The bank holiday weather’s been mixed to say the least but today was meant to be the best of an indifferent bunch so Dawn and I chose it to get out and go walking. We’d originally considered driving over to Derbyshire but then I suggested exploring somewhere more local – the hills above Todmorden. We’ve often hiked around the town but that’s either because the pair of us have walked up to Stoodley Pike (a favorite walk with fantastic if windswept views) or I’ve been up in the hills around Walsden as it’s an excellent location for railway pictures. Today we tried somewhere different. After parking the car on the edge of the town we headed up some steep paths through an area called Hole Bottom (no, really!) towards Todmorden golf club which gave some wonderful views across the town. We also passed some really interesting and curious properties. I love this old mill towns as they contain some fascinating buildings tucked in backstreets or on the edge of town. Many have seen several incarnations in their lifetime so often have original features like doors or windows bricked in. Trying to work out what they might have been is always fun. Here’s a classic example.
Further up the hill on the edge of the golf course we discovered this view. I’ve often tried for this shot from the other side of town without the same degree of success so I’m pleased to have found this place – even if you’d be shooting directly into the light on a sunny day.
Here a train from Blackburn to Southport traverses the viaduct which bisects the town centre before it arrives at the station just to the right of the viaduct. The imposing building behind the train is the neo-classical Town Hall. Designed by architect John Gibson it’s a grade 1 listed building that originally opened in 1875. Beyond the town hall is the Gothic splendor of the Unitarian church (The Unitarian movement originated in Todmorden in the early 19th century). Another grade 1 listed building designed by Gibson it was constructed between 1865-69. Both buildings were paid for by the wealthy Fielden family who were local mill owners, reformists and philanthropists.
By the golf course we joined the Calderdale Way footpath and headed west along the edge of the valley for several miles. This gave us some stunning views – even if we did end up stopping to eat our sandwiches in one of the rain and hailstorms that passed our way! You can see what the weather was like from this wider picture.
What’s very different about this side of the valley are the number of rocky outcrops and strange formations that dot the skyline. Places with names like Whirleaw, Stannalley or Golden stones – or the one we walked to – Orchan Rocks high above Lydgate.
From the rocks we continued on for another mile or so along the valley edge as far as Cross Hill before heading back to the valley floor. The first part was easy as we followed the road but then we cut across country along various footpaths to a place called Shore before descending an incredibly steep and narrow path through the dense woodland along Wittonstall Clough. I’m glad we’d not made the mistake of trying to climb this way as it’s band enough on the way down!
Reaching the main road at Cornholme we decided discretion was the better part of valour and walked back along the main road to Todmorden, although if we’d had time it would have been very tempting to scale the opposite side of the valley. Instead we decided to leave that for another day.
Now we’re back at home and relaxing. Dawn’s making one of our favorite weekend treats – spicy prawns and garlic bread. After that it’s time to settle down in front of the TV to join a large chunk of the country to watch the final episode of ‘Line of Duty’ – what a perfect end to a great day…
I’ve a favour to ask…
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