After a bit of a break, I came back to continuing the Wild Yorkshire Way route. Picking up the route in Marsden on this beautiful – truly glorious sunny weather – morning (it got cloudier around midday), I set out on the route. Marsden is a gorgeous place – ten minutes from the station and one is very quickly in lovely and peaceful countryside.
The route that day was almost only on Pennine Way. In fact, look at this tour of mine from a few years back – that day, I did a considerably longer distance (over 25 miles) in what was truly scorching summer heat, between Standedge and Ponden. This tour here was a mere 16.6 miles from Standedge to Hebden Bridge (and the weather was cooler!), a little more. It is simply that a part of the Wild Yorkshire Way follows the Pennine Way for a bit, but will depart from it after a while.
From Marsden, Pennine Way (and Wild Yorkshire Way) was about 3.5 miles’ walk. Immediately from the train station, the connecting route took me first along Huddersfield Narrow Canal, and very quickly River Colne. Just 0.75 miles in, this kind of thing starts:
Past a tiny hamlet of Lower Hey Green and then some more along River Colne, after about 1.5 miles from the start, the buildings are left behind the walker and one comes to a bridge over the river (seen in the first photo below), where it veers away from the river to west across the moors for the next 2 miles towards Huddersfield Road (where I rejoined Pennine Way). There is a short, steep ascent immediately near the river and then a more gentle walk in the vicinity of a number of cloughs. As you can see, the skies were blue and the views stunning, particularly looking back towards Marsden and its surrounding countryside. Please see the photos below from this part of the walk.
Upon reaching and crossing Huddersfield Road, the Pennine Way trail takes the walker in the north-western direction. It is about 2 miles from here to the next road to cross (Ripponden Road). For the most part, there is an easy path here on slabs of rock but with some muddy parts, which could be difficult immediately after rainy weather. It’s quite grassy and rough terrain around. I sat down near this unnamed (at least on my map) pond about half the way between the two roads.- such a beautiful deep blue colour of these waters!
I won’t mention this again, but in many of the photos in this area you will see the city of Manchester and /or its surrounding settlements on the horizon – views of the city accompany the walker for at least 5 next miles. On a sunny day like that, it is rather picturesque.
The enormous motorway (M62) is just 5 minutes after crossing Ripponden Road – very noisy – but of interest is this bridge built for Pennine Way walkers over it.
Blackstone Edge (at 473m ) is just 1 mile north of M62. About half a mile away from the motorway, the annoying whining of the cars vanishes behind the walker and peace is restored (apologies for any car drivers – I walk for the quiet and the remote after all!). It is an easy walk and mostly leisurely ascent on paved ground (as you can see in the first picture). Closer to the peak of the hill, there are lots of interesting rocky formations with beautiful 360-degree views. You can see these below.
I arrived here just in time, it seemed, as grey clouds starter gathering and more cloudy weather would accompany me for the rest of the way, although no rain appeared (precisely as forecast). I stopped for a good few minutes at Blackstone Edge, chatting for a few minutes to a mountain cyclist who stopped there for his break. Having replenished my energy with some food and drink, I kept walking.
Less than half a mile from the hill, the route joins Old Packhorse Road (this is not an actual road, but a grassy track by now). Halfway towards it, I turned back for what I thought one of the most beautiful views I got on the day of this area. Love such wide spaces and vistas.
At Old Packhorse Road, I had travelled now for about 7.5 miles, so close to half the distance. Now the way descends towards another road, Halifax Road, crosses it and to continue on a wide and comfortable dirt road (which was popular with many local walkers on the day) past Blackstone Edge Reservoir, White Holme Reservoir and finally Warland Reservoir. I am always struck by how pretty reservoirs in Britain can be and how nature is allowed to grow around them.
Something else had struck me even more on that day, though. The previous time I was there, when walking Pennine Way those few years ago, the scorching weather over several weeks around that time dried up half the water in the reservoirs and they looked a sorry sight back then! Now so at this tour – full of water – rather well stocked. It was actually getting rather windy and cold and stopping resulted in almost instant chill – the higher ground but also the flat nature of this part of the walk means there is nowhere to hide here from the winds.
Now about 3 miles north-east to the famed Stoodley Pike near Hebden Bridge, and about 5 miles to my destination that day. It’s a moorland-based walk with a short ascent to the hill itself (it is at 402m). The Pike can be seen from far away and you can see it in many of the images below. To be precise, Stoodley Pike is the name of the hill, but it’s the Stoodley Pike Monument that can be seen from the distance!
Originally built in 1814 to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris, the monument collapsed in 1854, but was repaired in 1889 and has mostly survived intact despite numerous times it was struck by lightning.
After a few minutes on top (the wind was rather strong up here), having admired the beautiful panoramas here (see the first picture below), I descended (quite steeply) down towards London Road (don’t get excited, it’s stony and certainly no cars). There are lovely views of the Monument from down below, too.
Now it’s essentially a quick route into Hebden Bridge on a wide (barely frequented) road through some woods, descending into the valley.
Pennine Way descends all the way to Halifax Road (which, towards the east, leads to the town itself. However, because I was heading towards the railway station in the town, I left the national trail just before Halifax Road and followed a path through very picturesque south of Rochdale Canal; quite steep at times too – but with serene murmuring streams, lazy miniature waterfalls and commanding views from high above of the surrounding hills – quite a treat at the end of this lovely walk!