Best Foot Forward: Rishworth Moor

Withens Reservoir
Withens Reservoir

This week’s walk comes courtesy of www.casualramblers.co.uk and is a 5.5 mile bracing ramble across open moorland with excellent views, starting above Baitings Reservoir, close to Ripponden.

The upland moors of the South Pennines are now officially recognised as important sites of special scientific interest. It’s a sparse landscape of heather, grasses, bilberry, cotton grass and crowberry, where birds such as the merlin and the golden plover still thrive.

Upper Ryburn Valley

Upper Ryburn Valley

The only thing that’s lacking, apart from trees, is people. You can stride out across these moors for mile after mile without seeing another walker.

From the Baitings reservoir car park, walk left down the road.

Fifty yards after crossing the beck, take a gate in the wall on your right (signposted to Booth Wood reservoir).

Follow a tumbledown wall uphill towards the left-hand side of Blackwood Farm.

Withens Clough Reservoir

Withens Clough Reservoir

Walk between the farmhouse and an outbuilding, to a gate at the top of the farmyard.

Walk up the next field to a stile and continue steeply uphill, following the wall to your right.

Look for views of the Ryburn Valley, as you crest the hill and arrive at a ladder stile, next to a gate in the wall.

From here you strike off to the right, across rough moorland; the path is distinct but narrow.

Withens Reservoir

Withens Reservoir

Keep straight ahead at a yellow-topped post (you will see others on your route).

Walk roughly parallel to the M62, heading just to the right of a tall mast on the far side of the motorway.

At the next waymarker stick, bear slightly right, on a less obvious path.

As you start to walk downhill you have good views down to Green Withens reservoir ahead.

Rishworth Moor

Rishworth Moor

Descend to cross a side-beck on a little plank bridge, to meet the reservoir drainage channel.

Take a bridge over the channel and walk right, following this watercourse towards the reservoir.

About 300 yards before the reservoir embankment, take a bridge back over the channel (marked Blackstone Edge and Baitings’).

Bear slightly left to follow a path uphill - soon quite steeply - before it levels out and bears left around Flint Hill.

The view behind you recedes; ahead is the Upper Ryburn Valley. Descend to a water channel on your left and a fork of paths.

Go right here (a sign indicates Baitings reservoir), continuing to skirt the hill on a good, level path.

Rishworth Moor

Rishworth Moor

Keep left, where the path forks, to begin a gradual descent towards Baitings reservoir.

When you come to a wall corner, keep straight ahead, following the wall on your left.

Soon you are on a walled track, passing through two gates and finally emerging at the little car park above the reservoir.