Best Foot Forward: Halifax and the Shibden Valley

Deborah Toye tweeted in this great pic of the beacon at Beacon Hill with a stunning view of Halifax in the background
Deborah Toye tweeted in this great pic of the beacon at Beacon Hill with a stunning view of Halifax in the background
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An old packhorse track, a superb half-timbered hall and a hidden valley - all just a short walk from Halifax.

Walk downhill, past a tall spire that once belonged to Square Church, and down Church Street, passing the smoke-blackened parish church.

Courer reader Craig Town captured this stunning virw of Halifax town centre from Beacon Hill and shared it with us via Twitter

Courer reader Craig Town captured this stunning virw of Halifax town centre from Beacon Hill and shared it with us via Twitter

Bear left on to Lower Kirkgate, then right on to Bank Bottom. Cross Hebble Brook and walk uphill; where the road bears sharp left, keep straight ahead up a steep cobbled lane.

When you meet a road, go right for about 200yds (183m). Just after the entrance to a warehouse, take a cobbled path on the left that makes a steep ascent up Beacon Hill.

The birds-eye view of Halifax from Beacon Hill is well worth the effort of climbing it.

A century ago this view would have looked very different: most people’s idea of William Blake’s ‘dark satanic mills’ were here in unhealthy profusion, casting a dense pall of sulphurous smoke over the valley.

Great views over Halifax, on the Beacon Hill ramble route

Great views over Halifax, on the Beacon Hill ramble route

This old packhorse track - known as the Magna Via - joins another path and continues uphill to a large retaining wall, where you have a choice of tracks.

Keep left on a cinder track, slightly downhill, as views open up of the surprisingly rural Shibden Valley.

Keep left when the track forks again; after a further 100yds (91m) take a walled path on the left (signed to Stump Cross).

Follow a hedgerow downhill through a little estate of new houses to a road.

Shibden Mill Inn has been shortlisted for a White Rose Award

Shibden Mill Inn has been shortlisted for a White Rose Award

Cross here and take a gated path immediately to the right of a farm entrance, which takes you downhill, under the railway line and into Shibden Park, close to the boating lake.

Follow a drive uphill. Near the top of the hill you will find a footpath on the left, giving access to the Elizabethan splendour of Shibden Hall itself.

Otherwise, continue uphill; just before you meet the main A58 road, bear right, down Old Godley Lane.

Pass houses and take steps up to the main road at the busy junction of Stump Cross.

Photo sent in by Courier reader Howard Benn of Shibden Hall

Photo sent in by Courier reader Howard Benn of Shibden Hall

Cross over the road and take Staups Lane, to the left of the Stump Cross Inn.

Walk up the lane, which soon becomes cobbled, to meet another surfaced road.

Bear left here, down a metalled track, through a gate, to join a straight, doublepaved track into Shibden Dale.

When the paving ends, continue via a gate and through open pasture. Turn left, at the next gate, walking down a lane that soon leads you to the Shibden Mill Inn.

Tucked away in a leafy corner of Shibden Dale, yet close to the centre of Halifax, this picturesque inn enjoys the best of both worlds.

A sympathetic reworking of an old mill, this is the place for good food and, when the weather is kind, a drink in the beer garden.

Walk to the far end of the pub’s car park, to join a track that crosses Shibden Beck.

Beyond a brick-built house, the track narrows to a walled path. You emerge from countryside, to walk past the houses of Claremont and cross the main A58 road, as it goes through the steep-sided Godley Cutting, on a bridge.

Take a set of steps immediately after the bridge and walk left along the road.

From here you can retrace your route of earlier in the day, back into Halifax.