This year marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Calderdale Way, which runs 50 miles through our beautiful region.
Created in 1978 by local civic trusts and societies to establish a connection between the districts in the newly created Calderdale borough, this summer Calderdale Ramblers will be walking the entire route in stages and you’re welcome to join them.
This week’s glorious walk [my thanks to our leader, Peter] was a feast for the eyes with fields transforming into beautiful meadows bursting with wildflower. We began the 9-10 mile route from Shibden Hall, Halifax [GR SE 106 257].
Pass above the Dry Stone Wall Exhibition, turning right before the Lodge [former entrance to the Hall] and leaving the estate by the main entrance. Cross the road, going right and then left following the path way-marked ‘To Shibden Fold’.
We followed the clear path through this former valley of industry [coal mining] and passed volunteers from Shibden Valley Society conducting maintenance on the path. Meeting a track, follow this until you pass Shibden Mill Inn, crossing a stream. Turn left at the road, then join Simm Carr Lane.
Ahead a way-marker signifies where you join the Calderdale Way [CW]. Passing horses grazing in fields, to your left on the hillside are the ruins of Old Shibden Hall. Climb up, turning right on a track passing Addersgate Farm, continue along the lane, meeting Paddock Road. On the horizon to your right you can see as far as Holme Moss on a clear day. There are numerous new CW way-markers installed for the anniversary; the blue ones signifying bridleways. Leave the road along Cowling Lane onto a stony track, then right over a stile for another short climb.
Easily following the way-markers you reach Hud Hill. Cross the A644, passing a stone chair erected in 1737 and re-erected in 1891. Follow West Street, past the school where the CW joins the Bronte Way at a clearly indicated path between houses. Cross the busy Halifax Road, continue past the recreation ground along the road that descends onto a track through fields. Turn left at the way-marker ‘Norwood Green’ and you enter an idyllic woodland dell, across a bridge and climbing steps back up.
Turn right; the stony path descends under a canopy of trees into beautiful woodland, with a stream beneath. Climb out through a field of buttercups leading to Tarmac by Middle Ox Heys Farm. Turn left at the road in Norwood Green, passing the Old White Beare pub; named after a ship in the Spanish Armada; timber from which was used in its reconstruction in 1590.
Turn right [Rookes Lane] then left in front of the play area. Continue to cross over a railway bridge. Meeting the A58 you see the viaducts of the former Pickle Bridge Line which closed in 1952 and the viaducts remain standing here due to houses beneath. Cross the road, go right of the garden centre through more meadows until reaching a relatively new housing estate at the edge of Bailiff Bridge. Cross the Bradford Road at the pelican crossing, ahead to Birkby Lane, then right before the railway bridge onto Birkhouse Road. Follow the way-markers past farms and fields, reaching Thornhill Beck Lane. Descend right until a set of steps [left] which ascends again to join Thornhills Lane through a gap in the wall. Turn right, walk the road until a way-marker right which descends towards the disused railway. The path runs left until it meets the A643 from where you turn right to make your way towards Brighouse Bus Station, from where the 571 or 549 buses will return you to Shibden Estate.
A delightful walk through territory in which you might not expect to discover such a pretty route with Laburnum and Wisteria shrubs aplenty; buttercups, wildflowers and woodland cloughs. People are welcome to join the Calderdale Ramblers’ group walks throughout the summer; if you enjoy them, why not consider joining the national Association to help preserve our valuable rights of way nationwide.