From West Vale to Norland Moor
This week's 7.5-mile route demonstrates there are always new paths to discover, even in areas you have frequently walked before, writes Caroline Spalding.
We began from Brig Royd car park in West Vale; HX4 8AL, GR SE 097 213 which is free on a Sunday. Initially follow the B6112 towards Holywell Green, pass under the railway bridge and then turn right off the main road at a way-marked path into a cul-de-sac called Little Bradley.
Bear left just before the green metal fenced yard where the path splits. Cross some fields, at the farm continue ahead to take the second right-hand lane; soon entering woodland and following the brook bubbling beneath. You emerge at a demolished factory and continue onto tarmac, bearing left and then left again up the steps into the trees again.
You arrive at Bradley Hall golf course and walk towards the clubhouse. It’s not particularly clear where the paths are so orientate yourself using the map.
You want the path bearing directly south from the clubhouse, climbing slightly before a sharper ascent at the edge of the course. A signpost warns of the perils of flying golf balls and then you ascend to the right, quickly gaining height.
Don’t turn left at the first opportunity; when the path subsequently forks, do go left and you will enter a former quarry. Across the quarry, take the right-hand lower pathway which curves around the bend of the landscape through more woodland.
Leaving the trees behind at a metal gate and stile; ahead is a great view of a lesser-known but wonderful valley in which to walk.
At the first way-marker, hop over the stile to the right and meander diagonally across the field, passing a derelict property on the left and reaching the road at the corner of the next field. Head right along the road and descend through Beestonley to meet Barkisland Mill at the bottom.
Turn right onto Branch Road and at the first property boundary wall; pass through a wooden gate to follow the way-marked path ‘Sandyfoot Clough.’ A wonderful, gentle ascent beneath the trees.
Close to the top, climb the stile to your left but then continue as before along the left-hand side of the fence. You will reach a track that crosses the top of the clough and take the right-hand way-marked path to climb across the field to the road.
Turn left then follow the way marker right across a field of cows towards the electricity pylon. Pass through the gap in the wall next to the property and walk to meet Greetland Road. Continue ahead along the driveway of the property opposite [Abbots Royd] then the path leaves the tarmac to cross a few fields to meet Scammonden Road. Turn right to pass the caravan park and at the periphery of Norland Moor, you need to join the Calderdale Way.
Not initially clear but you’ll soon see a way-marker.
Norland Moor is a great space to wander and Calderdale Council has recently issued a draft management plan of the moorland for the next 10 years. A [very long!] document is available online for members of the public to submit their comment [deadline October 5]. The consultation document states that the vision for Norland Moor is that it will be “a cherished open and semi-natural landscape, which supports a diversity of habitats and richness of wildlife, and offers a rewarding recreational experience and quiet enjoyment to visitors” and the document also contains interesting information about the land, the wildlife, the topography and its history.
It can be read online at https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/sites/default/files/norland-moor-draft-management-plan-2018-28.pdf
The remainder of the route is entirely along the Calderdale Way; crossing Norland Moor and reaching a lane. Go right around the bend in the road, then left from the road across fields. It is relatively straightforward but do take note that the OS Maps do not accurately reflect the Calderdale Way at the last section.
Reaching a lane, turn right and then left again to continue along a pathway with a steep drop to your left. One reaching a set of steps, descend left into North Dean Woods and the route returns you to the start by way of Clay House.