26 Haworth – Ilkley

Haworth to Ilkley 16.5 miles (26.4Km.)

Haworth

Haworth

I’d managed to avoid the throng of visitors to this Yorkshire honeypot but even early in the morning visitor arrival was anticipated and a forest of advertising boards clutter the cobbled street to temp them with cream teas and more. We leave along Changegate and pass the inevitable Edinburgh Woollen Mill but suddenly the scene changes back to the real world, or does it? A lorry is parked by a shed and on the side offers ‘Bronte Water’ by bottle or tap!. (From the Huddersfield Examiner April 2010 “Bronte Water Coolers Ltd has won a new four-year contract to supply HM Courts Service with mains-fed and bottled water coolers to every court building in northern England.”)

I still can’t get my head round these Metropolitan councils. Here we are in beautiful open countryside and it’s part of Bradford, proved by the sign at the tiny Oakwood crematorium. No sign of the back to back funeral services here unlike the “can’t fit you in until next Wednesday at 3.45” from the large but few operations near to home.

Church Farm Newsholme

Church Farm Newsholme

A missing finger post where the path meets a road prompts me to note the location and later to find an address to submit a report. Sat Nav may have replaced the need of signs for drivers but I like some assurance in the fields, even a decrepit stile assures me I’m in the right place.

Church Farm at Newsholme lives up to its name, not the farm belonging to the church or even close by the church. This one is part of the church or the church is a part of the farm. Like a double sided jig-saw, farm on one side, church on the other.

Bridge at Newsholm Dean

Bridge at Newsholm Dean

Another pleasant birch dell takes me down to the old clapper bridge alongside which frogs have desperately laid their spawn in a puddle, I just hope we get rain soon.

The old county road sign has gone but the section of path in North Yorkshire has been waymarked and once locked gates are now unchained but with a warning to us to shut and fasten. It’s still just a little unnerving through America Farm where a waymark arrow misleads the uncertain traveller but we’ve had much worse earlier on the GEW. Well done North Yorkshire.

Approach to Sutton in Craven

Approach to Sutton in Craven

The approach to Sutton in Craven is through the pleasant Lumb Clough and the final approach to the town is impressive but another pinch point across the River Aire forces our route to drag along roads and urban paths before being set free once more at Kildwick.

I’d taken a canal boat along the Leeds and Liverpool canal through Kildwick many years ago so amended the route just a little to make a return visit and explore again a feature common on this northern canal where the road is taken beneath the water. Almost a tunnel here but with a pavement for safe passage on foot, a worthwhile adventure before taking a walk along the towing path to overlook the correct riverside path.

The path has been diverted at Howden House so do as I say and follow the signs. I’m surprised the owners have not gated the clear fenced path that approximates to the original route. Our guide describes the path as fording Howden Beck a novel feature on a footpath but I’d prefer a bridge Bradford MDC have added my request to their list of improvements, subject to available funding.

Howden Beck Waterfall

Howden Beck Waterfall

Walking up hill along a road that could be a commuter rat run which led to a little used bridleway I was surprised by the plethora of signs about dog mess and keeping to the path. The house in the dip reminded me of a recent viewing of ‘Grand Designs’ on TV where the builder had used an ancient planning ‘loophole’ to build a house after living on the site unmolested for twelve years. Call me a cynic, an old friend often did.

One of the Doubler Stones

One of the Doubler Stones

Climbing up from Holden Beck by the large pipe transporting drinking water to Bradford or Leeds from the reservoirs at the head of river, we are now on the approach to Ilkley Moor. This end is in fact Addingham High Moor and I pause to find the best position to capture an image of the Doubler Stones. Had John been with me he would have been off to inspect each Cup and Ring marked rock but I pass them by. I am stopped in my tracks by the willow sculpture of a wolf like beast perched on the rock overlooking Addingham. A later search on the web reveals very little, the work appeared in January and no one admits to its creation.

Addingham Moor willow sculpture

Addingham Moor willow sculpture

A swift inspection of the fenced swastika stone then onward with views left into the valley of the Wharf and today’s destination, Ilkley. The paths gets busier but it’s still a quiet day for the tea room at White Wells. I have time to spare so order a cup of tea but it’s now colder inside than out so I escape the building and admire the view down into the town and ponder my next stage up and over into Nidderdale and Pateley Bridge.

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Great English Walk map of section 26

Great English Walk map of section 26

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 26

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 26

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