Tag Archives: Hebden Water

Willow Gate

Boulder field 1

 

Riverside stumpMarisa and I set out on a sunny late March afternoon.  We walked along the riverside where I noted the decaying tree stump (half the size as the last time I had seen it) and several new waterfalls.  Climbing the recently-repaired steps to Midgehole Road we continued to Hardcastle Crags gate and through the upper car park to find the Willow Gate path.

 

Stone markings 1We stopped briefly in a lovely field scattered with interesting rocks and boulders, admiring the views.  Continuing up along ancient causey stones,  we noted letters carved into them.

I spotted remains of mysterious wall and imagined the buildings that once stood here.  Impressive rocks on our right resembled squares and pillars.  We then came to the famed ‘Slurring Rock’.  Marisa told me that people used to skate down it in their clogs.

 

Sheep dyed red 2We carried on through Foul Scout Wood, across a makeshift bridge and a field containing ancient gateposts.  At the hamlet of Shackleton, old barns held testament to a long history.  Sheep alarmingly dyed red shared grazing space with pheasants.

We proceeded downhill to the edge of Crimsworth Dean.  From here we took the quicker way back, turning right onto the NT track, using new-looking steps to skirt the car parks and crossed the bridge to Midgehole.

 

River with bouldersPassing The Blue Pig we waved to an acquaintance but decided to head straight to town.  We took the lower riverside path and felt the chill off the water.  Lower down, we took the left-hand side path, spotting young garlic and yellow flowers across the ‘swamp’.  Emerging onto Windsor View we walked into town,

 

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtipoWzalc3B0dRYP1SA

Slurring rock 1again taking the river path when possible.

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Shaking off atrophy

Park blossom close up 2

We’d had an enjoyable week’s holiday but unfortunately our flight home was delayed by several hours.  We finally got home at 3.45 a.m. Monday morning. I had been up for 21 hours.  Exhausted, I went straight to bed. I really struggled to get back to normal that week.  To add to the frustration, we had no heating or hot water.  I spent the next two days fighting depression and trying to carry out essential activities while waiting in for the gas man.

On Wednesday morning I woke up with painful cramp in my leg.  Phil was working at home and after lunch, he suggested getting out of the house.  As it was the second sunny day in a row and I had been unable to leave the house the day before, I agreed to accompany him for a short walk and fresh air.

Narcissus 2We left the house and remarked on the warmth of the sun and the appearance of flowers in the garden during our absence.  We walked along the canal towpath and into the park.  He stopped for ages to take pictures of the rookery – an annual occurrence.  As I waited, I did my best to ignore the noisy kids in the playground and admired tree blossom.  Taking the longest route round the park, we spotted more blossom, narcissus, and red cherry tree bark.  It really did feel like spring was coming!

Park nobbly tree 2Wanting to sit and enjoy the sun, we looked in vain for a vacant bench.  Instead, we sat on a bit of wall near the canal and were amused by native geese chasing Canada geese.  I noticed lots of nobbles in a nearby tree trunk.  We had a go at the outdoor gym and decided it was hard work when you’re not used it.

 

Riverside jackdaw amongst the pigeonsFollowing a few errands in town, we wanted to stay out and settled on the White Swan for a pint.  They were very enthusiastic and welcoming.  The beer garden was not open but we could take drinks out front.  We perched near the wavy steps and observed the riverside wildlife.

The lone Muscovy duck (since the sad demise of its partner last month) stood on a rectangular stone in the middle of the river; mallards squabbled; jackdaws swooped to steal bread from the pigeons.

The air became chillier as we took our empty glasses back inside the pub and used the facilities.  I noticed the back wall still sported peeling paint – evidence that the pub had still not been renovated fully following the flood damage.  We received cheery ‘goodbyes’ from the landlady and staff.  I felt much better that evening – my leg cramp had become a dull ache and my depression had lessened.

Riverside forlorn Muscovy 2

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Nutclough to Granny Woods

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The day after New Years’ Day, the beautiful early January sun encouraged me to ignore a painful toe.  After spending half an hour getting shoes on, I hobbled out towards town with Phil.

pigeons-on-a-wall-2We walked over the Packhorse Bridge and watched crows and pigeons (oddly lined up on the wall).  We continued up Keighley road and into Nutclough.

We watched an unidentified black and white bird having a bath in the stream and regarded the swamp warily.

Judging it too boggy to cross onto the ‘island’, we continued upwards.

 

photographer-posingWe were eager to catch the last of the winter afternoon sun, so took the first cobbled path on the left, pausing for Phil to pause for me (first portrait photo with new camera!)

 

 

 

We climbed up towards Hurst Road and through an impossibly tiny gate into the field.  I managed to slip in a hollow, making my foot very painful again.

 

Bravely, I followed Phil up to the top of the field.  We considered continuing upwards to Old Town, but settled for taking in the views on all sides before spending half an hour sitting on the wall facing south, enjoying the warmth.  Eventually, we walked back down via Granny woods, spotting bits of the original path, and took a roundabout way back towards town to meet M&M in the pub.

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A Dodgy Walk from Blake Dean

Graining Water 1

The intermittent summer of 2016 and a series of family traumas did not allow for many opportunities to enjoy longer days out.  However, the first Saturday in August promised to be a good, fine day for walking.  We determined to forget recent troubles and make the most of it.

1800 markerI got together a picnic and we set out for the bus stop.  We almost gave up waiting for the community bus, as it was delayed by several minutes.

At last it arrived and we rode up to Blake Dean, alighting at the bridge over Graining Water.

I noticed for the first time the stonemason’s mark – ‘W. 1800’ – carved into an edge stone.

 

We crossed the road and descended via the rickety wooden gate into the dean.  Predictably busy on a warm summer’s day, we escaped uphill via paths overgrown with bracken, away from the crowds.  A lump of rocks edged an attractive grassy path, in front of a small stone cave.  We enjoyed a picnic and views whilst discussing options for the walk down into the crags.

Stone caveOpting to stay on the east side of the stream, we kept on the lower grassy path.

This took us above the remains of the trestle bridge i, over a rickety styal, past a disused quarry (likely again related to the temporary railway) and through what could have been an abandoned garden.

 

 

We then entered a cedar wood, awestruck by its sheer beauty.  Tall trees emitted scents redolent of Christmas, interspersed with truncated and fallen trunks.  We continued downstream, until things took a turn for the worse.  Apparent landslips had rendered the path unnavigable in places.  Springs had created bogs, very tricky to cross.  Much trial and error ensued. Our feet became inevitably wet and muddy (thank goodness for waterproof sandals!)

Fed up of the constant sinking, we considered fording the stream but it did not look safe enough.  Eventually we came to an old stone wall and paused to think.  After some deliberation, we decided to try and ford yet another impromptu stream surrounded by bog.  However, in spite of laying down a carpet of bracken, I was unable to make the leap.  Meanwhile, a group of European hikers appeared, in the same predicament “on no!  We will be here forever!” one of them said “yes, we are stuck” I agreed” do we have enough provisions?”  This made them all laugh in that continental way.

Wooden styalI recognised a house further up whose garden we had traversed on our very first walk on this side of the water some years before. We headed upwards in search of a path to said house.

Alas, we searched in vain but we did eventually find a safe crossing point after which the path became easy going, eventually merging with an access road which again I remembered from our first foray in this specific part of the wood.

 

Back in familiar territory, we expected the last leg through the crags to be plain sailing.  However, a flood-ravaged bridge necessitated another wet, muddy feet experience as we had to use the original Victorian path underneath the cliffs.

At Gibson Mill, we were so late even the toilets had been locked!  Exacerbated, we commandeered one of the deserted picnic tables to partake of apple pie and pop.  From there, we took the quick way back along the driveway to the main gate and along Midgehole Road and onto town.

Cedar wood 3

I Later that month, Phil came across a pamphlet by the University of Leeds with some interesting facts and photos about the history of Hardcastle Crags.  Amongst other things, there is a fantastic picture of a train crossing the trestle bridge just below Blake Dean: http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/misc/scienceandtourism/Final%20copy%20leaflets/Industrial%20Heritage%20leaflet.pdf

On the first Sunday in October, we again rode the community bus up to Blake Dean.  We spent a few minutes rambling in the dean.  Rowan trees in full berry looked beautiful against the early autumn backdrop as water sparkled under a blue sky.

We then took our more usual route back down.  Some very churned up muddy bits on undulating parts made the path rather tricky in places.   I became quite anxious at one point and sat down in a mossy glade to recover.  We spotted lots of mushrooms and a triangle-shaped rock we had not noticed before.  Refreshed, we continued down and noted that the bridges and paths damaged in the floods had all been fixed. It seemed to take quite a while to reach Gibson Mill so as usual, it was shut.

A cloud of midges descended on us as we sat on the picnic bench finishing our flask of coffee.  Again, we opted for the top track to reach the gate quickly and onto Midgehole road.  I stubbed my toe 3 times on the riverside path (cursing the walking shoes I was wearing rather than sandals I had worn since April) and felt the need to stop once more on a bench near one of the ‘beaches’ for a short rest.  Phil suggested I look for archaeology but all I found were pieces of a boring jug!

rowan-tree-close-up

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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

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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