April Ambles



Sunday April 7th. Peter's Plod 'The Revival'.

17 miles from Haworth. Leader: Peter Haslam. 35 walkers and 4 dogs.


35 walkers and 4 dogs eventually gathered together in some sort of order.  It was like herding cats, with small groups parked in all corners of this small village.  To be fair the majority found the correct car park.

Bronté Falls was the first feature on the walk, at this catch up point a short history of the even shorter life spans of the six Bronté children was told.  A little heather bashing and snowfield crossing took us to Top Withins for morning coffee.  Much different from the recce a couple of weeks earlier when it was far too cold to sit outside.  Today the bitter east wind had abated and we squinted in the bright sunshine of a spring like morning.

The Pennine Way was followed past Walshaw Dean Middle, then Lower reservoirs, then a busy road section with snow piled high on each side took us to the head of the Hebden Valley.  A pleasant lunch spot was located with room for everyone to have a stone seat before a gentle stroll through the woods adjacent to Hebden Beck.

A short, sharp, steep climb out of the valley to Walshaw Hall and farm got the heart rate up and burned off a few calories, this climb now continued all the way to the strangely named Baby House Hill Lane.

A long pull up the tarmac lane to Top O’ Stairs brought us onto a long section of deep piled snow, at times completely blocking the sunken path.  The afternoon coffee stop was taken almost in sight of our objective for the day, The Fleece in Haworth and the most welcome drop of Timothy Taylor’s.  But first the little bump that is Penistone Hill had to be negotiated.

Thanks to all who came and my special thanks to June for being a very thorough back marker.



Dramatic SkylineSnowy pathAndy and Mike think of the Timothy TaylorsDescending into the valleyBarbara shows the way



Thanks to Gill,Peter and Andy for these pictures


Wednesday April 10th. Watergrove Wander.

13 miles from Watergrove. Leader: Don Watson. 23 walkers and 5 dogs.


Twenty three walkers and five dogs assembled at the car park at Watergrove Reservoir in favourable weather. After the mandatory group photo we set off round the reservoir embankment where name stones and stone window frames from the old Watergrove Village are set into the surrounding wall.


After finding the toilets at the activity centre were closed, (oh dear, points lost there), we then climbed steadily up to the Long Causeway led by Alistair who set a sprightly pace.


At the top of the first ascent we stopped to take in the views and our resident working party set about repairing the first of a number of fallen down footpath signs (I hope they now point the right way).


We then followed the Long Causeway, skirting Ramsden Hill towards Ramsden Wood, with views across the valley to Stoodley Pike. We were now in amongst quite deep snow which was still evident from end of March drifts.


We then took the path downwards to Ragby Bridge via the waterfalls and up to the farm at Foul Clough Road. The original route I had planned was to traverse Inchfield Pasture to Gorpley Clough but the recce proved the blanket of snow was covering a very boggy terrain so we carried on to a very steep descent down to Gauxholme where we met the Rochdale Canal and walked a mile or so along the tow path to Todmorden, passing a very impressive brick built retaining wall where folk were having a guess to how many bricks were in the wall.


We arrived at Todmorden and had lunch on the picnic tables outside the Golden Lion which is now closed and up for sale due to being flooded in last year’s wet summer. I clawed some points back due to the comfortable lunch spot by the canal which set us up for the steepest climb of the day up the Calderdale Way. We passed the Shrewbread Quaker Burial Ground on our way up to the Pennine Bridleway where walking became easier on the causey stones which led us eventually back to the Rochdale Canal at Bottomley where we met up again with Neil, Paul and Jeanette who had decided to take the low-level route on the tow path from our lunch spot. This was sanctioned due to it being Neil’s birthday.


We then left the canal and walked to the Steanor Bottom Toll House at the bottom of Calderbrook Road. After reading the toll information which is engraved in the wall we climbed again on tarmac, but without traffic problems, as the road has been closed due to subsidence.


Still on the Pennine Bridleway we walked through Higher Calderbrook passing the trout farm and onwards to our final stop for refreshments at Stone Pits with fine views of the Pennines and Littleborough. More signpost repairs were then undertaken by foreman Norman and his gang. We then leisurely walked the final couple of miles back to Watergrove passing through the delightfully peaceful memorial garden just above the reservoir. I think we all had an enjoyable walk with good company and ideal walking weather. Thanks to all who attended my first East Lancs walk and a speedy recovery to those who couldn’t make it due to ill health. Thanks also to Hilary for her photographic log of the day.


Don Watson

Pictures by Don, Mark and Hilary.



Wednesday 24th April, Gargrave in Reverse


13miles. Leader Jim Ogden.14 walkers & 2 dogs


Weather Mild & Dry

The last time I led this walk was in 2010, so this time I decided to do it in reverse. We set off from the car park in North Street, crossed over the A65 and the River Aire then turned left at St Andrews Church. We proceeded down the country lane for a quarter of a mile and then over a stile into the fields; the railway line was on our left hand side and we walked over a few fields until we came to a railway bridge. We went under the bridge and headed for Copy Hill, around the hill and headed for Inghey Bridge. We went across two fields and reached a stile to take us over the A59; from there we walked on a tarmac country lane for about a mile passing through Funkirk and stopping in a picnic area for our mid morning stop.


After the break we headed off down the lane towards Carleton -in- Craven. Just before reaching there we turned off right and walked over the fields passing Pasture House and Yellison House and then dropping down to Smearber Farm and the lane down to Elslack for our lunch time stop.


After lunch we left Elslack, passing the hall and headed for Thornton in Craven. This took us on the old Roman Road down in to Thornton in Craven where we then picked up the Pennine Way. We passed Merlinwood and Langber until we reached the Leeds and Liverpool canal. Here we had our afternoon stop and then we headed down the canal under the bridge at East Marton and over Williamson Bridge into fields, passing Newton Grange Farm on our right hand side and over Moorber Hill and Scaleber before we arrived back near St Andrews Church in Gargrave and then on to the car park. After the Walk most of us finished the walk off in the Tempest Arms at Elslack.



Thanks to Don and Howard for the pictures



Sunday April 28th. On the Trail of the Cistercians.

20 miles from Downham. Leader: Linda Glover. 14 walkers.


I hope those monks had waterproof habits if they had to endure the weather that we did on this walk! It rained and it rained and it rained. So a walk featuring some of the best views Lancashire has to offer had visibility of about fifty yards. But I think it shows what a good route Linda came up with (ably assisted by the holidaying Diane and Kathleen) that we still all thoroughly enjoyed it – soaking though we were!


Our base was the beautiful village of Downham and as we gathered in the car park so did the black clouds over Pendle Hill! As we set off so did those clouds and they settled right over our heads where they remained for the rest of the day as they happily dispensed of their liquid burden on our heads! It started raining ten minutes into the walk and it stopped ten minutes after we finished!


An hour and a half in we had an early coffee break but you can’t go past the wondrous ruins of Sawley Abbey without paying a visit and spending some time there. Still marvelling at how clever those monks must have been we headed for Bolton-by-Bowland and on to Slaidburn for our lunchtime stop in the little kiddies park there.


Linda’s return route in was along the lovely Coal Pit Lane and Howgill Lane back to warm and dry of our cars – thank goodness!


John Bullen


PS Linda came up with this route from scratch and it was credit to her, it really was. Well done Linda!




Thanks to John Bullen for the photos.