Tag Archives: The Long Causeway

Stones and Rocks – Bridestones to Great Rock

Causeway Vista

Late February 2019 brought unseasonably warm weather and an early spring (hard to believe this time last year we were ravaged by the Beast from the East!).  During half term, we enjoyed a rare Friday outing – further afield than usual to Bridestones Moor.

We began the journey by bus, calling at the bakers for pasties before crossing over to the stop.  The service to Blackshaw Head seemed very late and I almost gave up but it eventually arrived.  Typically, we were the only passengers left after Heptonstall.  We alighted at Blackshaw Head chapel and sat in the sun to eat our pasty lunch before trekking up The Long Causeway.

Causeway KestrelFrom the OS map, I knew it would be 2 or 3 miles so maintained a steady pace.  After the village, the straight road rose gently between fields of sheep.  Many looked fit to burst they were so fat.  Others appeared incredibly scruffy with straggly wool hanging off them.  Overhead wires provided lookouts for crows and a kestrel which considerately stayed still for several minutes.

Possible shortcuts took the form of dodgy-looking paths across ill-kempt farmland scattered with ramshackle buildings.

We kept to tarmac until we reached the corner of Eastwood Road, marked by a milepost. On re-checking the map, we plumped for the more well-trodden route up to the stones.  Down Eastwood Road we found a ridiculously narrow gate (what M&M would call an obesity check!)  On the other side a lovely track headed up across moorland to the rocks with sponge-like moss keeping the bog at bay.  A smattering of fellow visitors populated the site, most of whom had driven judging by the cars parked in the lay by opposite.

Bridestones Trig Point 1The wind picked up as we climbed up to the trig point where I risked being blown off.  We examined stark groove lines on the stones where weathering over millennia had resulted in amazing features, and marvelled at the power of wind and water.

We then rested in the lee of the rocks before walking further behind to survey the alternative paths we could have used.  The ground became boggier as we approached a steep drop – I was glad we had opted for the easier route.

Bridestones Main Event 5Curving round to the front of the stones, smooth erosion left triangular holes between rocks and chair-like hollows in grey boulders.  A stretch of sturdy brown rock resembled a castle wall.  Cubed stones tumbling down the slope evoked memories of archaeological sites.  We felt as if we were on holiday!

Approaching the Bridestones themselves, we waited for families with dogs to move out of shot.  Majestic pillars of solid granite stood curiously grouped as though surveying the landscape. The base of one had been so worn away that it appeared precariously balanced.

No wonder they have inspired legends and folk tales!  We were astonished at how it had taken us so long to visit (and later discovered we had only seen the half of it.  I vowed it would not be another twenty years before returning).

The Great Rock 2We returned to the daft gate and turned right, continuing down Eastwood Road to Great Rock.  It didn’t look so great now!  I had hoped to easily find a straight way down to Eastwood but it eluded me.  Again, we eschewed uncertain paths heading towards Jumble Hole.  We checked the map once more and decided to stay on the road back up to Blackshaw Head.

Overcome with fatigue and with less than an hour of daylight remaining, we rested briefly at Hippins Bridge (a road bridge not a footbridge as I used to think) to look up bus times on google.  With one due in half an hour, we made the final climb back up to The Long Causeway.  As we waited, dusk fell.  A menagerie serenaded us; I could only identify a couple of the several species of bird amongst the cacophony of the twilight chorus.  Inevitably late again, it was almost dark when the bus finally made it up the hill, turned and picked us up.  During the descent, a man from Bolton amused us with his tales of drinking around Calderdale.  The driver stopped right opposite the Fox and Goose for him!

more photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti5w1vQuMmnaT_7lR1Q

Bridestones Frontage 2

Jumble Hole (eventually)

Sloping stream 2

 

Long Causeway 3The day after our trip up to Midgeley Moor also started sunny.  We packed a picnic and caught the bus up to Blackshaw Head.  Alighting at the last stop on the Long Causeway, we walked up the road to Harley Wood Gate Farm in search of a path leading to the top end of Jumble Hole Clough.  Passing scruffy sheep and ramshackle ruins, we found a public footpath sign pointing to the farmhousei.

 

 

As we approached, a man gardening intercepted us.  I said we were looking for the marked public right of way.  He directed us round the house and through a bog!  We picked our way through tussocks and more bog, following the path first West then South.  Because it was not always clear, we made sure of the next stage of the route before continuing over each field.  Eventually we were thwarted by a fence that had been put up in front of a stile, beyond which even worse quagmires lurked.

Thwarted 1Retracing our steps, Phil managed to step into a swampy hole, soaking his sandaled feet (making me glad to have persisted in wearing sensible boots).  On the way back, I took photos as evidence of the obviously deliberate ploy to put walkers off.  I refused to cross the bog in front of the farmhouse and walked on the path through the garden.  There was no sign of the man.

We returned back down the causeway to Davey Lane.  This led easily to the clough, via Bullion Farm (Phil insisted on calling it ‘Bull Lion’ farm), the familiar stone trough, the friendly alpacas and the attractive field above the clough.

Here, we noticed some deliberately-placed stones for the first time; as if someone had started building a bridge but gave it up as a hard job.  We made use of the flat rock for our picnic.

White anemones 3It had become rather windy.  We took the steps down, bedecked with yellow flowers, and crossed the sloping stream into the sheltered clough.  At Staups Mill, two couples stood around chatting, hampering our photography.

Further down the clough the tree line opposite resembled clouds as they sprouted new growth.  We took a path down on the left to the small clapper bridge, pausing to admire wood anemones.

 

Ruined hovel with bluebellsWe then climbed up to the ruined hovels and imagined the grim lives of those who once dwelt there.  With careful footing, we found our first bluebells of the year and an excellent crop of wild garlic to pick.

As we rested on a nearby wall, mist appeared across the valley.  The air became decidedly chillier as if a storm was a-coming.

 

Keen to return to civilisation, we carried on climbing to the higher path, then South along the ridge.  When the PBW ii became steep, we veered off to the left along a smaller path edged with flowers and hawthorn blossom.  Emerging at Wood View we noted the ‘danger balsam’ sign indicating poisoning had taken place in the futile battle against the plant.  We crossed the road and metal steps onto the canal towpath, walking home fast as the air had become even more chilly.

i The next day, Marisa said she knew the dodgy path we had attempted and told us that a better route to the top of the clough could be found further up the Long Causeway.

ii   Pennine Bridleway

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiqVW9-VESIP-IhW29g

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.

More photos at: http://1drv.ms/1lM3d52

 

Marsh Lane - Muck cart