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Monday, 1 March 2010

Jo and Dennis's South Pennine Winter Walk

Members of Yeadon Sailing Club enjoyed a very pleasant walk on the last day of February. The group met at the National Trust car park near Hardcastle Crags just two miles from Hebden Bridge. The walk began along a beautiful wooded valley alongside Hebden Water. The path crossed streams tumbling down from the valley sides and waterfalls could be seen pouring over the millstone rocks. Just before reaching Gibson Mill the walkers crossed the river using the well balanced stepping stones and used the composting toilets which were actually very pleasant. After crossing the toll bridge we walked past the 19th Century former cotton mill that is now a National Trust Visitor Centre. The walk continued along the mill pond that is still used today to drive the mill’s water wheel, enabling electricity to be made from two hydro electric turbines.

After having a picnic lunch in a sheltered spot the walk continued through the woods and passed the famous Hardcastle Crags which were actually very well hidden from view by plentiful undergrowth and trees.

The path then began to climb up the steep valley side and we came out onto New Laithe Moor. In the valley, now below us, we could see the old stone supports that were all that remained of a 32 metre high viaduct. The viaduct had been built mostly of timber and it had carried the railway track that had been used to assist in the construction of the Walshaw Dean reservoirs. The reservoirs could be clearly seen from the path along which we were walking. The path continued onto Wadsworth Moor and for a short while joined the Pennine Way. In the distance to the North, Withins Height could be seen and just behind the hill was Withins ruins, made famous in a novel written by Emily Bronte.
As we gradually climbed onto the higher Shackleton Moor we found ourselves walking on snow! In the distance we could see the stout Stoodley Pike war memorial on the prominent Stoodley Pike. After a little bit of snow fun we gradually came down off the moorland, past another reservoir and then onto farmland which eventually lead us back into the National Trust owned woodland of Hardcastle Crags.

A big thank you to Dennis and Jo for leading the walk and providing the historic background information that made the walk interesting as well as pleasant.

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