Tag Archives: Tinker Bank wood

A Mystery Solved? (Heptonstall and Northwell Lane)

Northwell Panorama

In the heat of July, Marisa and I took the bus up to Heptonstall for lunch at The Towngate Tearooms.  We discussed options for walking back to Hebden and I asked her to confirm for me which path was Tinker Bank Lane and see if I could determine if there was another path between that and Northwell Lane.

FleecedShe led me through the old co-op yard into a carpark and up a grassy path parallel to Northgate.  I noted a washing line being used to hang sheep fleeces and the pinfold.  Now a picnic area, this little enclave was once used communally to house livestock.  At the end of the path we turned immediately right, onto Tinker Bank Lane.   With no apparent right of way ahead of us, I still wondered if I had imagined the middle path and resolved to clear up the mystery at some future date.  We descended to Draper Lane and crossed into the wood, through Hollins and into town.

The days leading up to the autumn equinox brought a resurgence of summer.  Still tired from an outing earlier in the week, I consented to a short hike through Eaves Wood.  We walked along the ridge slowly, pausing to examine details close up.  Tall grassed framed the hamlet below.  Fat spiders lay in wait on delicate webs.  Baby oak trees sprouted from the ground, their tiny red leaves bright amidst the grass.

At Hell Hole Rock, we waited as a dorky-looking couple descended the steep stone staircase, carrying mattresses on their backs.  I joked they planned on camping but obviously they were climbers.  Steps clear,  we went up to ‘photographer’s corner’ and clambered onto the dodgy ledge overlooking the rock, the climbing couple hampering attempts to take good shots.

Lit ruin 1Back on the proper path, we turned right to Southfield.  Loud bellringing emanated from the church where the afternoon sun glinted yellow on the stonework.  We had the ruin to ourselves for a spell, enjoying seeing it in a different light, until a few other walkers appeared.  A woman with young boy in tow enquired as to the location of ‘King David’s’ grave (aka David Hartley of the Cragg Vale coiners).  She was horrified that we had never made a point of seeking it out.  Phil commented it made a change from women asking about Sylvia Plath’s resting place.  I suggested she may well end up there but was probably trying to make the visit more engaging for her son.

Normally we would tarry awhile in  the churchyard but the persistent bell-ringing played havoc with my tinnitus.  We retreated onto West Laithe and walked down the road to a snicket into the old co-op yard.  Dismayed at the apparent lack of maintenance , I joked  they should get the stocks back out.  A man stood in front of the adjacent garage.  Imposingly large, with a bushy beard and arms crossed, he regarded us suspiciously. Unperturbed, I bade him a cheery “hello!”.  He reluctantly returned the greeting.  At a side door, an even surlier-looking fellow eyed us warily.

Tinker Bank chickensWe stifled sniggers as we continued up the small path to the pinfold which I had wanted to explore since discovering in July.  Through the small square doorway, worn picnic tables inhabited an oasis of dappled shade.  We agreed it was a good spot for a rest although we ended up covered in particles raining down on us from the nearby trees.  As we chatted, I expressed amazement that in spite of  gentrification,  real yokels still existed in little enclaves.  Phil said he was not in the least bit surprised.  He regaled me with tales of Dick the ‘beech nut god’ and the ‘bramble spirit’, claiming people round here still believed in these pagan deities.

We continued to Tinker Bank Lane, being chased by chickens as we went back up a short way onto Northgate and turned right to the top of Northwell Lane.  We took in the views and my eyes were drawn to the private garden immediately below us.  A distinctly wide section with stone walls on either side, seemed to solve the mystery of the middle path; seemingly once a lane joining Tinker Bank with Northwell but now repurposed.

Northwell HouseBrightness at the top of the lane gave way dramatically to darkness as we walked down Northwell to Draper Lane.  Crossing, we followed the footpath towards Lee Wood, even darker and decidedly cool.  I picked up the pace as we headed down to a junction.  Of three routes, we chose one leading to Hebden Water in the hope of returning to warmth.  Snaking round bends, we noted the horsey holiday farm had become even bigger, though the military vehicles we had spotted a couple of years ago were no longer in evidence

On the riverside, a woman walking purposefully ahead f us and game of croquet underway at the bowling club were the only signs of life.  Disappointingly still in shade, we finally regained sunlight on Valley Road.  We dawdled into town and considered staying out for a pint to make the most of it.  Inevitably though, hordes of after-work drinkers had descended.  With barely a scrap of outdoor seating to be had. We went for coffee instead.

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Pinfold 2

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Woodland Mist

Mistical 1

As the mild weather continued well into November, we enjoyed a mid-week stroll.  We planned to catch a bus up to Colden for lunch at May’s but missed one by minutes.  With a short window of afternoon sun, we bought pasties from the local bakers and strode rapidly towards town.  I remarked we were going at a fair lick considering we had no aim in mind.  I suggested going to Hareshaw Wood and we made our way up to Salem Fields.  After crossing Foster Mill Bridge, we climbed the large cobbled steps and paused by the majestic sycamore to contemplate the glorious sunny scene.

Majestic 2A friend descended the steps towards us and stopped for a chat.  She asked if we were going to Heptonstall.  I replied that we had no definite plans but “’All roads lead to Heptonstall’ (as it says in my book)”.

She laughed, and invited us to call in for a cuppa next time we ended a walk there.

We turned right at the top to pass through Hollins.  A rustling sound near my feet did not alarm me at first, assuming it was my boots treading fallen leaves. However, the noise did not match my pace.  I looked down to find a daft dog sniffing at my heels, threatening to jump onto me.  The owner seemed oblivious: strolling some paces back, busy gassing on her phone.  I shouted repeatedly at the mutt until the owner overheard and called the animal off.

Leaves with drops

We chose to go upwards through the wood which we rarely do.  Interesting colours strew the path, with lichens and fungi dotted amongst the autumn foliage, some sprinkled with perfectly round dewdrops.

At the top, we crossed Lee Wood Road and looked for the gap on the other side.  Having thought we had spotted it, we made our way up worn shallow steps barely discernible beneath a thick carpet of brown leaves, indicating an ancient route.  We crossed the road to continue, where more worn steps and a crumbling waymarker post gave further clues to its history.  Hesitating briefly as it was not Tinker Bank Lane as we had expected, we reasoned that it must be nearby.

Tiny mushroomsI found the last part of steep climb very hard work.  We caught our breath near the top where a fowl enclosure stood to our right.  Disgruntled geese flapped their wings, perturbed by our presence.  Tiny orange mushrooms grew in a clump from a hollow in a tree.  A wooden signpost gave directions to various locales from which I guessed we had somehow come up a parallel path to Tinker Bank Lane.  This assumption was confirmed as we made the last bit of the climb alongside the octagonal chapel.

Yellow sign

Now in Heptonstall (which, as I pointed out to our friend earlier, was inevitable), we continued along Northfield.

An almost blank yellow sign amused us with only the word ‘Please’ discernible, albeit faded.  We guessed it had once warned against parking before the letters had peeled off.

Over in the churchyard we sought a patch of sunlight to sit in and settled on the church steps facing south.  After eating my pasty, I foraged for interesting leaves that had collected round the Victorian gravestones.

With only an hour till dusk, we made a quick return via Eaves Wood.  At ‘photographer’s corner’, the Stoodley Pike monument and wind turbines rose from a blanket of grey, topped by artily-arranged lenticular clouds.  We joked about the ‘mistical valley’ (which became the subject for the next Monday Morning haigai.  Descending the steps at Hell Hole Rocks, a man waited at the bottom and asked us if he was on the right track for Heptonstall.  I confirmed that he was.  Further down, we watched squirrels scampering amidst the tree branches, gathering nuts.  My wildlife photography proved as pathetic as ever!  Back home, I felt pleased that we had got out for some fresh air and exercise, in spite of my extreme tiredness and achy legs necessitating a lie down.

Squirrel 2

Note:

i. https://mondaymorninghaiga.wordpress.com/2018/11/19/mistical-valley/

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Riverside in Bloom

Sycamore 1

Five days after the equinox, a hint of spring finally arrived!  We set off aimlessly down the road, just eager to be out in the sunshine.  At the corner, we watched a stupid man with a beard and shades manoeuvring his car dangerously until we could cross safely.  Proceeding to Old Gate, we got splattered by a power washer.

AnemoneFurther on, a kid called across the road to me: “I like your hair.  I’m ginger too!”  It crossed my mind to inform him that mine was dyed, but decided to be kind and just smiled instead.

We could hear a brass band and turning onto Saint George bridge we saw the junior band playing on the patio of the Town Hall. A neighbour appeared with a woman waving a palm.  We continued up Hangingroyd to Salem Fields.

 

On the riverside, buds and flowers had popped out everywhere (and about time too, after the cold, harsh winter).   Blooms of narcissi, anemone and the last of the snowdrops sprung from verges while catkins hung overhead.  At the bowling hut we took an upward turn and admired a cascading stream behind.  We started to clamber up an ‘animal path’.  It proved rather dodgy.

Meandering down 3Returning to the track, we took a sharp left and walked upwards, where sycamore trees were being strangled by poison ivy, to cross the top of the stream.

Hareshaw and Tinker Bank woods showed less signs of life, and Hollins as dank as ever.  Approaching the garden gate for our familiar shortcut, we heard loud barking.  A man on the other side controlled the dog – which turned out to be tiny and made us laugh.

 

We kept to the top path, emerging on Moss Lane where the moon hovered in a blue sky.  We went down Rose Grove and into town.  After a couple of errands, we returned home a different way to avoid another splattering.  I greeted a neighbour out gardening and said “Spring at last!”  He responded by saying that it would be snowing again by Wednesday (it didn’t but did the following week).

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Catkins

Up Hollins and Tinker Bank

Branches and sky 1

The first decent walk of 2018 began on a bright, frosty day.  Setting off at 2 p.m., thaw had occurred as we headed through town towards the riverside path.  However, on the unpaved Groove Road, ice on the ground proved tricky.

Cart and garageJust before Foster Mill Bridge, we stopped to examine a dilapidated cart in front of a wood-fronted garage, surrounded by frosty leaves and grass.

On the bridge, mossy walls appeared to have been sprinkled with icing sugar.  A cheery man said “nice day for it” and advised me to take care as we crossed to Salem.

 

We took the steps up to Hollins, surveying the lovely sycamore tree and sunlight on the hills opposite.  Through the eternally dark hamlet and into Tinker Bank wood, a group of walkers asked directions into town.  We paused to consider which path to take and initially elected for the lower one before Phil suddenly took a steep upward path.  I said we had not been that way before but he was sure we had.  It became horribly muddy in places and I was glad I had sensible boots on.

SlowLarge stone blocks were strewn either side of the narrow path, suggesting that it had been a vehicle track, lined by walls at one time.

At the top, we emerged onto Lee Wood Road and were amused by the ‘slow’ sign nailed to a tree, beside a newly-formed waterfall.  We walked eastwards towards Bobby’s Lane.  But on encountering a paved lane downwards, we decided it might be a quicker way down to the riverside.

Not sure if it was a private drive, we discovered a dilapidated shed and another shortcut.  This one looked decidedly dodgy though, so we kept to the tarmac, and round a large bend to emerge near the posh horse farm.

Frosty twig on wall 3

A couple walking with a bonkers dog created amusement for a few minutes before becoming rather annoying.

We overtook them, until we were forced to slow down by ice underfoot.  I also wanted to take photos looking up to Pecket Well where sunlight on the hilltops created a contrast with the dark shadows below.

Further down, ice on the path turned to water.  I kept to the edges and trod carefully.

Reaching the river, we spotted more frosty vegetation and a tree branch fallen in the weir.

We took the usual route back along Hebden Water and stopped at the first ‘beach’ to rest.

As we climbed back up to the path, Phil saw someone he knew in the garden opposite and we chatted over the gate before continuing back to town – this time sticking to Spring Grove; a much safer  option.

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Sunny tops 2

 

Hollins to Heptonstall

Hollins Tree bark 4

On the final Saturday of April, we had arranged a walk and lunch with Marisa.  I started the day feeling tired and a slightly ill but well enough.  The weather (cloudy and changeable) made us reluctant to go far and she suggested a different way up to Heptonstall.  A walk across town and over Foster Mill Bridge took us to the steps leading to Hollins.  Pausing to catch our breath, we admired the bark and twisty branches of a wayside sycamore tree.  We continued through the hamlet and entered Tinker Bank Wood.

Path edged with bluebells 1We kept to the pretty lower path where luscious grass was interspersed with clumps of bluebells.  Stepping over the tiny stream, we came down alongside Hebden Water and climbed up a rough track.   We arrived at a massive farm which appeared to be being converted into a horsey holiday camp.  They also had a rather impressive if alarming collection of military vehicles!  Are they getting ready for a post-Brexit Britain?

We climbed the long flight of stone steps to Bobby’s Lane and had to rest at the top before continuing.  Walking eastwards to the next junction we took left turn.  Picturesque old stones underfoot and a variety of tree life either side provided plenty of interest.

Route marker 2We emerged at Lee Wood Road where we crossed and examined the marker post before ascending up of Northwell Lane.  This gave us great views across the valley and eventually led to Heptonstall.   In the White Lion, we supped pints and had fun reading the place mats (mine had the grim tale of a murderous Coiners plot) while awaiting our food.

 

 

We agreed on a quick way back home and detoured through the village to locate the village stocks opposite the old co-op yard.  Marisa showed us the ‘Corpse Road’ which travels parallel to Heptonstall Road.  I had been unaware of this path although I worked out that we had taken various parts of it previouslyi.  Again, we admired different views down the valley and varied plant life including a wild cherry tree, while avoiding the muddy spots.

Stone with carved initials

We spiralled down to the bottom of Eaves wood, noting the old stone carved with the initials ‘W.G.’.   On Heptonstall Road once more, Marisa invited us in for a cuppa but I had become very tired and slightly unwell.  We walked her to her front door and commented on her tidied up garden, said our goodbyes and returned via the Cuckoo Steps.

 

 

Note

i. For further information on the Corpse Road see:  http://www.hebdenbridgehistory.org.uk/folklore/the-last-road.html

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Corpse path 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.

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Tinker Bank Wood - Seven in one

Strolls in Hareshaw and Tinker Bank Woods

Paved lane 2On a rainy Sunday in October, we ventured out to explore lesser known woods close to home. A steep climb up Moss lane led to a turning on the right and through a gate onto a small path.

The grey paving, now slippery and worn, hold testament to its past as an old road. Navigating gingerly as the overgrown path stepped downwards, before widening into a ‘lane’ banked on one side by a moss-covered stone wall.

Blocked windowWe noticed several cobbled paths leading off up the hillside.

These, together with the buildings that remain, make it easy to imagine this hidden enclave as a village in days gone by.

Proceeding to a fork in the way, we headed up to Hareshaw wood until we came upon a ‘stone circle’. We then realised we had traversed into Tinker Bank wood.

We considered carrying on going west but the path appeared overgrown and the rain returned.

Upright stone and small tree

Instead, we doubled back to the fork and took the downward route from there. This led to a very narrow path between allotments.

We navigated carefully past a large tree whose roots served as steps down, to get onto the riverside path.

We marvelled at the changing flow of Hebden Water.

After a dry summer, recent rain had brought more trees down and the river itself appeared to have shifted to the north with a new waterfall forming.

Small stone stepsWe revisited Hareshaw woods in the spring. This time, we followed the lower path that had been blocked in autumn.

It emerged near the river just beyond a bowling hut. We carried on up the lane to a posh farm.

The way ahead being marked private, we took a flight of steep stone steps up to Bobby’s lane.

 

Picnic bench with small yellow flowerFrom there, we carried on passed the Blue Pig and onto the edge of the crags.

We rested on a bench and examined the miniscule plant life in the cracks of the picnic table whilst trying to fend off all the dogs.

 

 

Swamp 3We then returned via the riverside path. At the bridge where we normally crossed, we decided to stay on the east side for a change.

It took us passed what looked like a swamp full of rubbish – not very pleasant. We came out at Windsor View and went into town.

 

 

Old casueway 2A year on, I had been mostly inactive for two months due to illness. The brightening sky with its promise of better weather lured us outdoors. I found the walk up Moss Lane hard work but persevered. We took the now-familiar right turn towards the old road and again mused over the old buildings and causey stones.

Although patches never saw sunlight and walls dripped with water and damp-loving plants, a crust had formed over the mud making it easy going.

 

Small waterfalls 1In Hareshaw Woods, we remarked how different it looked from last time we had visited. We discovered a variety of mosses and lichens and interesting holes in dead tree trunks. I tried to find the ‘stone circle’ we had discovered on our first visit but to no avail.

We carried on further along the path above the bowling hut. We crossed over a gorgeous little stream, where mini waterfalls tripped over higgledy piggledy rocks. I surmised that this had been created in the recent floods.

 

Smugglers cave 1Continuing, we came down onto a paved road near a group of chalets. This ‘little Switzerland’ is a rather odd do – someone obviously had a dream and built it. We crossed the river via a bridge with white railings. I noticed an arch in the wall at water level and joked that it was the entrance to a smuggler’s cave.

We then took the well-trodden route along Hebden Water towards Foster Mill Bridge. Again, changes had occurred, with much sand exposed on the northern banks of the river. An old tree stump I had been documenting for years looked as if it would not last much longer.

 

Dead trunk with holes and moss 1

 

 

 

 

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