This week’s walk, courtesy of www.casualramblers.co.uk, is a four-mile round walk from the library at Mytholmroyd taking in the local moorland and woods.
This round walk takes in a variety of habitats, including woodlands and moorlands that within easy reach of Mytholmroyd Library. There are some very steep ascents and descents and some of the paths can be slippery in wet and icy conditions.
Start at the entrance to Mytholmroyd Library on Cragg Road. Turn left and cross Cragg Road and following it for approximately 170m to the junction with Stocks Lane on the right. Go up Stocks Lane and take the next left on to Nest Lane. Follow Nest Lane for 130m and turn left between Rose Mount and The Nook up Daisy Bank.
After houses the track becomes an unsurfaced path and leads through woodland and a bracken glade. Trees that can be seen here include wild cherry, sycamore, horse chestnut, hornbeam and goat willow. The path now rises steeply uphill. To the left is a sign for conservation walks. The fields here are unimproved acid grassland which support a great variety of flowers, fungi, mosses. In autumn look out for brightly coloured waxcap fungi. In summer various species of butterfly can be abundant here.
Continue uphill between the fields until reaching a stile before a small conifer plantation. This wood was planted in 1965 with pine and larch. Very little grows beneath the dense shade and acid litter of fallen needles, but a number of different species of fungi grow in association with the trees including the bright red fly agaric. The path continues to rise steeply along the edge of the wood, along some old holly trees – remnants of a neglected hedge. Holly was often grown as a source of winter fodder for livestock.
The path soon leaves the wood and crosses a field. Continue along this field keeping the wood to the right and stone wall on the left. You are now on Erringden Moor. Most of the Moor is Access Land. A suggested route to Broadhead Clough is to follow this path until the wall on the right turns sharply to the right and to head across the moor following the line of an old wall. This route can be extremely wet so care must be taken. The moorland vegetation is dominated by tussocks of purple moor grass which can be difficult to negotiate. Look out for the pink-flowered cross-leaved heath – a type of heather that thrives in wet acid bogs.
The path eventually arrives at the Broadhead Clough. Look for the footpath sign on the left. The path is narrow and winds along a steep slope to a stile and the entrance to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve. The wood is the best example of a clough or valley woodland in Calderdale and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The woodland is dominated by sessile oak and birch on drier ground. In the past many of trees would have been coppiced (i.e. cut to the base for a renewable source of wood) particularly to provide wood for charcoal burning). Look out for woodcock and listen out for the plaintive call of willow warbler in the summer.
Wet woodland, dominated by alder, has developed in places and there are bogs with Sphagnum mosses. Be careful not to stray into these areas as the wet peat is very deep. The woodland is home to at least 114 species of flowering plants, 65 species of moss and liverwort which thrive in the damp conditions, and 165 species of fungi.
Downy birch also grows in the wetter parts of the wood. A fine example can be seen on the left near after the path has level out near the bottom of the wood where it is found in the company of purple Devil’s–bit scabious flowers in late summer.
Follow the path as it winds down through the woods, until reaching an information board. Take the path to the right (with your back to the information board, out of the woods to a farmhouse after approx. 80m. As the path continues along the hillside it runs along a steep earth bank on the right hand side and a stone wall on the left. During the early autumn, you may see brightly coloured, but poisonous fly agaric mushrooms growing amongst the exposed roots of the silver birch trees on the bank.
Cross the stile and continue for a short while along the edge of field keeping a fence on the left until reaching a gate. Take the track down the hill as it bears left and past Higher Cragg. Just by the farmhouse on the right go through a gate and take the footpath down the hill, through a steep hollow lane with steep banks and old trees. Towards the bottom of the lane the path becomes very wet and slippery in places. At the end of the path keep to the left and go through a gate by a splendid hazel bush, where the path rejoins the lane by another house.
Continue forward down the lane which veers left after 250 yards. Cragg Vale and the river are now on you right, looking down the hill. The bank down to the river is covered with Himalayan balsam. This invasive species can grow up to 2m tall and produces prolific pink flowers and abundant seeds from explosive pods, aiding its spread along rivers and streams in Calderdale. Follow the lane down to Clough Foot Bridge to cross the river. Pause here a while and look out for dippers – the characteristic bird of fast-flowing streams of the Pennines, as it hunts for invertebrates in the river bed.
Carry on up the path until reaching the road (B6138) after 75m. After carefully crossing the road look follow the look for the footpath starting with a ladder of a few steps set into the low wall by the pavement. The path goes along the edge of gardens below trees and then into Dean Hey. It can be difficult to find, but if you continue straight up the hill you will eventually find a well defined path running in a north/south direction. Turn left at the junction (i.e. head north) and follow the path through beech woodland. It is cool and shaded in the summer below the beech and very little grows under the dense shade.
The path emerges from the woods after about 300m. Follow it between stone walls for approx. 170m until reaching a farmyard. At the farmyard bear left and follow tarmac lane for another 260m to a junction with Stake Lane. Enjoy the fine views across Mytholmroyd before turning left and following Stake Lane between the hedgerows and houses, keeping right on to Hall Bank Lane.
Turn left at the end of Hall Bank Lane onto Scout Road and left again on to Cragg Road and Mytholmroyd library.