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01 Along the Colne Valley

Uploaded by 72paws on Apr 29, 2022
Region: United Kingdom

Route type: Other
Distance: 11.36km, 7.06 miles.   (0)

About trip

Peak District - AA Walks Distance: 9.7km Minimum Time: 3hrs 30mins Ascent: 550ft Difficulty Level: 2 - Medium Paths: Field paths, good tracks and canal tow path, many stiles Landscape: Typical South Pennine country, canalside Dog Friendliness: Tow path is especially good for dogs Parking: Plenty of street parking in Slaithwaite Public Toilets: Slaithwaite and Marsden Description: Transport across the Pennine watershed has always presented problems. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, built during the 1770s, took a convoluted route across the Pennines, through the Aire Gap at Skipton. Then came the Rochdale Canal. However, its more direct route came at a high price: mile for mile, this canal has more locks than any other inland waterway in the country. With the increase in trade between Yorkshire and Lancashire, a third route across the Pennines was soon needed. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal links Huddersfield with Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester. Though only 20 miles (32.2km) long, it includes the Standedge Tunnel (see Walk 2). Begun in 1798, and dug with pick, shovel and dynamite, the canal was opened to traffic in 1811. Beads on a String: The Colne Valley, to the west of Huddersfield, is representative of industrial West Yorkshire. Towns with evocative names – Milnsbridge, Linthwaite, Slaithwaite and Marsden – are threaded along the River Colne like beads on a string. In the 18th century this was a landscape of scattered farms and hand-loom weavers, mostly situated on the higher ground. As with Calderdale, a few miles to the north, the deep-cut valley of the Colne was transformed by the Industrial Revolution. Once the textile processes began to be mechanised, mills were built in the valley bottom by the new breed of industrial entrepreneurs. They specialised in the production of fine worsted cloth. The River Colne provided the power for the first mills, and the canal subsequently improved the transport links. The mills grew larger as water power gave way to steam, towering over the rows of terraced houses built in their shadows. Throughout this walk you can see the mill chimneys and the sawtooth roof-lines of the weaving sheds, though some mills are ruinous and others are now given over to other trades. Slaithwaite (often pronounced ‘Slowitt’) is typical of the textile towns in the Colne Valley: unpretentious, a little bit scruffy. It looks to be an unlikely spa town. But that’s what it became, abeit briefly, when its mineral springs were compared favourably with those of Harrogate. The town is now undergoing a facelift and its canal is being restored. Where to eat and drink: You have a wide choice of pubs and cafés on this walk, in both Slaithwaite and Marsden. The Railway, close to the rail station and canal, in Marsden, comes at the half-way point of the walk. Directions: Walk along Britannia Road and at the end go right, up to the A62. Cross over and walk up Varley Road. Beyond the last house go right, through a stile next to a gate. Join a track across a field to a stile on the right-hand end of the wall ahead. Follow a wall to your right, across a stile, to a minor road. Go right and follow the road left to a crossroads. Go straight ahead on a track; after just 20yds (18m) bear left on a track between houses. Squeeze past a gate on to a field path. Follow a wall on your right; towards its end go through a gap and take the steps in the same direction. Follow the obvious route downhill to the road. 2 Go right, along the road, for 20yds (18m) and then turn left on to a track (signed ‘Hollins Lane’). Continue as the track becomes rougher; when it peters out, keep left of a cottage and go through a gate. Follow a field-edge path ahead, through a pair of gates either side of a beck. Pass a ruined house to descend on a walled path. When it bears sharp right keep ahead to go through a gate on to a field path. Follow a wall on your right; where it ends keep ahead, slightly uphill across two fields, and meet a walled track. Go left here, towards a farm. Go right, after 50yds (46m), through a stile, on to a path downhill. It soon bears right; take a stile to the left to follow a field-edge path. Cross another field, go through a kissing gate and turn to walk uphill to reach a path that leads up to the B6107. 3 Go right, along the road, for just 75yds (68m), and take a track to your left. Keep left of a house, via a gate. About 150yds (138m) past the house bear right at a fork, taking the less obvious track. You soon follow a wall, beginning a slow descent. Across a beck, the track forks again; keep left, uphill, to skirt the shoulder of muchquarried Hard Hill. The track takes you steeply downhill, then up to a kissing gate, then down again to cross a beck on a stone retaining wall. After another little climb, you have level walking with Butterley Reservoir ahead of you. Bear left, steeply uphill, at a tiny stone building, cross two stiles and meet a tarmac track. Follow it right, downhill, to meet a road. 4 Go right, down the road, passing terraced houses dwarfed by Bank Bottom Mills. Keep straight ahead at the roundabout, down Fall Lane, soon bearing left to dip beneath the main road and fork left into Marsden. Take Station Road, at the far end of a green, up to meet the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. 5 Take a path on the right that soon joins the canal tow path. Follow the canal tow path for about 3 miles (4.8km), passing beneath a road, past numerous locks and a couple of road bridges back into Slaithwaite. Extending he Walk To learn more about the area, you can continue walking alongside the canal into the mill village of Golcar, where you will find the interesting Colne Valley Museum in a weaver’s cottage on the hill.

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