Tag Archives: Old Town

Early Spring in Common Bank and Nutclough

Common Bank Trees 3

The mild weather continued into late February.  On the last Sunday, we took one of our familiar circular walks, starting out along Oldgate, over the packhorse bridge, up Bridge Gate and across Commercial Street onto the historic cobbled route towards Birchcliffe.  At the top of the steps, we proceeded upwards on School Street to the start of Common Bank Wood.

Common Bank Bark Close Up 4We could hear a dog barking from within a house when a woman with a dog came past.  She thought we were spooked by her hound, put it on a lead and walked ahead which was considerate.  However, the dog kept stopping to sniff interesting things!  We made the most of being held back on the narrow path to examine the interesting shapes and shadows.

Sycamore bark reflected filtered sunlight.  Shadows of tree trunks fell on the ground still littered with autumnal leaves.  A flawless blue sky framed tightly-packed twisty branches.

At the top, the bridge over the stream looked more precarious than ever but fortunately the water level was low thus not difficult to navigate.  Up the path between the fields, a jay (aka pink crow!) flitted from tree top to post.  We crept along to try and capture it on camera but we had more luck with the magpies and jackdaws.

Blooming 6Opposite the residential area of Dod Naze, low-hanging catkins swayed gently in the breeze.  We paused briefly on the corner where a smattering of spring flowers grew behind the bench before turning up onto Rowland Lane.  Mist topping the uplands created eerie scenes with the church towers of Heptonstall emerging ethereally from a grey landscape.

At the end of the lane, we waited for a group of walkers accompanied by a dog with stick to pass by then curved round sharp left down Sandy Gate.  Buds adorned small trees and shrubs, some appearing like miniature flowers.

Budding 6Part-way down, Phil had problems with his camera and I had a bit of tummy ache so we took a breather on the low wall.  A passing driver shouted through his open window at us as he raced up the hill, which made me jump.  Both feeling irritated, I decided to remove myself from the situation and marched off.  I had calmed down somewhat as he caught up with me.

Among the low springtime growth, I easily located the path descending into Nutclough and spotted a dead shrew under a tree– fluffy on the top, mouldy on the bottom!  As we crossed the stone bridge, fading afternoon sun glinted on the water’s surface making silvery patterns. The air became noticeably cooler as we followed the well-trodden route through the clough. Feeling disinclined to traverse to the ‘islands’, we rested instead on the top bench before a brisk walk homewards via Keighley Road.  Removing my boots to rest on the sofa, I reflected that I did not feel as tired as I would have a few weeks ago.  Although not a massive walk, it would usually be more than enough for me.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti5xgZ-49clE15sZOIg

Misty Field 2

 

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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/

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti4kS20m5dNz6qZdWmg

Haworth Old Road 5

Wainsgate to Common Bank

Walking down the lane 1

A warm, sunny but occasionally breezy first Sunday in July, we had arranged to meet a friend for an arts festival event in Old Town followed by a meal at the country inn. We had intended to walk, but she had an errand in town and picked us up on her way back.  She drove up via Pecket Well and along Billy Lane, finding a spot to park near the corner of Wainsgate Lane.

Wainsgate wallpaper 1During the short stroll to the chapel, we admired the pretty cottage gardens, resplendent in the bright light.

A couple lounged on deck chairs at the entrance.  One of them was a local artist jointly responsible for the event.  She explained what to expect from the sound installation. ‘Gather’ entailed a music performance played on a loop.  As we settled on pews, among a smattering of others, the sounds of wispy singing could be heard, followed by tweeting birds, choral music and a small narrative about the Baptist Minister, John Fawcett.

The pleasant noises created a contemplative atmosphere. However, I had some trouble settling on the hard benches.  My concentration wandered to examine cracks in the crumbling plaster as the sunlight made odd reflections on the pulpit.  I turned to speak to Phil and he pointed to the slip of paper requesting peace and quiet – I suppose he thought that was funny!

Wainsgate comments 1At the end of the sound loop, I snuck out back to take photos of the kitchen.  Finding a ‘no entry’ sign on the door, I asked the artist for permission.  she obligingly led me round to the side door and left me to try and capture the interesting junk and fading wallpaper amidst shadowy light.  Back out front, kind words had been left in the comments book.

We hung around outside a while, to chat to the artist and sip water.  A selection of old photos showed the chapel choir through the ages.  We reflected on the excellent quality of the old choir recordings and marvelled that it had been recorded at all.

We walked back to the road.  Our friend drove her car down while we enjoyed a pleasant walk through the village.  We re-united at the country inn.  Armed with drinks and a menu we took seats out in the garden and chatted awhile to a mutual friend until he departed for home.  Although a pleasant breeze tempered the heat, it was hard to find a shady spot.  Eventually, we changed tables and settled down to peruse the food options.  We caught up on each other’s news until pies and more beer arrived.

Wild foxglove 2We said goodbye to our friend and took the back exit onto Lane Ends.  At the next junction, we continued straight ahead.  On Rowlands Lane, grey haze hovered over the valley bottom. Desiccated flowers and tall grasses swayed in the gentle wind.  Crows flitted from rickety gates to yellow fields.  Majestic foxgloves rose into a picture-perfect sky.  At the end of the lane, we took steps down to the edge of Dodd Naze and crossed the road to reach the public footpath where we turned left.

A short stretch, fenced in on both sides, led to the virtually dry small stream.  We stepped gingerly over stones covered in green slime into Common Bank Wood and followed the dusty path.

Tall trees provided welcome shade.  We noted that some trees had been cut down and sported signs stating that the path would be closed later for an arts festival event and wondered what that could be.

Vertigo 1

From Osborne street, we took a steep flight of steps.  The blinding sun made stark shadows on the way down to Commercial street. We had considered visiting more free events in town.  The street theatre appeared to have ended as only a few people milled about.  We wandered in vain for a couple of minutes looking for clues.  Hot, tired and thirsty, we abandoned the mission and returned home.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti4FFQuY60aCBGIn0CQ

 

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

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

 

Frost, Fog and Sun

stoodley-view-4

The last Saturday in November, the low morning sun was blinding!  Lingering fog in the valley created a white line below an azure sky.

cuckoo-steps

We set off early afternoon, up the Cuckoo steps (resplendent in brown and green with a sunlit backdrop) and into Eaves Wood.  Views back down proved absolutely stunning with the bright light and clear sky.  Climbing up the lovely path along the ridge, we watched crows wheeling above the rocks – observing for the first time that they resembled a vanilla slice.

We took the steps up behind Hell Hole Rock, resting at the top to enjoy the warm sun. Phil clambered over an outcrop for more views.  I followed him and noticed a small path going southwards that I had not travelled before.

 

We walked along the edge of a horse field, past climbers whingeing about dogs, and saw an acquaintance with her dog who managed to chuck its ball into the field.   Phil clambered over the fence to retrieve it.  We continued around the field, through a newly-planted woodland and emerged near the social club.

 

As we watched the horses eating straw as if it was spaghetti, I spotted frosty leaves on the ground where the sun never shone.  We continued up the edge of Southfield to West Laithe and into the village.

sunny-path-1The old co-op building had been commandeered by a Heptonstall artists’ and makers’ market.  We Chatted to some of the artists and perused the merchandise.  I was fascinated by the pile of junk inside the old building – I never knew that lot was in there.

In the Cross iInn we found more art and bought raffle tickets. We fancied a pint and pub food, but they only seemed to be offering pizza and tapas.

Reasoning that we could walk back down in the last light of the day, we headed back to town.  We took the easy road back, until we came to The Buttress.

We took our time going down to avoid slipping on leaves.  It had been so long since I had travelled that way, and had not realised that the council had cleaned up the small graveyard.  Entering for a nosey, we found more frosty leaves, large brown mushrooms (Phil macabrely pointing out that they were growing from dead people!) and took in views of sunlight still lingering on Old Town.  At the bottom, we crossed the Packhorse bridge and up Bridge Gate for beer and huge pies at The White Lion.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQticECJTI0L2OFK41rOQ

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