Tag Archives: styal

Pennine Bridle Way to Knott Wood

PBW 2g - Looking back  3

On a bright mid-August Thursday, my partner had a free afternoon allowing us to take a rare mid-week outing.   We set off for the bus stop intending to travel up to Slack.  The buses’ tardiness made us impatient and eventually we got the next bus that came and alighted at Callis figuring we could walk up from there.

A Lacy UnderbridgeWhilst crossing the road, we decided to make a change to our now-normal route and went up Underbank laughing anew at ‘Lacy Underbridge’ and onto the Pennine bridleway (PBW).

As we climbed the steep overgrown cobbled path (signifying not many other people did), we noted that whilst we sometimes came back down this way, it had been our original route up before we discovered the alternatives.

PBW 3b - Stone wall 1

We paused occasionally to admire views and catch our breath.  Soon after Mount Olive Chapel, we came to a junction.  Considering a small path through the tops of the woods, we elected instead to stay on the PBW as we had never walked that section before.

The path became much easier, with setts edged by well-maintained stone walls behind which fields and hay bales lay.

Reaching the top of that section we bought home-made jam at the entrance of a farm, placing payment in the honesty box.  We then rested on a wall at the corner of the farm track.

A woman and a small dog with a sock appeared coming along a smaller path that emerged at a gap in the wall.  I asked her where the path went and she told me ‘Marsh Farm’.  We had a short chat and it turned out she had made the jam.  She and her husband who had appeared at the farm gate, thanked us.

We continued on the route up and I told Phil he would recognise it soon.  He was distracted by crows flying around the fields and telegraph wires, but as we proceeded, it suddenly dawned on him: we were at the corner of Winter’s Lane.  We turned right along the lane and down into Rawtenstall.

Rawtenstall - Magical tree 1As we descended, we noted the deliberately twee features created by trees and rocks, the old stone gate post, and old ruined buildings from long-gone settlements (that I had failed to notice on our visit the previous autumn).

Phil joked about turning them into ‘ye olde village’ on his photo blog.

Winding down Turret Hall Road, we spotted a path leading off through Knott Wood and thought it would just cut the corner off.  This proved not to be the case.

We were led up and down, via tiny steps and narrow paths, through gates and over styals, and eventually emerged in a builder’s yard now occupying a disused quarry.  We admired the raised beds where onions and other veg grew, and strange large balls.

Knott Wood - Old quarryFinding no way through the yard, we doubled backed slightly and had a choice of following the overgrown path westwards, or going eastwards for a time.  We chose the latter, surmising that it must end up back on the road soon.  Thankfully, this time we were right.  We emerged down another flight of small stone steps onto Oakville Road.  I enjoyed walking alongside the railway lines as trains whizzed by.

Back on Burnley Road, we looked for the talking bird but couldn’t see it.  I did, however, discover more ruins and stone steps at the side of Woodbine Terrace.  A little way down, we crossed the busy road and entered Stubbings pub.  We ordered pints and food.  As we lingered canalside with a second drink, the air became chilly with the setting sun and the other tables emptied of punters.  We walked home along the canal and said what a nice time we’d had – which was just as well as the weather turned miserable for the next few days!

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiLdDOWPCAH-90Q4hVA

Knott Wood - Path and gate 1

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A Dodgy Walk from Blake Dean

Graining Water 1

The intermittent summer of 2016 and a series of family traumas did not allow for many opportunities to enjoy longer days out.  However, the first Saturday in August promised to be a good, fine day for walking.  We determined to forget recent troubles and make the most of it.

1800 markerI got together a picnic and we set out for the bus stop.  We almost gave up waiting for the community bus, as it was delayed by several minutes.

At last it arrived and we rode up to Blake Dean, alighting at the bridge over Graining Water.

I noticed for the first time the stonemason’s mark – ‘W. 1800’ – carved into an edge stone.

 

We crossed the road and descended via the rickety wooden gate into the dean.  Predictably busy on a warm summer’s day, we escaped uphill via paths overgrown with bracken, away from the crowds.  A lump of rocks edged an attractive grassy path, in front of a small stone cave.  We enjoyed a picnic and views whilst discussing options for the walk down into the crags.

Stone caveOpting to stay on the east side of the stream, we kept on the lower grassy path.

This took us above the remains of the trestle bridge i, over a rickety styal, past a disused quarry (likely again related to the temporary railway) and through what could have been an abandoned garden.

 

 

We then entered a cedar wood, awestruck by its sheer beauty.  Tall trees emitted scents redolent of Christmas, interspersed with truncated and fallen trunks.  We continued downstream, until things took a turn for the worse.  Apparent landslips had rendered the path unnavigable in places.  Springs had created bogs, very tricky to cross.  Much trial and error ensued. Our feet became inevitably wet and muddy (thank goodness for waterproof sandals!)

Fed up of the constant sinking, we considered fording the stream but it did not look safe enough.  Eventually we came to an old stone wall and paused to think.  After some deliberation, we decided to try and ford yet another impromptu stream surrounded by bog.  However, in spite of laying down a carpet of bracken, I was unable to make the leap.  Meanwhile, a group of European hikers appeared, in the same predicament “on no!  We will be here forever!” one of them said “yes, we are stuck” I agreed” do we have enough provisions?”  This made them all laugh in that continental way.

Wooden styalI recognised a house further up whose garden we had traversed on our very first walk on this side of the water some years before. We headed upwards in search of a path to said house.

Alas, we searched in vain but we did eventually find a safe crossing point after which the path became easy going, eventually merging with an access road which again I remembered from our first foray in this specific part of the wood.

 

Back in familiar territory, we expected the last leg through the crags to be plain sailing.  However, a flood-ravaged bridge necessitated another wet, muddy feet experience as we had to use the original Victorian path underneath the cliffs.

At Gibson Mill, we were so late even the toilets had been locked!  Exacerbated, we commandeered one of the deserted picnic tables to partake of apple pie and pop.  From there, we took the quick way back along the driveway to the main gate and along Midgehole Road and onto town.

Cedar wood 3

I Later that month, Phil came across a pamphlet by the University of Leeds with some interesting facts and photos about the history of Hardcastle Crags.  Amongst other things, there is a fantastic picture of a train crossing the trestle bridge just below Blake Dean: http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/misc/scienceandtourism/Final%20copy%20leaflets/Industrial%20Heritage%20leaflet.pdf

On the first Sunday in October, we again rode the community bus up to Blake Dean.  We spent a few minutes rambling in the dean.  Rowan trees in full berry looked beautiful against the early autumn backdrop as water sparkled under a blue sky.

We then took our more usual route back down.  Some very churned up muddy bits on undulating parts made the path rather tricky in places.   I became quite anxious at one point and sat down in a mossy glade to recover.  We spotted lots of mushrooms and a triangle-shaped rock we had not noticed before.  Refreshed, we continued down and noted that the bridges and paths damaged in the floods had all been fixed. It seemed to take quite a while to reach Gibson Mill so as usual, it was shut.

A cloud of midges descended on us as we sat on the picnic bench finishing our flask of coffee.  Again, we opted for the top track to reach the gate quickly and onto Midgehole road.  I stubbed my toe 3 times on the riverside path (cursing the walking shoes I was wearing rather than sandals I had worn since April) and felt the need to stop once more on a bench near one of the ‘beaches’ for a short rest.  Phil suggested I look for archaeology but all I found were pieces of a boring jug!

rowan-tree-close-up

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiKkeI2VJ1XgFqOVqFQ; https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiOBlL5cJNFTN45ZxzQ