23 Holmfirth – Ripponden

Holmfirth to Ripponden 15 miles (24Km.)

We had arrived in Holmfirth at lunch time so after a break we continued the walk which would end our day at Lingards Wood, the crossing of the Huddersfield to Manchester road. From here we walked along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal to Slaithwaite where we caught a train for the journey to our overnight accommodation.

Leaving Holmfirth

Leaving Holmfirth

Did I mention in that last section that it was a persistently wet day? The rain continued as we climbed out of the valley towards Upperthong. A detour had been considered to Wolfstones Height but in the circumstances, don’t forget the rain, we made do with looking at it.

The walled bridleway taking us towards Meltham across Thick Hollins Moor had recently received attention with clearing out of the gully and stone being laid to provide an excellent wide level path, suggesting it could be upgraded as a cycle route. Unfortunately water has a mind of its own and often chose a route other than the one planned by the engineers, creating deep gullies in the newly laid surface.

Brook Dyeing Company R-I-P

Brook Dyeing Company R-I-P

We passed two children, one on a pony, the other on a quad bike. John questioned the legality and safety of this young child in charge of the machine in view of the reported incidents, some fatal, when parents allow this.

I had inserted a mark in the GPS track ‘cbook’ because we were advised to “follow the directions carefully” through Meltham. It had been impossible to plot the route here because the description relied on features not shown on the map. I eagerly awaited passing through the mill yard just to the right of the office at the Brook Dyeing Company. I was to be disappointed, the whole site was now just a pile of rubble, as was the later Albion Mills which had perhaps held the sign for Owlar Bars Road.

Dog walking

Dog walking

Despite the landscape changes navigation was straight forward and we soon found ourselves climbing Hassocks Road which took us eventually on to the perimeter path of Deer Hill Reservoir. A pleasant spot even on this overcast day, it must be delightful on a warm sunny day. The former reservoir house is now the site of much communication equipment, not sure I would want to live so close to all those buzzing waves.

The Olive Branch

The Olive Branch

Next morning arriving by bus from Huddersfield The Olive Branch looked inviting with lights on and the door open, serving breakfast to its B&B guests we expect. I must mention the canal having been a long standing member of the Huddersfield Canal Society that fought hard  to reopen this impressive Pennine waterway which passes through the longest canal tunnel in Britain.

Up from the Colne valley

Up from the Colne valley

As we climbed yet again it was appropriate to have a breather and look back over the Colne valley to see where we had already passed, the canal, river and road then a patchwork of green fields finally giving way to brown moorland.

Under the M62

Under the M62

Along with Scammonden Water came a view of the M62 but first we pass Nont Sarah’s Inn which looks to have retained popularity in these difficult times for public houses. There was an offer of Helicopter rides on Sunday March 13th. John’s dad had been treated to a ride over the Derwent dams from the pub at Owler Bar, these must specialise in rides over water and hills.

Scammonden Dam

Scammonden Dam

We joined the Kirklees Way again for a short distance before passing though the rather low bridleway tunnel to pass under the M62. Road engineers aren’t water engineers so I wondered which idea came first, the dam to create the reservoir or the embankment to carry the M62?

Rishworth Palace

Rishworth Palace

Passing along the pleasant Cock Pit Lane it would have been easy to ignore the turning onto a footpath so out came the book to double check. We had just passed a sad looking Cockpit Farm. All the roofs were bare of slates, including the ornamental garden well. How long would the plastic sheet remain water tight as it all flapped in the strong wind, another project on which the bank has pulled the plug perhaps?

Rishworth cascades

Rishworth cascades

Taking a step back on the map we can see this area is well supplied with water storage and walking along Heys Lane with Rishworth below us the spectacle of water falling over the stone dam of Baitings Reservoir makes an impressive sight from here but is perhaps slightly intimidating for the homes down stream. The former mill with clock tower, converted into apartments and known as Rishworth Palace, sits traditionally in the valley like a brooding hen on her nest. As we moved along the valley a second cascade from Ryburn reservoir added to the impressive scene in the valley opposite. With a abundant network of footpaths this area cries out for a return visit soon.

Ripponden - meeting friends

Ripponden - meeting friends

Another navigational uncertainty is resolved with the appearance of the superfluous bridge over the long gone railway, as pictured in our guide book, leading us on to the path alongside the raging river Ryburn on into Ripponden. The path under the ‘new’ bridge looks inviting but the standing water is too deep so we find a way through the less attractive industrial estate to finally reach the delightful setting of the church, old bridge and the Old Bridge Inn as the church clock strikes twelve noon.

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Map of section 23

Map of section 23

Section 23 - the work

Section 23 - the work

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