Tag Archives: Slater Ings

Through the Woods and down the Corpse Road

Heptonstall ascending loop path 1

The last week in June brought a series of travails and despite the gorgeous sunny weather, life felt hard.  On the Thursday afternoon, we thought that one of our favourite wood walks might cheer us up and cool us down.  At the top of the cuckoo steps, I needed to catch my breath before crossing the road and taking the path into Eaves Wood.  A felled tree obstructed us.  Momentarily thwarted, we managed to navigate through the jumble of branches.  As we climbed the ridge, the sun beat down. “It’s like being on holiday in the Med” I commented.  Phil casually mentioned that he’d always said it was the hottest spot in Hebden – now he tells me!

Eaves Wood stone seatWe noted that the views down into the valley were obscured by profuse growth.  I needed to rest and drink water but the lack of shade and prolific bracken meant my usual spot was not an option.  I slogged on until we reached the trees.

After resting awhile on the path edge, we continued and I realised that if I’d waited a little longer I could have sat on the seat-like stone a short way up.

At Hell Hole rocks we explored the disused quarry.  Normally dank, twigs and leaves on the parched earth crunched beneath my sandals.  Today deserted apart from crows high in the treetops, we had fun guessing the pastimes of recent visitors from the evidence they had left behind including a tent peg and sweet wrappers.

Eaves Wood fern shadow 2Past the rocks, we decided to stay down in the woodland rather than climbing straight up to Heptonstall.  Descending a flight of twee steps, we noted almost impossible greenery.  Small dapples of sunlight and fern shadows fell artily on the stone treads.  The landscape became like pixie land as the myriad paths from the Victorian job creation scheme led in all directions.  Small birds flitted through trees and a squirrel scampered into the undergrowth.

Finding it hard to choose the best route, we kept to the middle route until we reached a more significant-looking fork, thinking we would soon reach the top wall and thus the lane up to the village.  However, we ended up in what we realised was the lower end of Slater Ings.  The path became indiscernible in places.  Large square boulders lay higgledy piggledy (most likely a result of quarry dumping).   We had a tricky climb through huge ferns, stopping often to locate the best way through.  Even so, Phil banged his head on a tree branch.

Slater Ings square rocksEventually, I spotted what I assumed was the top wall above us but could not see an obvious access point.  Then Phil noticed that it was not the wall I’d thought it was.  Nevertheless, we had to go upwards to reach civilisation.  I saw a gap in the wall and clambered over large stones towards it.  On reaching the top, we realised there had once been a proper path and crossing point – apparently eroded since our last trek through this neglected lower part of the wood.

We came onto the lovely rocky path that we knew quite well at the top of Slater Ings, albeit not as far along as expected.  But it was easy enough from there to reach the lane up to Heptonstall.  On the corner of Green Lane, I noticed a styal into fields which I knew would cut a corner out.  This turned out to be part of the Hebden Loopi. We crossed a beautiful meadow with attractive paving underfoot, heading for a picturesque treeline to emerge onto the road.  In the village, we entered The first pub for refreshments.

At the bar, we exchanged a few words with an acquaintance, ordered pints, grabbed menus and headed for the beer garden.  Whilst enjoying the indirect sunlight, we prevaricated about ordering food as we were not super hungry.  And then we saw the chips and that settled it!  After eating, we realised the football was underway and considered going to the other pub to watch it.  I nipped in to check the score and noted their TV was smaller than the one at home.

Taking the Corpse Road wooden gateOpting for the Corpse Road back, we initially had trouble finding the entrance.  On finding it a little way down the road, a footpath sign indicated two different routes.  We mistakenly took the upward path and arrived at the edge of Southfield.  Returning to the sign, the other path started out as gravel path as it led past houses.  It then became narrow and overgrown.  We were repeatedly stung by nettles and brambles snagged at our clothes.

The vegetation thinned alongside a low stone wall.  Just after a rickety shed, we were led downwards.  I remembered continuing in a straight line last time a rope barred our way.  Forced to turn left and then right onto Heptonstall Road, the final stretch home was very quick.  As I settled down with a coffee to watch the end of the football match, I felt boiling hot and had in urgent need of a cold shower.

Note:

  1. The Hebden Bridge Loop: http://hbwalkersaction.org.uk/pennine-way-loop/

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti4EJ_MuwABD_5kPtPQ

Valley view

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Jack Bridge to Colden*

Strines Bridge 2

Early August had been a bit of a let-down.  I spent the first week ill in bed, watching the changeable and showery weather through the window with only intermittent and non-dependable sun.  Fortunately the second weekend stayed fine.  After a hot Saturday, Sunday brought a few clouds, cooling the temperature down a notch and creating ideal conditions for a walk.

Bee on thistleWe caught the bus to Colden and alighted at Jack Bridge.  Walking alongside Colden Water, we made frequent stops to examine wildlife in the hedgerows: bees hovered on purple balsam; strange orange insects came out in force to mate; thistle flowers gave way to downy seed heads.

Beside a barbed wire fence we spotted a wooden step ladder.  On the other side, a dilapidated caravan surrounded by outdoor furniture made us speculate about the al fresco living conditions of the less-fortunate locals.

 

Nearing Strines Bridge we detoured round the posh house and gardens into the field for a closer look.  Maybe it was my imagination but it seemed in more of a sad state than in our visit last spring.

Further up the lane we climbed a stile into a different field.  Causey stones led diagonally to a small wood.  A muddy path, churned up by mountain bikes then ran alongside the pine wood to the bottom of Rodmer Clough.  Signs of cultivation appeared in the hedges as we reached the corner of Land Farm.  From there, we had a hot, uphill climb to Edge Lane and along the top.

Hot StonesThe grass path we usually sneak up to reach High Gate Farm had become too overgrown necessitating a return to the road.  Passing ‘Hot Stones’, we noticed a lone standing stone.

At May’s, I commandeered the bench looking down the lane while Phil entered the farm shop to order hot cheese pies and tea.  As we waited I was being eaten alive by midges.

 

Crack Hill 2After eating we walked down the road to Crack Hill, still finding amusement in the name.  Proceeding to Slack and through Popples Common, we admired the bright new heather.  We rested on the bench just before Heptonstall, contemplating the landscape.

A dad passing on the road with two young girls on bikes amused us.  “Come on!” he shouted, in typical competitive parent style, as they struggled up the hill.  Bypassing the village, we descended Green Lane into Slater Ing.

Slater Ing 2A bit confused at first, as we had never walked this part in reverse before, we soon started to recognise the familiar rock features.  The muted light was particularly good for capturing their characteristic shapes.  The rocky path took ages to navigate and felt like hard work.  Eventually we reached the easier part above the large flat stones, again struck by the beautiful display of heather lining the route.  We took the steps at Hell Hole Rocks.

 

As we travelled through Eaves Wood and out onto Heptonstall Road, I said it was a long way to go for a cheese pie – like the olden days!

*The walk from Jack Bridge to May’s is the reverse of the ‘Edge Lane detour’ we took with M&M in April 2016.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtisVqMstvRkcBy1eWvg

Purple heather 3

The Neglected Wood

Neglected Wood - Trees with sky behindEarly May, signs of spring finally emerged.  We took a fast route upwards through Eaves Wood in the bright sunlight, barely stopping to admire tiny flowers and catkins along the dry path.  At Hell Hole Rock, we saw a group of campers around the embers of a dying fire.  One of them waved to us.  Phil laughed at them having a festival.  I remarked it wasn’t a festival but they had probably been there all weekend.

Eaves Wood - Trees with catkins

When we reached photographer’s corner, I braved the ‘desire path’ to the overhanging crag in pursuit of good shots across the valley.  However, my efforts were thwarted by haze.

 

I felt very hot and tired from climbing up the steep steps.  I decided that my original plan to reach Hardcastle Crags via an untried route was too much in the heat.

We sat awhile on one of the flat rocks, sipping coffee and enjoying the scenery.  We then proceeded into the neglected part of the wood (Slater Ing Wood according to Phil’s phone app).  It looked less dank than on our previous visits with lush green vegetation, bluebells and other woodland flowers amongst the dead trees.

Neglected Wood - Moss with pale green lineWe ventured off the main path to find a suitable rock for a picnic.  Two dogs rushed by and we kept our food hidden until they had gone.

Whilst eating, we examined the features around us including tiny detritus from the nearby trees and the patterns in the rock we were sat on.  Lighter stripes could be seen where fallen sticks had been dislodged, exposing fresher greenery underneath.

 

Heptonstall - GatewayWe then continued on the usual route to Heptonstall and noticed a posh new sign proclaiming the entrance to the village.  In The Cross Inn beer garden, all the sunny spots had been taken.  The main attraction was eating burgers off the grill, although kids playing in a toy taxi provided amusement.

 

 

Tinker Bank Lane - DeadwoodWe walked out the side gate and down the path at the side of the octagonal chapel onto Tinker Bank Lane.  Guinea fowl on the path scattered as we approached.  I spotted a fallen tree branch forming a low arch (which I had not noticed last time).  At the end of the lane, more bluebells were found.

 

We crossed Lee Mill Road into Tinker Bank Wood to admire yet more bluebells and a strange branch on the ground with apparently seven trees growing from it.  We proceeded through Hollins, down onto Foster Mill Bridge and into town.

It was still too nice to go home so we stopped at Oldgate for a second pint.  As I went to the bar, Phil sat at the end of the wall opposite by the riverside.  We enjoyed the evening sun soon to disappear behind the rooftops. I was just polishing off my beer when I heard a splash and Phil exclaimed ‘oh bugger!’  He had dropped his phone in the river!

After some consideration, he decided he had to get it.  He walked to the packhorse bridge, over to the other side, down into the water and waded across to retrieve it.  He looked very calm and relaxed about it.  I gestured to him to indicate the location of the dropped phone and suggested he took a shorter route back.  Miraculously, the phone still worked!  A fine recommendation for the British Wiley Fox company. We laughed about it all the way home.

More photos at: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=2DF4BDD5DCD70A39!120803&authkey=!AB14hDswIT9FSj8&ithint=folder%2c

Tinker Bank Wood - Seven in one