Tag Archives: moss

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.

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frosty glade 2

Cragg Vale Tales 1

 

cragg vale 2

Since we moved to this part of the world, we have only visited Cragg Vale three times.  In 2015, we met our friends M&M at the Hinchcliffe Arms for a birthday lunch.  With time to kill before they arrived, we explored the churchyard backlit by the watery yellow winter sun. Amongst the jumble of rusting vehicles in the adjacent junkyard, a collection of discarded Christmas paraphernalia added pathos to the scene.

cragg vale - merry christmasThe following year, I had a terrible summer involving the loss of a brother.  Over the August bank Holiday weekend, I struggled with deep depression but forced myself to get out of the house.  We heard of a food and drink festival in Cragg Vale, and rode the bus up.  A few stalls inhabited the pub car park.  It did not take long to exhaust their offerings, although we discovered the best sausages ever!

We parked ourselves outside the Hinchcliffe to eat them hot with a pint of beer.  We then noticed that the superbly named church of St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness was open to visitors.  Exploring the interior we noted that this gem, built in 1815 amongst the textile mills, is now badly in need of restoration.  Dedicated volunteers endeavour to keep it going.

On the 2nd of January this year, M&M planned a traditional birthday walk to Cragg Vale. Having just fought off yet another dose of sinusitis, I did not feel strong enough to accompany them and instead, we arranged to meet them there for lunch.  It took a lot of effort to be up and ready to leave the house on time to catch the bus at 12.38.  Travelling up the steep incline of Cragg Road, I hoped we would know where to alight, when I spotted the sign pointing down to the Hinchcliffe Arms.

lichen and moss 4A short upward walk took us to the junction of Church Bank Lane.  With time to spare, we dallied to look down on the compact village centre nestled in a dip – consisting mainly of a couple of farms, a church and a pub.  Cushiony greens adorned stone walls edging the lane all the way down to the brook. I had never seen so many different lichens and moss in one place.

Finding the church locked, we contented ourselves with circumnavigating the churchyard and the junkyard where the accumulated old tractors and vans still stood rusting.  The pile of Christmas decorations were sadly absent.  Arriving at the Hinchliffe Arms, a sign in the window informed declared ‘no food available’.

As we hung around near the door, staff emerged on a break and apologised for the kitchen closure (for a deep clean during which the chef was taking a break).  I mentioned that I had seen him featured on ‘Back in Time for Tea’ serving up Yorkshire Goujons, which led to reminiscing about eating tripe and offal as kids.  They invited us in for a cuppa by the fireside.  Preferring to await M&M outside, we perused planters at the car park entrance where melting ice left structural drops atop oval leaves.

When our friends appeared at the end of their walk over the tops, we entered the bar to spend an hour supping beer, chatting and exchanging amusing anecdotes.  We then walked past the junkyard, turned left, immediately right and through a gate onto a path alongside the brook.  Worn round cobbles marked the route as we past weirs and twisty trees.  Marisa spotted a dipper but as usual, it flitted about too fast to be caught on camera.

mill ponds 2We passed through a second gate and soon after, ascended steps amongst mill ponds.  Clumps of bright green algae dotted the surface.  Wintery black trees reflected into the depths.  As we climbed back up, we espied crumbling walls marking the site of an old paper mill, making a mental note to come back and explore in summer.

Ascending yet more steps we came to a gap in the wall and headed up to the road.  Just before we reached the top, I was amused by a sign consisting of an angry-looking black cat in a red triangle.  ‘Watch Out’ was written in large letters underneath.  We emerged onto Cragg Road opposite the Robin Hood Inn which was of course shut.  I had mentioned that according to google, there would not be a bus until after 4 o’clock.

The timetable at the nearby bus stop confirmed this. There was no option but to continue walking down to Mytholmroyd.

As we neared the end of the long road, we spotted a mutual friend coming towards us and stopped to exchange new year greetings.  One of the two children accompanying him jabbered onto me in an incomprehensible manner.  I nodded and smiled.  We entered the Shoulder of Mutton (now recently fully re-opened by a celebrity comic) but as predicted, they stopped serving food at 3 p.m.; we had missed it by 10 minutes!  Luckily, as we continued down to Burnley Road we spotted a bus and caught it just in time.  Back in Hebden, we went to The Oldgate and said hello to a group of friends.  Table and drinks secured, we were able to order food at last – three hours later than planned!  After eating, I started falling asleep so said goodbye and returned home before fatigue set in.

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weir 3

 

Down from Crimsworth into the Dean

Crimsworth view 1

The first Sunday of September started out dull but warm.  It became sunnier early afternoon and decided to get the bus up to Crimsworth and walk back via the dean.  We had just enough time to buy pies from the bakers in the square on the way to Commercial Street, with two minutes to spare till the next bus.  A walking friend who got on at the same stop, suggested an alternative walk up High Brow Knoll but I didn’t fancy it right then.

Grass verge blooms 8The bus emptied at Old Town, leaving us alone to travel to the terminus.   Awe-struck by the moorland landscape, we lingered to take photos.  My camera strap broke again and Phil fixed it for me (I was not having much luck doing it myself).

We made our way back down the road, cringing when fast motorcycles whizzed by, seeking refuge in the lush verge.  It seemed remarkable how different the plants were here, on the moorland edge.  Fluffy thistles looked ready to fly off; pale pink flowers wafted in the breeze; seed heads gave the impression of tiny trees emerging behind granite stone walls; marooned gate posts leaned precariously in the soft ground.

A couple of signs indicated footpaths going off to the right but we were put off trying them by a combination of boggy fields and large cows.

Howarth Old Road 1We continued to Haworth Old Road where an old waymarker had been attractively re-painted; the writing picked out in bold lack against a stark white background.  We turned sharp right onto the road, then left.   Grassy Small Shaw Lane zig-zagged downwards, edged by tall evergreens and punctuated by signs declaring the land private and forbidding cycling.  At the bottom we were confronted by a large house.  A sign directed us left onto a small path.  As a couple with a dog exited a gate, we checked with them that the route was passable.

As soon as we passed through the gate into a field, I recognised the area from our last visit to the area some years agoi.  Small paving helped us navigate marshy meadow where a small copper butterfly sat on a flower.

Small copper butterflyWe soon emerged in the moor-like field which I remembered, particularly the ruins and a good large rock, ideal for a lunch stop.  We made our way up to eat our pies, finding it had become much more overgrown in the intervening years, with heather, moss, lichen and pixie cups.

I could hear a dog barking loudly in the distance as soon as I took a bite of pie, convinced myself it was coming nearer and felt a bit jumpy.  I knew I was being paranoid but I ate quickly nonetheless.

Woodland fungi 3We continued, through the next gate into dark woodland where the red floor contrasted with deep green foliage.  At the start of the old mill ponds, felled trees thwarted our attempts to find a downward path.

I surmised that severe floods since our last visit had caused significant alterations to the landscape.  We followed the route marked, upwards, noting a variety of fungi clinging to rotted trunks.  Some looked curiously metallic.

I recognised the corner of the dam wall – a huge testament to the region’s industrial heritage – and the gorgeous tree down to our right.

After some investigation, we located a ‘desire path’ through pocked grass land to get back onto the Old Road (where more grass replaced paving).  From there, it was a short stretch to Midgehole Road.  An exodus from the nearby Blue Pig confirmed that a bus was due and we opted for the easy way home.  Although the walk had not been too taxing, the weather had become clammy and I felt tired and overheated.  Back in town, we chatted briefly to another friend on his way to the pub.  We eschewed the prospect of drinking in favour of coffee and cake at home.

i  See: https://hepdenerose.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/changing-landscapes-in-crimsworth-dean/

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Haworth Old Road 5

A Quick Blast

Canal Barges 3

The harsh winter of 2017-18 showed no signs of letting up.  On the last Sunday of February, the cold persisted despite the sun, but I was desperate to get out of the house having been ill in bed the previous week.

Blackpit MoonriseWe set off on a short stroll along the canal.  It felt arctic on the aqueduct with the Siberian blast hitting us straight on.  Phil said it was officially the coldest part of town which made sense, being surrounded by all that water.  At Blackpit lock, as he searched in vain for rooks in the rookery, I noticed the moon was up – a silver semi-circle in a clear blue sky.

In the park, we found little of interest.  Bare branches dominated, and there seemed to be even less to look at than in mid- winter.

Canal Perpendicular 2Exiting through the gate onto the towpath, we watched ripples on the surface created by the easterly wind, changing the reflections of small colourful barges as a lone duck swum past.

Still walking easterly, my eye caught a collection of canal paraphernalia adorning the stone wall opposite.

Re-entering via the other gate, we skirted the park and spotted a few signs of life in the shape of tiny yellow blossoms.  Over the concrete bridge into the memorial gardens, Phil looked again for rooks.

I thought I spotted some but they turned out to be jackdaws – a very cute couple in a tree.    After admiring an interesting evergreen adorned with interesting bark and moss, we retreated into town.  We made a short circuit of charity shops before returning home. I felt exhausted and cold, despite trying to warm ourselves with coffee and cake.  I retired back to bed.

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Proud Tree 2

Up Hollins and Tinker Bank

Branches and sky 1

The first decent walk of 2018 began on a bright, frosty day.  Setting off at 2 p.m., thaw had occurred as we headed through town towards the riverside path.  However, on the unpaved Groove Road, ice on the ground proved tricky.

Cart and garageJust before Foster Mill Bridge, we stopped to examine a dilapidated cart in front of a wood-fronted garage, surrounded by frosty leaves and grass.

On the bridge, mossy walls appeared to have been sprinkled with icing sugar.  A cheery man said “nice day for it” and advised me to take care as we crossed to Salem.

 

We took the steps up to Hollins, surveying the lovely sycamore tree and sunlight on the hills opposite.  Through the eternally dark hamlet and into Tinker Bank wood, a group of walkers asked directions into town.  We paused to consider which path to take and initially elected for the lower one before Phil suddenly took a steep upward path.  I said we had not been that way before but he was sure we had.  It became horribly muddy in places and I was glad I had sensible boots on.

SlowLarge stone blocks were strewn either side of the narrow path, suggesting that it had been a vehicle track, lined by walls at one time.

At the top, we emerged onto Lee Wood Road and were amused by the ‘slow’ sign nailed to a tree, beside a newly-formed waterfall.  We walked eastwards towards Bobby’s Lane.  But on encountering a paved lane downwards, we decided it might be a quicker way down to the riverside.

Not sure if it was a private drive, we discovered a dilapidated shed and another shortcut.  This one looked decidedly dodgy though, so we kept to the tarmac, and round a large bend to emerge near the posh horse farm.

Frosty twig on wall 3

A couple walking with a bonkers dog created amusement for a few minutes before becoming rather annoying.

We overtook them, until we were forced to slow down by ice underfoot.  I also wanted to take photos looking up to Pecket Well where sunlight on the hilltops created a contrast with the dark shadows below.

Further down, ice on the path turned to water.  I kept to the edges and trod carefully.

Reaching the river, we spotted more frosty vegetation and a tree branch fallen in the weir.

We took the usual route back along Hebden Water and stopped at the first ‘beach’ to rest.

As we climbed back up to the path, Phil saw someone he knew in the garden opposite and we chatted over the gate before continuing back to town – this time sticking to Spring Grove; a much safer  option.

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Sunny tops 2

 

Winding Down Through Rawtenstall

Blackshaw Head - Hedgerow and sky 1

On a changeable November Sunday, we ventured up to the hills. At the bus stop it started to rain but thankfully the bus arrived soon after. At Blackshaw Head the air proved colder and scraps of snow clung on below hedgerows.

Blackshaw Head - Milestone 2We alighted at the last stop to consider the ancient history of The Long Causeway and Badger Lane and the old stone routeway marker at the corner of the churchyard.

We turned right off Badger Lane down Marsh Lane and spotted various features: tiny worlds of moss in the crevices of a stone wall; crows sitting on telegraph poles; a muck cart in a field.

 

Marsh Lane - Tiny mossWe admired views towards Stoodley Pike, providing a picturesque backdrop to the scene.

Fortuitous patches of sunlight falling on the slopes below highlighted glacial scars created in the ‘Calder Gorge’ during the ice age.

 

The ‘ignore your sat nav’ signs still made us laugh as we veered left along Winter Lane. The lane had been re-surfaced since our last visit. At the next junction, we turned right down an unpaved lane signed ‘lower Rawtenstall’.

Rawtenstall - Managed woodland 2After amusing ourselves with photos of giant chickens, we continued down and through what appeared to be a managed woodland.

We surmised it must have been parkland of some kind in Victorian times as the rock cliffs looked like they had been manmade.

The whole scene was too picturesque in a twee way to be wholly natural. I posited it might have been the grounds of Rawtenstall Manor.

Rawtenstall - Stone gatepost 1The path snaked downwards and took us past ruins of old buildings and gate posts until it became paved again and bore the moniker ‘Turret Hall Road’.

We noticed the posh drainage: at one point the water looked as if it was going uphill which of course was an optical illusion “It’s just like the electric bray”, I remarked.

Rounding another bend, I could hear voices coming down the path behind us and when they caught up, I saw it was our old neighbour with a male companion. We said hello and they strode off purposefully ahead of us. Just before the b

ottom of the lane, I spotted a turn off called ‘Under Cragg’. I chuckled at the literal Yorkshire name – so typical of round here.

Oakville Road - Pothole reflections 3

We then proceeded down to Oakville Road – a familiar route back from Jumble Hole. We continued alongside the railway, pausing to examine reflections in the potholes.  Phil commented that they had not done the drainage properly here as they had further up.

When we got onto the main road, Phil stopped to take more photos of crows. An old man at a nearby bus stop came over and told us about a rare talking bird behind the hedge. We peered through and although we could hear a strange squawking, I could only see yet more chickens.

We crossed the road at Stubbings and after some debate, decided to avail ourselves of the pub’s facilities. This led to buying beer and in turn to staying for a late Sunday lunch. Whilst waiting for our food to arrive, we examined a map of the old parish boundaries on the wall behind us. After eating, I started to feel very sleepy. We left and took the quickest way home as dark descended.

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Marsh Lane - Muck cart

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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