Beautiful pathways to Barkisland
Ripponden is a wonderful place to begin a walk and usually, I venture towards the moorland rising above the town. This 7-mile route goes the opposite way, towards Triangle & Sowerby Bridge, and shows just how close the settlements of this part of Calderdale are to one another. Beginning from Mill Fold Lane car park [GR SE 040 196, postcode HX6 4HS] walk towards the main road, crossing it to pick up a path opposite, descending the steps in front of a large building with black window frames. Cross the yard and begin to climb before following the lane signposted Hanging Stones Lane. Tarmac gives way to stony ground, entering woodland. To your left, you will rise above the disused railway line; as you leave Ripponden behind you’ll pass a railway footbridge and eventually you’ll reach an isolated house, deep into the woodland [SE 046 212]. Pass by the house then turn sharply to the right, beginning the ascent from the dell, following a curved wall. Emerging above the trees, you’ll pass way markers indicating the Calderdale Way to your right, along which you’ll later return to the start. The land flattens, the track turns into a tarmac driveway [Highlee Flat on the map]. You emerge onto Butterworth-End Lane and a caravan park. Turn left on the road and you’ll reach Norland Moor. Immediately behind the wall enclosing the caravan park join the moor by way of an ascending track. Ignore the gate marking the Bridleway to Garden Lane and walk diagonally left up to the top, meeting the corner of a stone boundary. Take the path adhering to the wall continuing in a straight line for 1km across the moorland. At the end, turn right along the track which emerges next to the Spring Rock pub at the junction of the B6113 and Norland Road. Facing the junction, take the waymarked path on the right-hand side of the road. Passing along the edge of the field; you’ll see a passageway flanked by two stone walls; it bends to the left, then down steps along the edge of more rugged woodland. Turn right on the track at the bottom [SE 068 210], then take the path marked on the left, across some boggy fields and stiles marked on the map as Greetland Wall Nook. You reach another track, turning left to pass a large house and descending to meet Saddleworth Road next to a bus stop. Turn right, then there’s a path [on left] following the edge of fields until at the bottom you turn right, passing under foliage and then a gate, crossing another field to meet Branch Road at the bottom. Turn right and cross the road; at the end of the terrace houses pass through a gap in the wall skirting the perimeter of a garden descending to meet the Black Brook. Follow the river upstream to the houses [Lower & Upper Bank House], turning right on Beestonley Lane towards Barkisland Mill. Turn left at the cross roads, where the sign indicates the recycling plant and almost immediately there is a path to your right which climbs up the bank. Towards the top, pass through the fence turning left, the path curves to the right to meet a lane across a stile, which you follow up past Sourdock Hill Farm. At the top of the track there is a way marker indicating Barkisland Village on the right. This descends into Barkisland Clough and climbs to meet Stainland Road. Here, along the road to the right, is Barkisland Hall. However, this route turns left, crosses the road and takes a track on the right to meet Sandyfoot Clough. A short, steep climb from the clough returns you to Saddleworth Road. Looking left, you’ll see a way marker. Follow this up past the electricity pylon, ‘hop over the wall’ of a garden and walk the driveway of the houses to meet another road. Directly ahead is another way marker, again walk up a driveway [Abbots Royd] follow the way markers to cross another boggy field to meet once again Butterworth End Lane. Return via the same track from which you emerged onto the road, and descend. Turn left at the Calderdale Way signpost – following the track named Moor Bottom Road, turn right at the main road taking the steep road descending marked Calderdale Way which gives a welcoming descent back to the start.