This week’s walk, courtesy of Caroline Spalding of Calderdale Ramblers, is a seven mile route starting from Hebden Bridge town centre.
As it was my birthday recently, I fancied combining the two things I adore – Hebden and walking – and I decided on a new route which did not disappoint. This walk, approx. 7 miles long, would be great throughout the year as a lot is very easy underfoot, so unlikely to be difficult in the winter months. You experience the beauty of the valleys, the colours of the landscape and riverside walking.
Beginning from the town centre, make your way to the Town Hall, turning right and heading along Valley Road, turning into Victoria Road, Palestine Road, Foster Lane until finally, at the end of Spring Grove, you will reach a footbridge. From here, the walk continues to the Hardcastle Crags car park at New Bridge. We crossed the river, continued along the riverside path before climbing up stone steps and rising above the river, still roughly following the watercourse. You will walk beneath a small woodland before bumping into the Calderdale Way. Descending back towards the river, you will arrive at The Blue Pig, the Working Mens’ Club at Midgeholes. Again, cross the river and you’ll meet the road, with the car park close by. To your left there is a clearly way-marked path. Take this around the car park and it is a tarmacked track which begins a long climb up the valley side. You’ll pass several National Trust holiday cottages and as said, it is a long steady climb. A bench halfway is a good coffee stop, looking down into the valley beneath. As you ascend, turn back to see Stoodley Pike and watch as weather blows in down the valley, on this particular day it looked rather ominous and I was glad to be walking away from it! You’ll get a real sense of the incline of the valley as you see the trees clinging to the slopes and still you are looking down on even the tallest.
Keep climbing, heading straight forward and you’ll pass beneath Abel Cross; to see the stones it is only a short diversion from the route. Dating back to post-mediaeval times, these wayside crosses served both to reinforce the Christian faith in travellers, but also as way-markers, or boundary markers.
Shortly after passing a large, but remote farm on the hillside, there’s a path descending to your right. Follow this down, it is marked Sunny Bank on the map. As it flattens at the bottom, there’s another path to your right, which you will take, but first, turn left and you’ll see Lumb Hole Waterfall which feeds into Crimsworth Dean Beck, which runs through this valley. Looking online, it would appear this is a popular spot for wild swimming, and it is certainly beautiful, with lots of little waterfalls feeding the brown pool beneath; but I didn’t really fancy a swim at that point in time. Beyond the falls there is a beautiful packhorse bridge, but at this point we turned back to take the path we had just passed. This route meanders back down Crimsworth Dean, climbing ever so slightly; however you don’t gain much height, evident to us by the clear absence of wind, whereas we’d been blown sideways along the top path.
You’ll reach a large property, beyond which the woodland begins. Just after the building, descend to your left back down towards the river, across a field and entering woodland. Cross at the footbridge and climb slightly. You’ll meet another unexpected property and take the way-marked path to your right through the wooden gate. At this point I descended knee deep into the boggy ground, so watch your step! Up ahead we paused for a picnic lunch, perched on top of a convenient rock, enjoying the peace of the valley.
Up ahead you re-enter woodland; consulting the map, Middle Dean Wood has a couple of paths through it, but we simply followed the yellow arrows painted on the trees. Deeper into the woodland it was awash with bluebells and the faint smell of wild garlic identified the other pretty white flowers that grew in abundance. When in full flower, the plant is actually past its best; it is the end of the season, so these specimens have escaped foragers this year. You can consult the National Trust website for good places to forage for wild garlic, as well as giving advice on identifying it; as it is similar to Lily of the Valley, which is highly poisonous!
You will come to a wall, where the woodland continues to your left, but with a meadow to your right. Hop over the wall and descend across the meadow. You will reach a road; turn right and you’ll arrive back at the car park entrance. Cross the river again back towards the Blue Pig, follow the way-marked riverside path back towards Hebden Bridge; looking out for wildlife as you go along.