Where paths converge at the Great Rock
This week's six mile route is perfect for an afternoon stroll, writes Caroline Spalding. Beginning from Todmorden Town Hall, walk past the market to turn onto Stansfield Road, following it past Claremont Place before crossing the railway and continuing [right] along Stansfield Hall Road, past the Hall of the same name; built in 1640 for James Stansfield and extended in 1862 in a '˜Gothic Revival' style.
Where the road bends, take the track labelled unsuitable for vehicles and meeting a wooden gate, go left, passing the house and making the steep climb uphill. Pause to take in the views unfolding behind you. At the top, turn left and where a bridleway goes left, instead turn right [next to the Golf Club]. Follow the path across and alongside the golf course, passing Rive Rocks. On the course itself is an ancient circular cairn; known as Blackheath Circle, or “Frying Pan Circle”.
You meet the Calderdale Way [CW] and continue in roughly the same direction. You follow the CW all the way to Great Rock. It meets a road, turns left, then right at West Hey Head Farm; you walk through the farm yard where you’ll see geese, a wallaby and deer. Pass behind the farmhouse, cross two fields and then enter moorland. There are a number of very rickety stiles along this piece of the walk and it is very muddy underfoot! Having made the climb; this section of moorland is relatively flat, hence the large number of farms that decorate the landscape.
The CW meets the Todmorden Centenary Way and the two paths continue together to Great Rock - an unusually knobbly gritstone with many initials carved into its face. Also known as Devil’s Rock; apparently the Devil’s hoof mark can be seen on its top.
Descend by way of the bridleway towards Upper Eastwood. Many of the houses here were home to farmers who also weaved, and the larger building often contained big looms. This duel economy developed in the 15th century as a result of the difficulty surviving primarily on farming. The homes were built by Yeoman; a social status denoting the rank beneath a gentleman. You reach a large pond; filled by Staups Dam higher on the hillside and which powered the mill beneath. Above the water, turn right to take a path across several fields and passing behind a row of cottages; at the end of which turn left. Church House here was apparently a meeting house for Nonconformists.
You pass a house named Mount Pleasant and continue down a tarmac lane also passing Lower East Lee. At the sign for Pextenement Farm [which makes organic cheese] turn right leaving the tarmac, traverse a field and descend toward the sound of running water, where indeed there is a footbridge across the small stream. The path bears left, ignore the way-marker pointing right and progress straight ahead; aiming towards Stoodley Pike on the opposite hillside. You curve around the field edge and join a gravelled path leading past The Chapel House. Turn left and walk between more houses and then go through a gap in the wall; with a church building visible ahead. Soon the canal, main road and railway become visible whilst you follow the wall with a steep drop to your left. You meet a bridleway on a paved driveway and then almost immediately follow the bridleway again left [it is way-marked]. You will come to a road at Bean Hole Head; a listed building dated 1638. Turn left along the road and you see a graveyard above you. Just before the former Cross Stone Church you see the remains of the community stocks used for punishment by way of public humiliation.
Just after the church, turn left down a waymarked path, passing beneath the church, then turning right, almost back on yourself past a row of cottages known as Little Cornwall.
Turn left at a way-marker leaving the track and you come to Broadstone Street. Turning left again at the road junction onto Cross Stone Road; this descends to the main road. We finished by returning along Hallroyd Road and Crescent and following the cycle track alongside the river to take you back to the marketplace.