This 7.5-mile walk incorporates exposed moorland, dramatic views and intimate woodland valleys with a river meandering through its bottom, writes Caroline Spalding. Starting from the Mytholmroyd Community Centre car park [HX7 5AF - an honesty box asks for a donation], climb the steps out of the car park to join Thrush Hill Road. Turn left, walk under the railway and follow the road as it curves to the right, becoming Nest Lane.
Ahead there is a way-marked path leaving the road on the left, initially concrete, shortly giving way to track.
You begin a relatively short but steep ascent. Continue straight ahead, follow the wall and then enter a small woodland.
Reaching the top of the trees, curve to the right and trace the edge of the trees. Keep going forwards, the path is clearly trodden and soon enough up ahead you will see the tip of Stoodley Pike appear.
At this point you can orientate yourself as you will, more-or-less, be aiming towards Stoodley Pike.
You’ll see on the map a number of paths, so you will get there either way! As soon as Stoodley pokes up on the horizon, the land becomes more rugged, the path less clear and the ground somewhat soggy.
However, it must be a popular path, and you can navigate yourself by way of the trodden ground.
Continue towards the Pike; you reach a stone wall alongside which runs a distinct track and on which is a gated stile.
Don’t climb over the stile, instead turn left and follow the wall for a while.
You reach a junction of many paths; here there is a gate and various way-markers.
We passed through the gate on our right and descended slightly, following another well-traversed path.
You see several homes up ahead and another track, to your right, marked on the map as Kilnshaw Lane.
Meeting the lane, there are way-markers for the Pennine Bridleway.
Continue forward towards the buildings, following the Pennine Bridleway, then turn left to follow the Pennine Way to the summit. From here, you simply cannot get lost!
Stoodley Pike, initially completed after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 to commemorate the surrender of Paris to the allies, but rebuilt after collapse [due to lightning strikes and weathering] slightly further from the edge of the hill in 1856 is my ‘icon’ of Calderdale – you can climb its dark staircase to take a look from its balcony – but do expect strong winds! You can shelter for a coffee break around its base.
From here, follow the Pennine Way south along the ridge – there is a steep descent to your right.
The path is clear, with cairns marking the way. Soon enough you reach a clear junction, indicating the Calderdale Way going off to your left.
From this point you will follow the Calderdale Way [clearly marked] all the way to Cragg Vale itself.
Withins Clough Reservoir soon comes into view, a body of water beautifully surrounded by a myriad of colours – brown, ochre, varying shades of green.
There is a small woodland just above the reservoir, you pass this and join the edge of the reservoir.
Continue at the car park along the lower, right hand-side road and you’ll come into Cragg Vale itself, past Cragg Vale Hall.
There are several information boards – the Cragg Vale Heritage trail – one of which sits here with information about the Hinchcliffe family who occupied the Hall in the 1800s – thought as tyrants by some due to the long hours children would work in the mills – you’ll pass a couple more information boards en route back to Mytholmroyd.
Just beyond the pub, there is path turning off to the left.
From here, follow the river, crossing several times, following ‘official’ and ‘permissive’ paths back to Mytholmroyd.
Re-join and follow the road – marked Dauber Bridge on the map.
Turn left at the art gallery, re-join Thrush Hill Road and you’ll be back at the beginning once again.
Join Calderdale Ramblers on April 8th at 10.30am to enjoy this wonderful route!