Tag Archives: packhorse routes

Confined Walks 5 – Salem to Moss Lane

Going up 4

Due to recurring bouts of sinusitis and a family bereavement, there had been little opportunity to enjoy local walks for quite a few weeks.  The first Sunday in August, I felt slightly unwell but we sorely needed  fresh air.  Phil needed the shop.  I thought we might have a short walk first but he was intent on the errand.  The centre was rammed again, particularly the square, as it had been since the easement of lockdown earlier in the summer.  The recently imposed new restrictions in the region had made no difference as far as we could tell.  A gang of ageing bikers inhabited a favoured spot opposite the pub.  One wore a fox stole – very Mad Max!  Acquiring the essentials, we wandered up to the large charity shop.

Carbuncle 2Emerging empty-handed, we found the others shut, dithered about what to do, then returned briefly to the packed square to buy pies for a handy lunch.  We walked on the riverside and continued to the end of Victoria Road until it became a cul-de-sac.  Hebden Water gushed enthusiastically beyond a low stone wall.  Ubiquitous Himalayan Balsam sprouted amid rusting car wrecks.  Piles of tyres were artily arranged in front of patchwork buildings.

 

Towards Foster Mill Bridge, a for sale sign grandly claimed a dilapidated workshop included a garden – actually a strip of scrappy grass.  Over the small humped bridge, waterside flowers already went to seed.  Unable to identify the tall white blooms (so many looked similar), we compared their characteristics to the willowy features of the wild carrot – dominant in the park this year.  We’d planned to sit and eat our pies but the beaches and benches were occupied.  As the wind whipped up, I suddenly felt worse.   I suggested a different route home instead.

Stone wall flora 2Overgrown stone steps took us past the glorious sycamore up to a rough path.  Dodging a couple of women conversing on the corner, we turned left and paused to catch our breath.  Here, the balsam grew tall, lower stems entwined with bindweed, providing a foreground for lines of terraced houses climbing the hills.

Further up, thick garden walls were encrusted with escapees, the bright orange and yellow flowers contrasting brightly with grey granite.

We soon reached Lee Wood Road and walked a short distance westwards, amused by a ‘Cross Lee’ installation, to the top of The Buttress.  I momentarily hesitated as the well-worn packhorse trail all but disappeared in a spookily distant vanishing point.  “Do you want to go this way?” asked Phil.  I shrugged “It’s the quickest way back.”  Stealing myself for a slippery descent on cobbles edged with lush seasonal growth, I soon found my stride.

We nipped in the small cemetery.  Spruced up a few years ago, large clumps of yellow flowers now inhabited narrow spaces between Victorian gravestones.  Slippery paths led precariously to a back wall.  Hillside settlements across the valley seemed remote.  Proceeding downwards, we reached the last turn-off before the bottom leading home.

View down the Buttress

Confined walks 4 – Canalside Medley

Bridge view

Early May, we struggled to leave the house before later afternoon.  Thus we did not get further than the canal.

At the start of the week, Phil cast about for an excuse to go out.  With no shop requirements, he suggested going to look for goslings, snapped by a fellow photographer on the marina.  Hoping they’d still be there we set off late Wednesday afternoon. We waited for a neighbour coming up the steps.  “It’s so strange walking round (town) now, she remarked, “but I quite like it.  Apart from missing the charity shops. I’ve got no summer clothes.” I sympathised as I also missed them.  As she reached the top step, a slipper-wearing man with a mini dog rudely overtook us.  The usual hippies milled about on the main road.

Chapel AquilegiaWe paused at the chapel where cultivated purple aquilegia competed for space with yellow wild poppies and dandelions in the untended garden.  At the marina, we spotted geese, pigeons, a wagtail, a pile of pallets and a small family squatting on the cobbles, but no goslings.  Walking back to the park entrance, a man sat on the cinema steps.  Still talking into his phone, he abruptly stood and strode in our direction necessitating a sudden dodge.

In the memorial gardens, displaced pub-goers socialised on benches while in the park, children weaved about on bikes.  The ‘wild flower’ patch was a riot of dandelions.  On the less-trod playing field, they sprouted alongside daisies, heedless of dogs chasing balls.

Towpath SignExiting onto the towpath, signs redolent of Royston Vasey proclaimed ‘local use only’.  Fish swam beneath bright ripples in the canal, but still no sign of goslings. Turning towards Mayroyd, we climbed onto the lock, avoiding another small family.  A layer of scum and fallen blossom coated the water, blocking any view of wild life.  The way ahead seemed rather busy.  We retreated and stayed on the left side hoping to avoid busier stretches, taking the steps up to Palace House Road.  Peeking over the wall  down onto the canal at Hebble End, there were still no pesky goslings!

Friday (VE Day), jolly laughter, bursts of terrible music and milling about implied people on the street below were actually having a party. On our street, neighbours of the adjacent terrace socialised in their own self-created ‘bubble’.  Mr. Fast n Furious raced up and parked in the middle of the thoroughfare for no apparent reason, stood there a few minutes with engine idling, then reversed out with equal speed.

Bunting 1We gave all a wide berth and walked through clouds of floating dandelion seeds and upon the fading chalk art, to the end of the street, giggling at pathetic bunting in ‘Brexit Close’.  We took The Buttress down to the Packhorse Bridge, and into the square where a solitary figured occupied a bench.  I discovered later that an anti-lockdown demo, consisting of 8 sociopathic hippies had taken place.  Getting a few errands, we popped in the fancy wine shop to smirk at the exorbitant prices and dance to Sister Sledge and purchased the fabled goat meat from the very local butchers.

We wandered towards Holme Street where more half-hearted bunting adorned the school.  The smoky wood smell of the people’s pizza van was a big draw, but competed with the stink of draw towards the aqueduct.

DippingWe crossed to the other side of the lock again, evading the idiotic bank holiday smokers and drinkers, and enjoying a quiet patch of sunlight until the coast cleared.  Continuing past Hebble End, the angry white geese noisily defended their territory against half-breed ducks.  One, a mix of mallard and runner duck, swam in an ungainly fashion, struggling to keep its long neck up .  At the next exit point, we walked down a dirt track housing half-demolished vans, to the river and spotted a wagtail hopping from rock to rock.

Around the corner, we hailed a couple of friends in their garden, chatting safely from the other side of the wall.  He had been furloughed and she’d sensibly given up work as a self-employed painter for the duration, enjoying the rest.  That made at least two other people liking the slower pace of life! By coincidence, she had painted the red windows reflected in the canal waters that I had shot a couple of days before (and subject of the next Monday Morning Haiga).

Towpath reflections 1

On Spring Bank holiday Monday, we set off slightly earlier hoping to find lunch in town.  Heaving with day-trippers, carparks and bins overflowed, people queued for café take-a-ways, and benches outside the pub were fully occupied (although still not offering take-outs themselves).  It appeared as if the square had become a makeshift food court.  In search of pies, we found the bakers shut.  The local convenience stores supplied meagre pickings.  We waited ages while a family who looked like they’d already eaten all the pies, hovered round the instant food section.  The staff complained about the tourists “There are at least 300 people in the square”, one of them exaggerated.  Navigating the busy street, almost mowed down by a motorbike, we crossed over to the park to find a suitable patch of grass amidst the small groups populating the green spaces, in front of the shut café.  I said they could at least be selling ice cream.

Calder Holmes Park 2We enjoyed a long overdue picnic lunch in the warm sunshine, realising it was the first time since early March we had bought ‘lunch out’.  Discussing the recent Cummings farrago, we agreed the cat was out of the bag now.  Although physical distancing was not being totally ignored, friendship groups had definitely formed.  I learnt the art beloved of Daily Mail photographers, misleading the viewer into thinking small clumps of people were actually one seething mass.  An infamous local character staggered from one group to another, wearing a mask round his chin.  Phil suggested his keyworker probably put a stack in his house to protect the rest of us!

After eating, we walked along the canal to Mytholmroyd.  Delicate white flowers and common orchids resembling bottle brushes swayed gently at the water’s edge, dwarfed by Margarites.

Canal Whites 1At the boundary, more Margarites grew in hard gravel also home to a smattering of clover and trefoil.  We crossed the main road to the ancient hamlet of Hawksclough and walked home  via the Sustrans cycle path.  As the habitat changed, so did the flora.   Bright kingcups dazzled beside grey granite while fading wild garlic and miniscule blooms stretched upwards in the shade of riverside trees.

I popped in the co-op while Phil waited outside.  The halfwit serving me spoke into his headset: “we appear to have a stalker at the window.“  I turned round to see Phil doing funny faces behind my back!

Field of dreams

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

 

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