to Staups Mill. From there we decided to take a new route going downwards which eventually led to the cute stone bridge in Staups Clough.

Again we chose a different, lower, path to the usual.  We expected it would eventually lead back up to the path with the ‘mini moor’. It didn’t. Instead, we found ourselves following a narrow, overgrown path almost at the top of the tree line. A veritable jungle in places, we had to watch our step.

Eventually it led down to the paved path we knew. Tired form the effort, we stopped at the graveyard at the now-ruined Mount Olivet Chapel before continuing down.

Hedgerow flowers 3

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Strolls in Hareshaw and Tinker Bank Woods

Paved lane 2On a rainy Sunday in October, we ventured out to explore lesser known woods close to home. A steep climb up Moss lane led to a turning on the right and through a gate onto a small path.

The grey paving, now slippery and worn, hold testament to its past as an old road. Navigating gingerly as the overgrown path stepped downwards, before widening into a ‘lane’ banked on one side by a moss-covered stone wall.

Blocked windowWe noticed several cobbled paths leading off up the hillside.

These, together with the buildings that remain, make it easy to imagine this hidden enclave as a village in days gone by.

Proceeding to a fork in the way, we headed up to Hareshaw wood until we came upon a ‘stone circle’. We then realised we had traversed into Tinker Bank wood.

We considered carrying on going west but the path appeared overgrown and the rain returned.

Upright stone and small tree

Instead, we doubled back to the fork and took the downward route from there. This led to a very narrow path between allotments.

We navigated carefully past a large tree whose roots served as steps down, to get onto the riverside path.

We marvelled at the changing flow of Hebden Water.

After a dry summer, recent rain had brought more trees down and the river itself appeared to have shifted to the north with a new waterfall forming.

Small stone stepsWe revisited Hareshaw woods in the spring. This time, we followed the lower path that had been blocked in autumn.

It emerged near the river just beyond a bowling hut. We carried on up the lane to a posh farm.

The way ahead being marked private, we took a flight of steep stone steps up to Bobby’s lane.

 

Picnic bench with small yellow flowerFrom there, we carried on passed the Blue Pig and onto the edge of the crags.

We rested on a bench and examined the miniscule plant life in the cracks of the picnic table whilst trying to fend off all the dogs.

 

 

Swamp 3We then returned via the riverside path. At the bridge where we normally crossed, we decided to stay on the east side for a change.

It took us passed what looked like a swamp full of rubbish – not very pleasant. We came out at Windsor View and went into town.

 

 

Old casueway 2A year on, I had been mostly inactive for two months due to illness. The brightening sky with its promise of better weather lured us outdoors. I found the walk up Moss Lane hard work but persevered. We took the now-familiar right turn towards the old road and again mused over the old buildings and causey stones.

Although patches never saw sunlight and walls dripped with water and damp-loving plants, a crust had formed over the mud making it easy going.

 

Small waterfalls 1In Hareshaw Woods, we remarked how different it looked from last time we had visited. We discovered a variety of mosses and lichens and interesting holes in dead tree trunks. I tried to find the ‘stone circle’ we had discovered on our first visit but to no avail.

We carried on further along the path above the bowling hut. We crossed over a gorgeous little stream, where mini waterfalls tripped over higgledy piggledy rocks. I surmised that this had been created in the recent floods.

 

Smugglers cave 1Continuing, we came down onto a paved road near a group of chalets. This ‘little Switzerland’ is a rather odd do – someone obviously had a dream and built it. We crossed the river via a bridge with white railings. I noticed an arch in the wall at water level and joked that it was the entrance to a smuggler’s cave.

We then took the well-trodden route along Hebden Water towards Foster Mill Bridge. Again, changes had occurred, with much sand exposed on the northern banks of the river. An old tree stump I had been documenting for years looked as if it would not last much longer.

 

Dead trunk with holes and moss 1

 

 

 

 

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