Tag Archives: beck

Freaky Nutclough

Bright trees 1

Following a week in bed with sinusitis, we managed one more walk before the end of October.  As it was the day the clocks reverted to GMT and as usual, we did not leave the house until mid-afternoon, we agreed on a short jaunt to Nutclough.  We used the shortcut to the buttress and down towards town.  Discordant music could be heard, prompting speculation as to what event might be occurring but concluded it might just be a busker.  We walked the familiar route via Hangingroyd road, up the steps opposite the Little Park onto Foster Lane, turned right and crossed Keighley Road into Nutclough Wood.  Beautiful colours greeted us immediately; many trees still sported green leaves while browns and oranges littered the path.

Evil pixie 2Finding the large iron gate padlocked, we entered via side gate.  It squeaked ominously as I lifted the latch and went through.  I joked about recording the sound to scare young children on Halloween!  The freaky theme continued as Phil cavorted like an evil pixie – obviously influenced by the film we’d watched the night before featuring fantastically crap demons.i

We continued up leaf-strewn steps and through the gap onto the edge of ‘the swamp’.  Braving snagging brambles and biting insects, I ventured further towards the edge than ever before.

Colourful reflections 6The colours reflected in the water were stunning!  A cyan sky provided a backdrop for dark horizontal shadows of tree trunks.  Bright green ferns were reflected beneath curled-up leaves floating gently on the surface.  Ripples produced surreal effects with undulations of red and yellow.  On returning to the gap in the wall I spotted a small swarm of flies glinting in the sunlight; they gave the impression of fairies dancing in a magical woodland.

Continuing down towards the stream, a couple with two small boys strolled around ‘the island’.  The man chatted to us about the local environment and good weather, making comparisons with his home county of Kent.  The elder of the two boys asked Phil if he could use his camera.  Phil understandably said no and I added that he probably wouldn’t even be able to lift it.  In spite of the shallow water, I cautiously used the stepping stones to cross.

Flourish of fungiAt the top end of the island, we clambered over the felled branches.  More cutting had occurred – evidenced by sawdust on the ground – and sadly obliterated the black mushrooms.    However, a flourish of pale pink fungi grew in its stead.  Due to the low water level, the waterfall had become a tinkling trickle.  Above us, the sun glinted on the uppermost leaves of tall beeches, quietly rustling in the softest of breezes.

We rested briefly on the now even more sunken bench, somewhat bemused by the elder boy bashing everything in sight with a stick.  I remarked that he obviously didn’t get out in the countryside much (urban kids being well known for a fear of the great outdoors!)

Proceeding to the other end of the swamp, my attempts to capture a group of paddling ducks on camera were distinctly blurry.  We turned sharp left to climb the steep path up to the treetops looking down on the kaleidoscope of colours.  Behind the terrace of houses, we nosed around and discovered another path leading back down to the clough.   Phil considered it but I felt it would be too much for me.  After my latest illness, I had just wanted an hour or two of sun and exercise which I had achieved.  Instead, we carried on up to Sandy Gate and down to Birchcliffe.

Picturesque chair 1Taking the steep buttress-like ginnel, tall houses framed a narrow slither of sky in front of us was.  Halfway down, a picturesque chair had been left outside a garden gate, while at the bottom., lichen and small ferns created textured wallpaper against grey stone.  On reaching School Street, we proceeded onto Bridge Gate, noting that Calan’s did not seem popular.

Along Market street, we found amusement in a horrifying display of pumpkins accompanied by a terrible painting of Frida Kahlo – which someone obviously considered an appropriate homage to the late artist – probably the freakiest thing we had seen all day!

Pumpkin helli The excellent Basque film, ‘Errementari’ (the Blacksmith and the Devil)

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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

Wood Hey Circulars

Evening gambol 1One fine spring evening, we met at the train station for a short stroll. The walk took us up Wood Top Road towards ‘wood Hey’.

Evening round upAt the corner we watched the pastoral scene of a sheepdog and shepherd working and admired the views up Spencer Lane.

We turned up Wood Hey Lane and paused again to be entertained by adorable lambs gambolling in the field – they seemed to be watching us too!

Clough with birch treesWe continued to ‘Stubb Clough’. This cute clough is created by Calder Brook as it flows towards the River Calder, creating a tiny enclave of streams and glades amongst the farmland.

Taking a path through a field onto Carr Lane and crossing the railway line, we emerged near the old Walkey’s Clogs mill.

No unauthorisedWe then explored ‘Hawks Clough’ which is really a misnomer.

The diversion took us in a semi-circle over a hump to come out further down Caldene Avenue.

The walk became less picturesque as we encountered the industrial estate. I was outraged to see someone had slaughtered several pussy willow trees in their prime but amused by impromptu art in a tyre yard. We returned to town via the ‘cycle path’.

An assortment of leavesRecently, we began a late summer walk through Crow Nest woods admiring an assortment of leaves and mushrooms, some clinging like stone to tree trunks.  We took the middle path via the picturesque ex-quarry examining the changing colours.  We then proceeded up Wood Hey lane and beyond Shroggs Clough. We followed the lane down until it became Nest Lane.

This proved an easy and straightforward route to Mytholmroyd. Arriving in the village centre, we enjoyed a pint in the Dusty Miller.  A walk back along the canal and ‘cycle path’ provided amusement in the form of Guardianistas foraging for blackberries (although I did point out I had done the same the day before).

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Pootling Around Nutclough Woods

Snowy Swamp 3Nearby Nutclough woods is the perfect place for a pootle. Behind what was once Nutclough Mill on Keighley Road, lies a mini reminder of our industrial past. Now, the remnants of that Victorian legacy, including a variety of trees, mill race and ponds (maintained by the ‘Friends of Nutclough Woods’ i) are worth a visit at any time of year.

In autumn 2012, we spent a couple of enjoyable hours wandering around the post-flood altered landscape. We discovered several bits of pottery that had been washed down from the hills.

I doubt everyone would agree, but we decided it looked better as a result. A lot of silt had disappeared from the old mill ponds although that meant the ducks had scarpered, probably due to a lack of food.

Nutclough uphill 2aDuring the dry summer of 2013, it was easy to navigate the low waters of the beck via conveniently-placed stepping stones and explore the small islands.

A variety of wild flowers and a smattering of archaeology could be found. On one visit, my friend found a very interesting hook in the river.

After exploring, we often carry on up the hill to Old Town via a number of routes. Following the course of the beck, the path may be too boggy to navigate at any time of year, but especially in winter.

Last summer however, the problem was quite the reverse: it was so dusty and dry that it had become dangerous in a different way. As I found out to my cost, skidding on a pebble and landing on my arse.

A drier route involves a steep climb across a field. A scattering of meadow flowers, the views across the valley and a lack of mud, make this an attractive alternative.

Kestrel in flight 1On a recent visit to admire the snowy woodland scenes, I chickened out of crossing the fast-flowing water via the stepping stones. Instead, we crossed via a small bridge from where we climbed a steep path. This led through a private garden and out onto Sandy Gate.

 

Walking along the road, we paused to watch a kestrel hovering above. I spotted a path going down on the right. I thought it might go back into Nutclough Woods but disappointingly, it skirted the Birchcliffe Centre with cheeky signs telling us which way to walk!

Flooded Islands 1After the Boxing Day floods of 2015, the islands had got even smaller! I refused to even try fording the streams and took the top path to the stone bridge.

We crossed to the path on the other side. Missing the turning up to Sandy gate, Phil started going towards the white house where the path had turned into a muddy stream. I refused to follow him and started heading back until I spotted the path I was looking for above and found a way up to it. I

had planned to walk further but I felt exhausted and stressed. I sat on a wall to rest.

On the way back down, we noticed odd bits of Birchcliffe including a private burial ground which we explored despite the ‘no admittance’ signs.

Private burial ground 1

i https://friendsofnutcloughwoods.wordpress.com/

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