40 things: Walkies (part one of hopefully many), Hebden Bridge to Haworth.

Caldedale and Worth Valley

One of my 40whilst40 is to “go for a walk somewhere nice and hilly” which is, I’ll be honest, a bit woolly. I try to go walking a few times a year – my default walk is between Airedale and Wharfedale, which takes in a nice couple of hills and has train stations and tearooms and uless I go totally off-piste usually pegs in at 10 miles or so – but I had a few days off werk, so thought I could take something new, which involved navigation and not just walking up a hill and then picking a route down to somewhere with buildings. Optimistically I thought I could tackle the 18-miler Marsden to Hebden Bridge route, but for the first walk of the year I was encouraged to find something a bit shorter, with jump-off points should stuff go a bit wrong.

Caldedale and Worth Valley

Enter my old friend Chris, who is doing a thousand miles before he hits 40. He had walked from Hebden Bridge to Keighley – Calderdale to Airedale via the Worth Valley – last year, and I thought this sounded like a fun walk. I could always jump off onto the KWVR (but it turned out not to be running) if things got too much. After digging out OL21 a slightly different walk suggested itself, though Hardcastle Crags and around a hill, past a waterfall, over a moor, up a track, and then down along the river between Oxenhope and Haworth, and if I felt like could carry on to Keighley.

Caldedale and Worth Valley

The first problem was, of course, finding a route out of Hebden Bridge to Hardcastle Crags. There are just so many it’s very easy to get a bit lost. The usual route goes through someones pegged-out laundry, if it’s a nice day. But I did manage to find my way thanks to a very nice lady who was stood at a turn-off as if her job is to give directions to lost walkers, and I spotted some archers on the valley floor far below me as I tried to work out which one of the close together dotted green lines I was actually on. A really nice walk through the Crags estate on glorious sun-dappled paths, with a small diversion at the NT cotton mill, ended with the first proper hill up to Walshaw past a marked waterfall. I like a good waterfall and a good bit of woodland, but this was one time I would have liked to see a bit of clearance so the waterfall could be seen and not just heard.

Caldedale and Worth Valley

Much of the middle bit of the walk was in the clear; high, blue skies with little fluffy clouds (I soon shed my top jumper and didn’t take my coat out of my bag all day) across moorland, with views across Calderdale until I got to the top of the Walsaw & Lancashire Moor when I could see down into the Worth Valley and look at wind turbines and field boundaries and Keighley and Rombolds Moor in the distance. I laughed when coming over the top. There was a little section of wall, all by itself with no rhyme nor reason as to why it was there; I do love a bit of drystone wall, though. Along the way were a few wrong turns – one particularly confusing sign of a hiker in a circle/slash made me follow a path that wasn’t a path for a few hundred yards instead of going over a wall and across a field – but generally this was pretty clear going.

Caldedale and Worth Valley

Descending into the Worth Valley at Oxenhope was lovely; a peculiar walled track that went around a hill marked “Stones” on the map, a reservoir in the distance, avoiding the Millennium Way circular walks that aren’t on the OL21 I had with me and a footpath that took me through some very well-maintained gardens were well worth seeing, especially in the sun. The path took me past a church and a lot of roadworks, as this was now Tour de Yorkshire territory and it wouldn’t do for the roads to be poorly-surfaced for the cream of the bicycle world to traverse. I went a bit wrong in Oxenhope, because as much as I love OS maps they don’t have a zoom function and a lot of information is crammed into tiny spaces in towns, but not to worry; I found the river path to Haworth without drama and ended up in Bronte country about four and a half hours after I set off.

Caldedale and Worth Valley

And here, I’m afraid, I bailed out. I had done 12 miles according to the GPS and I knew that the walk to Keighley would either be very dull or very hilly. I was stood at a bus stop pondering what to do – and wondering why Haworth reeked of poorly-maintained water treatment works – when a bus showed up, so I jumped on.

So I got my first walk of the year done. Because of “40 things: take some landscape photos” I was planning on taking some photos but didn’t take my Nikon out of my bag all day, all these were taken with my phone. Funny how that worked out.

This entry was posted in 40things, photo stuff, walking, yorkshire and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 40 things: Walkies (part one of hopefully many), Hebden Bridge to Haworth.

  1. dakegra says:

    Sounds like a grand day out. I love the random bit of dry stone wall too!

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