Tag Archives: landscape

Return to Willow Gate

River art 1Mid July, the intermittent summer returned bringing a bright, sunny day but with a breeze making conditions bearable.  Phil and I took the same walk.   As we ambled along the river, we noticed the sun falling between the trees made arty reflections on the water’s surface.  Our photos looked like impressionist masterpieces without the need for any digital trickery!.

At Hardcastle Crags, we walked through the full car park, trying to locate the path I’d found instinctively in March but this time it eluded me.  Confused, I asked a man in an NT hut.  After he tried to flog me a map, I eventually garnered from him the way to the Willow Gate path.  I just about recognised the leafy lane now overgrown with summer vegetation.  At the field, I suggested a rest but the gate was not attached and required too much heft to lift so we perched on the wall.  I pointed out a huge rabbit in the rough field opposite.  Phil captured it on camera but I failed.  As we climbed up the stone path, I indicated various rock features remembered from my previous visit.

 

Continuing to the top of the wood, we crossed a stile and went up the ‘green lane’ to emerge at Shackleton.  Spotting another rabbit, this time I managed to get it in shot.  At the bottom of Shackleton Hill, we debated options.  Phil said he needed to rest and I thought going into the dean might be too much for me anyway.  We started down the track on the lookout for a stopping place, settling on a clump of rocks amidst the trees.  We ate a small picnic before walking the short distance back to Midgehole Road.  With 10 minutes till the 906 bus was due, we waited to enjoy a lovely quick ride back to town.  As we walked home, the sky became cloudier and the air cooler.

 

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtir5JjUJNVwWxNVISSA

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

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.

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

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtio845xieyX_zpJgR3Q

Eaves wood to Cross Inn

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It was a gorgeous day for our last walk of 2016.  There had been a hard frost overnight creating an archetypal crisp, bright, winter scene.

bright-pathWe set off up the familiar cuckoo steps and along Heptonstall Road into Eaves Wood.  I had to make frequent stops as I got out of breath after the Christmas lethargy, but as always it was worth the climb.

The brilliant sun ‘up tops’ allowed me to practice using my new camera and I Phil taught me a few techniques including manually adjusting the shutter speed – a handy tip for taking photos towards the sun.

 

 

 

small-stone-stepsOn the steps behind hell hole rocks, I managed to stub my already sore toe, causing me severe pain and the need to stop.  We rested on the wall near ‘photographers’ corner’ before taking the straight path to St. Thomas’ church.

Parts of the grounds were cordoned off for work on the tower.  We detoured through the church, pausing to look round before emerging into the slippery graveyard.

 

Tentatively, we crossed into the ruined church and circumnavigated as far as possible.

Finding we could not go right the way round, we double-backed and exited towards the village.  At the Cross Inn, we enjoyed a pint and looked at the ‘winter art exhibition’ including a couple of Phil’s photos before a quick walk back down via the road.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtidwewAINgmFPQ4g1nA

church-ruin-10

Nutclough to Granny Woods

mill-chimney-and-trees-1

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.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtid4BucqZOanRaBjUlA

skyline-2

Discovering Midgley Moor Archaeology i

moor-path-1

On a bright and warm August Bank holiday Monday, we armed ourselves with pies and pop and set off to meet our friends M&M.  We spotted them outside the pub, enjoying a pre-walk tipple.  I shouted ‘oi!’.

A bit early for us to start drinking, we walked through the thronging town centre in the glorious sun, and awaited them at the bus stop.  Marisa appeared first, having dashed round charity shops looking for a cardigan.  Mike arrived soon after and stood smoking under a tree like the enigmatic poet.  As the bus climbed up Birchcliffe, we talked about the routes we planned to take and the archaeology we hoped to see.  Mike filled our heads with stories of people on acid discovering stone circles and Robin Hood being a giant.

At Lane Ends, Phil and I said goodbye and alighted.  M&M were taking a longer route across the moor than us, starting at Crimsworth Dean: we planned to meet back at the pub early evening.

We walked up Popples Lane.  An old farmer who looked a 100 years old greeted us as he emerged from a barn (I later discovered he was a proper local character who lived in the barn and spent his days carrying out ancient farming tasks; likely been there his entire life!)

As we turned a bedick-ing-2nd the lane became Latham Lane.  The sign for ‘Dick Ing’ created mirth.  The lane wound and climbed in a picturesque fashion up to another farm.

A sizeable track led upwards to the Calderdale Way.  We went through the gate onto Midgley Moor.  Admiring the vistas, we followed the path along the moor edge and onwards to the middle.

Finding ourselves on smaller paths, we were unsure of our next move but at such a high vantage point, confident of our location in relation to local settlements. I caught glimpses of a path at right angles in the distance.  We made our way towards this wider path, stopping to examine small huts (working out eventually they were grouse hides) and to gaze at square stone structures in the distance (vent shafts for the aqueducts carrying water under the moor).

greenwood-stone-1Eventually turning right, we progressed through fading purple heather and navigated the odd boggy spot.  A few yards off the path to our left, we noticed a moor pond and a standing stone some way behind.

We picked our way with caution through the heather to reach ‘Greenwood Stone’ ii.  This seemed a suitable juncture for lunch.

Working out that Miller’s Grave iii was nearby, we headed towards it.  Along the slightly bigger paths amongst the heather, we came across a large boulder (the fabled Robin Hood’s Pennystone iii).  From there, we could see a pile of stones further on and knew we had located the next object of our quest – Miler’s Grave iv.  On reaching the monument I circumnavigated; ill-advised perhaps as some of the outer stones proved unstable.

robin-hoods-pennystone-4We expected that retracing our steps back to the larger path would be straightforward as we just had to head for the large boulder then the standing stone.

Alas, the latter had disappeared from view!  However, we were fairly certain of our direction and continued.

Phil decided to take a cleared part which looked easier but dry, dying heather hampered our progress.  Eventually, we espied the Greenwood Stone again and made towards it.

En route, we noticed a ‘white stick of archaeology’ next to a sunken boulder and took another diversion to investigate.  We found what was obviously a stone circle (the one discovered on acid maybe?)  We also spotted other boulders a way off.  I wondered if they formed part of a larger stone circle, but Phil thought that unlikely.  Eventually finding our way back via the standing stone and the mill pond onto the main path, we walked southwards, again fairly sure of where it would lead.  After a short distance, we spotted the top of another standing stone and guessed that was our destination.

Sure enough as we approached, we recognised Churn Milk Joan v.  We stopped to see if anyone had left any money on top.

I texted Marisa to learn that they were already near the pub.  They must have walked at a fair lick!  I also texted another friend who aimed to meet us for a drink. churn-milk-joan-2

We turned Westwards along the ridge, back onto the Calderdale way, pausing occasionally to take in the views down towards the valley and across to strange white sheeting that looked like a ski slope on Scout Rock (ongoing post-flood work).  A grouse emerged squawking from the brush, making me jump.  We went through an attractive exit gate and started our descent towards civilisation.

 

only-foods-and-saucesAt the Mount Skip Golf Club, we considered continuing on the path and finding a trackway down to Old Town.  Mud and horned sheep made us reconsider this option.

Instead we descended a bank and over a stile onto the fairway.  We noted patches of long grass and grazing birds, and laughed at a warning sign on hole 12.

Going onto the driveway we picked our way across a cattle grid and down onto Heights Road.

We looked at old ruins and the ‘only sauce and horses’ trailer in a dilapidated farmyard, whilst bemoaning the lack of a short cut to the Hare and Hounds.

At the pub, we went round the back to find M&M in the beer garden, sitting at a table adorned with blue eggs.  We enjoyed the early evening sun and compared notes on our respective walks. I showed Mike my photos and he confirmed the archaeological landmarks we had found.  Feeling hungry, we asked about food at the bar.  A harassed landlord told us they had a limited menu due to heavy traffic, and the kitchen was shutting at 7.30.  We hastily ordered burgers.

Our other friend arrived and we all chatted amiably until M&M departed to walk back to town.  As the sun set it became chilly.  We retreated indoors until it was time for the next bus.  The bus route took us up to Crimsworth Dean before going down again.  We gazed out at the late summer evening sky, resplendent with reds and blues, whizzing past the windows.

 

exit-gate-2

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiMBDZud5pUyX0kJ6CA

Notes

  1. http://midgleywebpages.com/midgleywest.html – general info on Midgely Moor pre-history
  2. https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/greenwood-stone/ – Greenwood Stone
  1. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1018236 – Miller’s Grave
  2. https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/churn-milk-joan/ – Churn Milk Joan