We’ve been able to take advantage of the beautiful weather we’ve had recently and have been out for more bimbles through our local cloughs and woodland, adhering to social distancing recommendations and avoiding routes that go through farmyards or too close to houses. We are always respectful of our countryside, aware that routes may take us through farmland, but now we ensure that we use anti bacterial wipes to open & close gates.
On a recent walk we meandered down into Hebble Hole at the top end of Colden Clough, a beautiful spot I’d regularly visit with our boys when they were young for a paddle or swim on a warm summer’s day. We crossed over the Clapper Bridge, a C17 stone slab bridge on the Pennine and Calderdale Way that links the townships of Blackshaw and Heptonstall.
As it was such a glorious day we decided to stay in the sunshine and head up on the top path above the Clough towards Heptonstall rather than walk through the woods below, following the old stone paved footpath worn smooth and bevelled from footsteps of those who walked before us, footsteps of the many who walked this route to work in one of the many mills that clattered along this valley floor in a time long passed, a hive of industry before demand fell and the mills abandoned, leaving nature to reclaim the landscape. The views across the valley, over Hebden Bridge are stunning from up here.
We skirted round the edge of Heptonstall, and down through Lee Woods towards Midgehole and the “Blue Pig”, a small, infamous, local working mens’ club on the edge of Hardcastle Crags. Crossing the river we climbed up through Pecket Well Clough again following ancient footpaths towards Wadsworth War Memorial… or “Little Stoodley” as Kate Lycett calls her beautiful painting depicting this local landmark, although I believe her children call it ‘Peter Pike’ – which I quite like!
(This image above is Little Stoodley by Kate Lycett available to buy from Heart Gallery as a mounted print £276 or framed in oak £378)
A somewhat smaller obelisk, yet almost a replica of Stoodley Pike which can be seen in the distance beyond Heptonstall, this memorial was unveiled in 1923 and on its prominent perch, has glorious views, overlooking Crimsworth Dene, Hardcastle Crags and Hebden Bridge.
Our route homewards took us back through the Clough towards Spring Wood. A woodland of Beech trees which soar to great heights giving dense shade means that little grows on the thick layer of fallen leaves and beech nuts beneath the canopy. In Autumn the colour of the fallen leaves cover the ground in a blanket of gold, yet now we were fascinated to see how, after the heavy rains and storms that hit earlier this year, the build up of leaf mulch and soil on the steep hillsides had been washed away, exposing the large roots of the tall bare trees, like claws grabbing the earth, clinging to the sides of the rocky clough,
Our walk out also had a purpose. We were going foraging for tea! This is the time of year when Wild Garlic starts to grow profusely throughout all our woodlands, the leaves are young and fresh, flowers not yet in bud so the perfect time to go foraging and harvest a few for pesto, and hummus, or just to add to a salad. We found the perfect spot and carefully gathered a few leaves, just enough for our needs, keeping them fresh in the little container we’d brought with us.
Dinner that night was a very tasty Wild Garlic Pesto pasta which we ate with fresh bread from our favourite Blue Sky Bakery in Hebden Bridge,one of our small independent food shops which is keeping us supplied through this unusual time.
As long as this glorious weather continues we hope to be able to take our regular bimbles to check that all is well with the world outside of our four walls and I hope that one day soon we will be able to welcome visitors back to our lovely countryside. Until then, take care and stay safe.