Best Foot Forward: Why not take a walk from your doorstep?

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It is likely that you will live not too far from the paths that can quickly transport you to the beautiful rural landscape that surrounds many of the towns and settlements of the district.

With the rapid approach of winter, and therefore not necessarily the type of weather that would compel you to put on the walking boots for a long hike; why not consider the paths that meander their way through the urban settlements that, as said, can swiftly take you to new and unexplored areas on your doorstep?

Even if you live in the centre of the larger towns, such as Halifax; a short bus ride can take you to Shibden Hall and Park from where many delightful walks can be started.

And with the prospect of the Christmas holidays close on the horizon; why not start to plan a few relatively short walks from your doorstep to overcome the inevitable lethargy that Christmas can sometimes bring, what with the over indulgence in good food and drink? My husband and I always take a walk on Christmas Day, just to get some fresh air and work up an appetite for the Christmas meal which usually is something between lunch and dinner,

occurring about 4pm in the afternoon. Also consider a Boxing Day walk, or any other walk during the period. Take the most of the limited daylight, get some fresh air and earn the good food you’ve bought in for Christmas.

Whilst I don’t live in Calderdale, there is a particularly delightful area to explore from my own doorstep here in Kirklees. That said; I’d doubt my neighbours would be too pleased if suddenly a number of people wished to park right outside in order to take this route, therefore I will write the route [just under 6 miles long] starting from the nearby Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, sitting atop the Colne Valley, with beautiful views back along the Colne Valley, as well as across to Castle Hill in the opposite direction.

You can park next to the reservoir; beginning at GR SE 096 123 on the OS Explorer Map 288 [postcode – guide only – HD9 5RR]. Head east, crossing the reservoir, at the far side take the left-hand stile to walk alongside the reservoir until you meet the road entitled Reservoir Side Road. Turn left and at the road junction, continue ahead via a path that takes you to another road, where you turn left and then right to walk Heath Road, which passes above Colne

Valley High School. Looking back, you can see Slaithwaite and the beauty of the Colne Valley beyond.

Follow Heath Road until a collection of houses where shortly after, on the right, a path climbs almost back on yourself and upwards. There’s a less discernible path leaving this on the left, sloping back again, like a zig zag and you’ll reach a more established path, turning right to climb up to the edge of Crosland Heath Golf Course. You’ll cross about four fairways, so beware of flying golf balls! As well as being designed by Alistair MacKenzie [designer of over 50 courses, of which 3 were still in the world’s top 10 in 2016], the views from the course make it incredibly popular.

Reaching the road at the far side, turn left and walk alongside the road on a path until seeing a distinct pathway opposite [GR SE 110 140]. Cross the road and follow the path; it takes you behind the caravans and eventually brings you out behind the Sands House pub. Turning right, the pathway mirrors the road, until the road makes a distinct turn to the right, and you turn to the left, following another clear track surrounded by quarries. It turns right, then

meets a path junction, where you turn left to meet a minor road alongside a patch of woodland. To your right there’s a stile, inviting you to follow a pathway across fields [GR SE 119 139], then following the stone wall, hopping over stiles and meeting a farm; whereby we met a rather fierce looking guard dog; who was actually very friendly. Looking around, you will see Castle Hill; an iconic landmark of the area, or more correctly known as the Victoria Tower, atop Castle Hill. The hilltop has been settled for at least 4000 years, with evidence remaining of an Iron Age hillfort, a 12th century motte and bailey castle and even a deserted medieval village.

We continued right along the track back to meet another minor road. As the road sharply bends, follow the waymarked bridleway on the right-hand side. This will reach another footpath junction where you turn left to follow “Turbid Lane”, crossing a road and following a farm track. Beware; this part of the walk is almost knee-deep in cow poo! You can trace the very edge of the track to avoid the worst of it; and where the track divides, follow the right-

hand track. Instead of wading through the dung, you can walk along the top of the woodland, to meet the Meltham Way at GR SE 111 122. The path splits again, you take the right-hand passage, through a gate, along the edge of a field until meeting another stile. Keep going; you reach a stony track, turn right to follow it to meet a minor road; cross that and continue ahead and you will climb gently to find yourself back at the periphery of the Blackmoorfoot

Reservoir.

Therefore, next weekend, when at a loose end; don’t bother with the car, take a walk from your doorstep and you’ll be surprised at what you can discover. You’ll return home feeling a warm glow of satisfaction and comfort.