Hiking the hills above the Colne Valley

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One benefit of following a guided walk is the advantage of not having to rely on your own navigational skills; particularly when snow camouflages the trodden pathways. This past weekend I opted to take a 12-mile hike from Slaithwaite, HD7, joining the Huddersfield Ramblers, known for their more challenging walks. This route I’d recommend for more clement weather, or perhaps even breaking it into two 6-mile walks.

We started at Slaithwaite Railway station; descending to join the canal towpath just off New Street/Platt Lane. Leave the towpath at Titanic Mills, turn left to climb the road [Low Westwood Lane] passing under the railway bridge, then turning right off the road on a bend following a waymarked path; you descend to re-cross the railway, then turn left through a small woodland and then descending steps and going left under a viaduct. Climb up, following a ginnel signposted Golcar Lily Ginnel Trail, emerging next to Golcar Baptist Sunday School, up along Carr Top Lane and turning left onto Claywell; climbing gently through narrow streets into trees up onto hillside where you should pick up way markers for the CVCW. You’ll emerge onto Slades Lane, turn right, then left at road junction where ahead, on the right, there’s a way marker for a path climbing up from the road. Continue to follow the path broadly in a straight line, but it then does a 90-degree bend left just above woodland on right [Whitwam Bank on map, GR SE 094 163], heading towards buildings and eventually meeting Nettleton Hill Road where you turn left, follow the road, passing a house called The Croft, then taking the first waymarked left path. Cross School Road, then at Round Ings Road/Halifax Road, venture left for a while then turn right off the road at a waymarked bridleway, at the house named Thornber Bank [with electricity pylon close by].

Follow the bridleway, turning right again after 0.5km [GR SE 081 163], passing a ‘Wireless Station’ as defined by the map. Beyond that, you’ll turn left despite a path not marked on the map [GR SE 081 166]. You’ll follow the top of Wholestone Moor woodland, returning to meet Quebec Road, where turning right, you walk to the main road. Taking a path to the right of and then behind the Lower Royal George Pub, you are aiming towards the visible road bridge above the M62 close to Scammonden Reservoir. You’ll meet Hey Lane, then take Chapel Hill Lane to circle to meet Scammonden Reservoir. Descend via the path close to motorway and walk beneath the motorway to cross the reservoir, at the far side turning left to take the clear pathway. This lovely path climbs gently above the water with nice views through the trees. There are several routes around the reservoir, but we left the path to enter the church grounds; one of the few remaining buildings of the former village of Dean Head that was flooded for the construction of the reservoir and motorway in the 1960s. We climbed up a steep path behind the church to meet a bridleway at the top, turned left, joined a narrow road to descend again, curving around the end of the reservoir, crossing Black Burne Brook to join the Kirklees Way, passing the Sailing Club. Continue to follow the Kirklees Way, climbing through boggy fields to meet the main road [A640] at the very top. Turn left along the road, then cross the road and turn up a stony track to climb along one of my favourite paths leaving the Calder Valley behind you to reveal the Colne Valley unfolding ahead. Following the track marked Causeway [on the map], at a road junction, we took a path almost directly opposite, bearing slightly right towards Laund, with a deep wooded clough below. It descends to meet Intake Road, turn right on the road, climb slightly but continue ahead through the houses as the road does a sharp U-turn. You see a way marker for the CVCW pointing right, but go left instead and behind the buildings there’s a wonderful woodland stairway down towards the stream, bearing right towards Merry Dale Clough. The path leads to another house beyond which there’s another country lane. Turn left, and shortly afterwards there’s a clear path leading off to the right that will take you alongside Slaithwaite Reservoir until its dam wall, where turning left will take you to Bank Gate, from where a final descent takes to back to the heart of the village.