If this week you fancy a walk that isn’t too short, but also not demanding and easy to navigate; traversing moorland and taking in views stretching right to the horizon all round, then this is one for you, writes Caroline Spalding.
I originally walked this route several years ago with the Calderdale Ramblers and pinched the very apt title of this walk from the leader, Judy. You start already at almost 380m above sea level and along this route you can, on a clear day, see as far as the Long Mynd in Shropshire; which gives you a sense of the views to be expected.
Beginning from the car park beneath the White House pub on the A58 between Ripponden and Littleborough [OL15 0LG]; it is a walk that could be done without a map as you follow primarily the Pennine Way and latterly the permissive footpath waymarked ‘Reservoir Circular.’ As with many places in Calderdale; this area is awash with footpaths scribbling across the landscape and therefore this particular 8-mile route can be extended or curtailed as you see fit. Above the pub there is a clear way marker for the Pennine Way. Follow this gravelled track away from the road, along the edge of Blackstone Edge Reservoir and continuing along. Views of the moorland hills that surround Todmorden are up ahead; you see the windmills decorating the hilltops to your left and it is along this path that you might glimpse Shropshire. You will pass one of the poet Simon Armitage’s Stanza Stones [The Rain Stone] – there are 6 carved stones bearing poems stretching from Marsden to Ilkley.I’ve mentioned the views and certainly would recommend a fine day for this ramble; however, the moorland can be enjoyed all year round as the colours shift subtly with the seasons and indeed the light from the sky. Currently the predominant hues range from the deepest chocolate-browns, with hints of mahogany through to pale yellows reminiscent of straw. There are impressive rock boulders sitting atop the moorland as you follow the loop of this walk, always just beneath the summit of the moorland.
Currently there is maintenance work taking place at Warland Reservoir and the path is redirected to follow the opposite bank of the reservoir. The information boards suggest this is a project that should be completed by the end of the winter; that said, it is a lovely new path for those accustomed to the usual route.
At the far end of Warland Reservoir continue to follow the Pennine Way as it turns towards Stoodley Pike. Parts of the path here are paved so it remains easy underfoot. At GR SD 964 219 there is a clear way marker indicating the Pennine Way continuing towards Stoodley; but instead go right to follow the permissive path ‘Reservoir Circular.’ The path meanders towards Turley Holes and Higher House Moor which is the area that has had a lot of conservation work carried out by the MoorLIFE programme as detailed on the information boards at the start of this route. Withins Clough Reservoir comes into view and just beneath Birds Nest Hill there is a lovely set of boulders to perch on for a coffee or lunch stop looking across the straw-coloured fields towards Stoodley Pike. At Cloven Stone you turn away from Stoodley as you begin the final few miles of this beautiful route. You will find yourself following a reservoir drain that leads you to White Holme Reservoir. The path continues along the periphery of the reservoir. Note the landscape to your left as it makes a sudden decline into Little Moor Clough which in turn becomes Turvin Clough which [in theory as this is open-access land] could be followed all the way back towards Cragg Vale. Instead at one corner of the reservoir, where you could turn left towards Turvin Road, or right to meet the Pennine Way once again, we instead followed an indistinct path close to the electricity pylons and a way marker displaying the open access logo.
This climbs over Byron Edge and the descent towards Blackstone Edge Reservoir is clear; where you see the roof of the pub and indeed the car park from which you began this delightful ramble.