Tag Archives: Colden Valley

Colden Forage

Marble water

At the start of spring, a variety of factors mitigated against walking for several weeks, including stringent ‘social distancing’ measures imposed due to the Coronavirus crisis.  I had planned to go garlic-picking with a friend a few days before the lockdown, but as I felt unwell, I went into self-isolation for a week.  Thankfully, it was the usual sinusitis, not Covid-19.ii

Bridleway rock artPhil and I eventually managed a foraging trip to Colden Clough on a gloriously sunny first Sunday of April.  Approaching the Fox and Goose, we danced in the street, revelling in the novelty of hardly any traffic.  We walked directly up Church Lane to the bridleway to avoid the playpark.  From the higher vantage point, I could see that kids were using the swings although they were meant to be cordoned off.  Now devoid of puddles, arid dust whirled beneath our feet as moss clung to saplings overhanging the edge.  We encountered very few others enjoying their allotted outdoor exercise.  A kind family stood back so we could overtake them.  A couple waited patiently while we took photos of the rock art, now augmented to resemble a cairn.

Clough flowerNear Lumb Mill, vibrant yellow flowers glinted in the sunlight.  The low level of Colden Water enabled Phil to clamber down to the sands for risky shots under the bridge – such a contrast to our visit only a month ago.

Checking the coast was clear, we scooted along the large paving stones and continued upwards onto rugged paths, stopping only briefly to admire clumps of white anemones, knobbly tree roots and the marble-effect tumbling waters below us.

On reaching the ‘garlic fields’, the unmistakeable smell of ransoms mingled with the ridiculously fresh air.  Keeping well away from the path while picking, we soon filled two carrier bags with fresh green leaves.  When two more foragers arrived, I took extra care to remain at a very safe distance.  Alone again, we perched on rocks for a short rest as dry branches alarmingly crackled and thumped to the ground from the beech trees overhead.

Signpost 1We climbed the dry slope up to the top causeway, devoid of humans and animals apart from crows and curlews with their distinctive calls.  Looking back, I spotted them swooping low in adjoining fields.  At the familiar three-way junction, we rounded the ‘public garden’ and came to a lovely path, lined with twisty trees.

A picturesque wooden signpost confirmed the route down to Lumb Bank.  Returning to the site of the mill, we found it slightly more populous, with some people harder to dodge than others.  One family in particular obviously didn’t know what 2 metres looked like as they strolled along the path, oblivious to our attempts at avoidance; turning our backs and not breathing might have been a clue!

On Bridge Lanes, Phil nipped to the shop while I sped up the Cuckoo Steps.  I managed a preliminary sort of the pungent garlic leaves and a hasty snack before totally flagging.  While glad of the walk in proper fresh air further than the shop for the first time in weeks, it left me exhausted and achy for the rest of the day.  Later that evening, the health minister threatened to ban outdoor exercise if people didn’t behave – I’d like to see how that pans out!

Reference:

  1. My Journal of the Coronavirus: https://corvusdiaries.wordpress.com/

Variant path 1

Puddling in Colden Clough

Bridle way puddle 3

A bright but breezy start to March prompted us to re-visit another familiar haunt.  Getting ready seemed to take ages, making me quite impatient.  Finally, we left the house and walked westwards up the main road.   Several cars parked on the pavement at Bridge Lanes made me wonder if they had different laws in those parts.  Seeing a woman come out of one, I was about to have a go when she said hello.  It was an ex-neighbour, laden with groceries, poised to cross the road. On enquiring about the pavement parking, she suggested it was for unloading purposes.

Chimney from the back 1Past the Fox and Goose, the cold wind blew straight in our faces.  Feeling buffeted, we wondered how long we would be out.  But it eased off as we turned into Church Lane.  We took the easy way up to Eaves, via the play park and steps to the bridle track.  Already, my legs began to tire.  Hearing me sigh, Phil said “don’t start getting grumpy.”  To which I retorted, “what do you mean start? I already am grumpy! I haven’t even taken any photos yet!”  He chuckled and challenged my claim that I had not yet seen anything inspiring.  Then, I noticed reflections in the puddles occupying every pothole.  In small watery worlds of black and blue, branches and sky appeared trapped, framed by displaced hardcore.

Cheered somewhat, we continued to Lumb Mill and explored the ceaseless torrents, almost full-to-bursting streams and derelict ponds. Underground gurgling indicated yet more water beneath our feet.  We started to climb up to the higher path.  Pausing at the top of the small arch, I  spotted a smaller path behind the chimney.  Having tried it from the top end in autumn, I wondered if we may have more luck from this end.  I stepped in the stream without thinking, making the bottom of my jeans sopping wet.  The path came to an abrupt end just beyond the chimney where a chunk of earth had fallen.  Thwarted, we at least gained a different perspective.  Tall thin trees stretching up to the sun way overhead created ebony shadows on the yellow stone.

Red and green 2We returned to the standard route which  proved hard going.  Large rough stones were replaced further up by the remains of dead trees and deep patches of sticky mud, requiring several small detours off the path.  above the glade, we climbed a strange mound which Phil comedically named ‘the ‘escarpment’, for a higher vantage point.  Square stones,  that had tumbled from the raggedy cliffs opposite, so long ago that they were now adorned with thick green moss, lay stranded amidst a permanent carpet of scrunched copper beech leaves and discarded nut husks.

Proceeding, we descended the steep wooden steps to land in the worst patch of mud so far.  Carefully picking our way through the earth and debris, we stopped on the flat rock to fend off dogs while we ate the wraps we’d brought with us.

As it had taken almost ninety minutes to get that far,  I guessed we only had an hour of daylight left.  We called it a day to get home before dark.  It was only then that I noticed that as well as being soaked through, the bottom of my jeans also had gravel caught up in them!

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjkK19zVvfQti9tvFGnnr5q8QZCxXw?e=Fsf6pZ

Cascade force 3

 

Ice Cold in Colden

edge lane on ice 2

An icy cold day in January, we were eager to enjoy the crisp wintery scenes.  We caught a bus towards Colden and alighted at bottom of Edge Lane.

character

Stark shadows cast from hedgerow trees intersected snowy white lines on the tarmac where the sun never shone.  To our left, smoke rose slowly casting a haze towards Stoodley Pike.  To our right, an archetypal character strode between nearby fields where fat sheep grazed.

The door to May’s shop was bolted.  Phil said “It’s shut.”  Don’t be daft,” I replied, “It’s never shut.” I started to undo the bolt when a woman appeared to serve us.  I asked for cheese pies.  Shock horror!  They no longer stock them (apparently they came from the historic Granma Pollards’ in Walsden, now closed down).  Instead, we bought ‘sausage croissants’. Thinking we might find a patch of sun to sit in, we asked for tea in take-away cups but we settled instead on the trusty bench facing back out to Edge Lane, sadly in the shade.

moon with flockFeeling rather frozen, we walked back down the lane enjoying the sun on our faces, as far as the ‘Pennine way’.  I had noticed on the way up that the path appeared less treacherous than alternative routes.  At the bottom, we crossed Smithy Lane and followed signs onto the boggy field skirting the large house.  Thankfully, ice kept the mud at bay.

As we went through the last gate, we stopped to take photos of the almost-full moon in the east, as a clock of crows flew by.  A pair of dogs could be heard barking wildly.  I turned to see them running in our direction and became anxious.  Phil reminded me that it had happened before and they didn’t go any further than their own field.  Although the paved path proved easy-going, the steps down to Hebble Hole were inevitably flooded at the bottom.

mended clapper bridge 1

We turned right towards the recently restored clapper bridge.  On closer inspection, we could hardly see the join where the broken slab had been fixed. Over the bridge, felled trees had created fertile ground for clumps of orange mushrooms.  Frosty grass edged the narrow ‘desire paths’.  Ripples of pink and silver gently glided on the stream.  Amber sunlight filtered through trees on the skyline.

Crossing back, we took the lower path down into Colden Clough.  As we came to the area known as the ‘garlic fields’ in spring, I felt tired, out of breath and dehydrated.  I rested briefly on a severed trunk to muster the energy to clamber over another one blocking the path.

Descending further, frozen water globules rested atop mossy cushions resembling miniature worlds.  We followed the line of Colden Water, still dumbfounded by the needless warning signs.  At Lumb Mill, I noted yet more chopped-down trees.  I hoped that my favourite sycamore (aka ‘twin trees’) would not be next.  Phil capered about doing his gnome impression beneath the arching roots.  We squatted on stones at the foot of the tree until our rest was curtailed at the sound of yet more loud barking.  We moved onwards, taking the quickest way home.   I felt exhausted and footsore, after the longest walk so far this year, but glad we had got out during daylight.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti5kFMOjpK3hzqAL9Dw

frosty glade 2

Springing up in Colden Clough

 

Twin trees 5

Following a week and a half of being bedridden with sinusitis, I recovered somewhat to enjoy the mini heatwave in mid-April.  We made the most of it with our first spring outing to Colden Clough, first visiting the healthy bakers for veggie pasties and posh pop.  We walked up the main road towards Mytholm, navigating the extensive gas roadworks.  We turned right at Church Lane and again at the school, to take the shortcut across the playground and up a short flight of steps (looking very dark and broody).

Mystery ball

On the track, we competed with each other to take the best possible photos of tiny things such as buds and lichen, which we continued throughout the walk.   I think he won the contest but I spotted the most interesting mystery feature; a round brown ball in a small bush.

Approaching Lumb mill, Phil decided to descend down to the stream and try and go under the low bridge.  I waited for him near my favourite tree, enjoying its company as I would an old friend.

He appeared quite a few minutes later having given up the quest – a sudden drop where the water became eight feet deep had put him off.  We rested awhile before climbing up to the garlic fields.

Although still not fully grown as spring is so late this year, we filled a couple of small carrier bags.  It had taken an inordinate length of time to get this far, which I put down to a combination of recent illness, a lack of uphill walking and lots of stops to admire the new growth.  We installed ourselves on the nearby flat rock to recover, ate our pasties and whittled sticks on the quartz granite.  I joked that we should keep them to use for calligraphy.

Cautious sign 1

Both still tired after all the climbing, we considered turning round until I remembered that the clapper bridge had been damaged during the infamous ‘beast from the east’ storm.  We made the effort to go the short remaining distance to Hebble Hole, noting ‘danger signs en route’ (obviously installed when the authorities came to survey the rights of way.

On reaching the bridge we saw immediately that one of the four pieces of stone forming the walkway had collapsed in the river, split in two.  The tree that had crashed onto it causing the break stood on the nearby bank, also injured.  Wooden planks and metal rails had been put up so it could still be used.  We crossed to the other side for all-round views.

Green HawthornComing back, we noticed a few bluebells in flower as we climbed up to the top causeway, enjoying being level with the tree tops.

Pussy willows and catkins surrounded us, dangling from branches and littering the causey stones.  Bright green hawthorn sprigs adorned the dry stone wall.  Phil yet again tried to persuade me there were tasty but I maintained they tasted of ‘leaf’.

We descended to arrive back in the garlic fields and took the quickest way back.

He suggested a drink in the Fox and Goose.  However, I felt exhausted and as we past the pub, I spotted a group of rowdy young men in the beer garden so that clinched it – no chance of a quiet pint!

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtivdeUC2sldpeMizeVg

Ruination 4

 

Jack Bridge to Colden*

Strines Bridge 2

Early August had been a bit of a let-down.  I spent the first week ill in bed, watching the changeable and showery weather through the window with only intermittent and non-dependable sun.  Fortunately the second weekend stayed fine.  After a hot Saturday, Sunday brought a few clouds, cooling the temperature down a notch and creating ideal conditions for a walk.

Bee on thistleWe caught the bus to Colden and alighted at Jack Bridge.  Walking alongside Colden Water, we made frequent stops to examine wildlife in the hedgerows: bees hovered on purple balsam; strange orange insects came out in force to mate; thistle flowers gave way to downy seed heads.

Beside a barbed wire fence we spotted a wooden step ladder.  On the other side, a dilapidated caravan surrounded by outdoor furniture made us speculate about the al fresco living conditions of the less-fortunate locals.

 

Nearing Strines Bridge we detoured round the posh house and gardens into the field for a closer look.  Maybe it was my imagination but it seemed in more of a sad state than in our visit last spring.

Further up the lane we climbed a stile into a different field.  Causey stones led diagonally to a small wood.  A muddy path, churned up by mountain bikes then ran alongside the pine wood to the bottom of Rodmer Clough.  Signs of cultivation appeared in the hedges as we reached the corner of Land Farm.  From there, we had a hot, uphill climb to Edge Lane and along the top.

Hot StonesThe grass path we usually sneak up to reach High Gate Farm had become too overgrown necessitating a return to the road.  Passing ‘Hot Stones’, we noticed a lone standing stone.

At May’s, I commandeered the bench looking down the lane while Phil entered the farm shop to order hot cheese pies and tea.  As we waited I was being eaten alive by midges.

 

Crack Hill 2After eating we walked down the road to Crack Hill, still finding amusement in the name.  Proceeding to Slack and through Popples Common, we admired the bright new heather.  We rested on the bench just before Heptonstall, contemplating the landscape.

A dad passing on the road with two young girls on bikes amused us.  “Come on!” he shouted, in typical competitive parent style, as they struggled up the hill.  Bypassing the village, we descended Green Lane into Slater Ing.

Slater Ing 2A bit confused at first, as we had never walked this part in reverse before, we soon started to recognise the familiar rock features.  The muted light was particularly good for capturing their characteristic shapes.  The rocky path took ages to navigate and felt like hard work.  Eventually we reached the easier part above the large flat stones, again struck by the beautiful display of heather lining the route.  We took the steps at Hell Hole Rocks.

 

As we travelled through Eaves Wood and out onto Heptonstall Road, I said it was a long way to go for a cheese pie – like the olden days!

*The walk from Jack Bridge to May’s is the reverse of the ‘Edge Lane detour’ we took with M&M in April 2016.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtisVqMstvRkcBy1eWvg

Purple heather 3

Up and Down Colden

clouds-and-contrail

Five days into 2017, another cold, bright day dawned.  We set off early afternoon to catch a bus ‘up tops’.    We alighted at the last stop, Smithy Lane.

frosty-grass-1From behind the bus stop we took the small old path that we had descended the previous September, again admiring the old wooden gate and worn stones as frosty grass crunched underfoot.

Reaching Edge Lane, we gazed southwards towards the dazzling sun before walking onto High Gate Farm.  We entered May’s Shop to buy lunch.  Shock, horror!  No pies!

 

We settled instead for sandwiches and tea, eating on the bench looking back out to the road we had just travelled.

hudson-mill-road-warning-signsWe then headed down the grassy path to Fold Lane and through Colden village.  The now-familiar jumble of farm junk, old stone buildings and gate posts punctuated the journey down the lane, edged with ice where the sun never shone.  Back on Smithy Lane we turned right and followed the bend round to Hudson Mill Road, taking in a collection of warning signs on the corner.  From the bridleway we headed down the first flight of steps.  We made our way gingerly down the icy steps into Hebble Hole.  The glade looked like a winter fairyland!

 

 

winter-gladeWanting to stay in the sun as long as possible, we crossed the clapper bridge and climbed upwards to the old causeway.  Looking back, I caught stunning views of clouds and contrails against a gorgeous blue sky.   We followed the yellow footpath signs for quite some way until we came to a junction.

Pausing on the conveniently-placed bench, we considered a choice of three routes: up to Heptonstall; straight down to Lumb Bank; down to the right taking a steep set of stone steps.

 

We opted for the latter and emerged above Lumb Bank Mill.  From there we took the windy but relatively safe route back across the river and onto the bridleway for a quick return home.

wooden-gate-and-wall-1

Edge Lane Detour

Cascade 2c

On a remarkably sunny Wednesday in April, Phil and I caught a bus from Market Street to Callis.  We had arranged to meet two walking friends somewhere up the tops and kept in touch via text.

Ruined house gardenWe walked up Jumble Hole, admiring the scenery as usual, especially the lovely waterfalls and ruined houses (some with spring gardens which made us laugh).

We found the uphill climbs hard work, but took it easy and stopped at Staups Mill for a break.  We then carried on to the small bridge taking us across the pretty brook and up to the fields below Blackshaw Head.

I paused to text our friends and check the map for a quick way down to Colden.  I had worked it out when a passing driver confirmed my instinct and we proceeded on the Calderdale Way across farmland until it met the Pennine Way going down to Hudson Mill Lane.

Colden - Lamb groupJust before the junction with Smithy Lane, we admired new born lambs.  Our friends awaited us on the bench at Jack Bridge.  We all walked up to May’s for the excellent cheese pies.

As Marisa and I went to use the primitive loo, a sheepdog cowered from us in fear.  I said it made a change; it was usually them that spooked me!

 

Signs

Marisa suggested going up Edge Lane as an alternative route back to Jack bridge.  We set off, with Hot Stones Hill on our right.

At the next junction, a sign directed travellers to tantalisingly named places such as Lower Earlees and Salt Pie (a historic stop on the packhorse tracks).

We turned down the lesser-used School Land Lane which skirted the bottom of Rodmer Clough, where a ruined chimney looked the remains of a fairy castle, and round the edge of Land Farm.

We then had a choice of routes and took the lower one. As it skirted a wood, the path became narrower.  A screeching bird could be heard but not seen…

Ruined chimneyEmerging in a field, the grass path became paved with ancient causey stones.  We crossed a styal onto New Road. I struggled to keep up with the pace setters and welcomed a short rest.

Marisa pointed out Strines Bridge in a field a little way down.  I asked if we could get to it.

The answer was yes.  Further down the lane we turned down a short driveway and across a very nice garden.  A tiny stream tinkled alongside us as we crossed a wooden bridge and then followed the line of the stream into a field.

Again, the grass path revealStrines Bridge close up 3ed old causey stones.  Peaceful sheep grazed next to the impossibly cute stone bridge, traversing a sky-blue stream.  A sharp arch was accessed by a tiny opening.  We remarked that the packhorses must have been very small (I later found out that the bridge was most likely a footbridge linking Strines Farmhouse with Coldeni.

From there, it was a relatively easy walk back down the lane to Jack Bridge.  We headed straight ahead back onto Hudson Mill Lane, and down the small, steep steps to Hebble Hole.  The boots I had chosen to wear that day proved ill-advised as my toes hurt with every step down.

We took the lower path to the garlic fields.  Phil did most of the picking as I felt exhausted and dehydrated.  I thought we were staying down in the clough but were led upwards to the top causeway.  I became even more fatigued.  Thankfully, we did not climb all the way up but instead came back down above Lumb Bank.  Mind you, loose stones and dried leaves made the path very tricky, causing more pain to my feet.

Utterly exhausted, I eschewed a visit to the pub. The day had already been too long for me. I  also felt far too sweaty to be in mixed company. I started stripping off garments even before I got in the house.  Once indoors, I hastily removed more clothes and doused myself in cold water.  I realised I had heat exhaustion.  Angry and upset, I ranted that when I said I was tired, dehydrated, and in need of rest, I really meant it.  The next day I still suffered from exhaustion.  On reflection, I decided it was my own fault – I should have heeded the signs that I had reached my limit and got on a bus instead of struggling on.

Nevertheless, the walk itself was lovely and it gave me ideas for further exploration of the Colden area (at a manageable pace)!

More photos at: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=2DF4BDD5DCD70A39!118018&authkey=!ADRkaR0M8cPUjdY&ithint=folder%2c

Sky blue stream

i https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1133947