Walk – Another Jumble Hole Clough Variation

A sunny day and another variation of the Jumble Hole Clough Walk with Lisa.

We decided to do the walk in the reverse direction to usual – along the Rochdale canal towpath, up Church Lane and the first part of the Colden Clough bridleway, then up the footpath on our left through the woods, across the road at the bottom of Mythom Steeps, then the bridleway through Lower Rawtonstall and the footpath to our picnic spot at Jumble Hole Clough, Lisa stopping to buy a jar of home-made jam from a table by the path on the way.

The two of us sat up there for a while, then decided to extend our walk up the valley and return on the other side of the valley for a change.

We descended the eastern side of the valley as it climbs in the direction of Blackshaw Head. Lisa was taking photographs in the wood and I stood around looking at the trees and the old dry stone walls, then something strange happened…

I normally have a very ‘busy' mind – I find it hard to stop thinking and just ‘enjoy the moment', but then a particularly sneaky moment just crept up on me and caught me unawares!

I was watching Lisa take some pictures and I kind of relaxed and my mind drifted into the ambience of the wood. I could hear a bird tweeting a hundred yards or so off, and there was the gentle, distant drone of a light aircraft many miles away, but otherwise there was blissful silence. The trees looked one hundred years old, and the walls even older. They were covered in moss, and bore the dark stains of this valley's smoky industrial heritage. Dappled sunlight broke through the canopy overhead, and butterflies flitted about from plant to plant. It dawned on me what a lovely spot it was, and how fine it was to just be there for a while, taking it all in. For a moment, I forgot my troubles and drank it all in. But then it was time to move on…

We said hello to a man walking the other way with a Golden Retriever, and now, looking back up the path to our picnic spot, I saw a man carrying a bag of climbing equipment on his back, probably on his way to the top of the disused quarry which we had discovered on a walk up there a month or two ago. As we descended to the bridge over the stream in the bottom of the valley, we spotted a couple chatting and as we drew closer, I saw that they were having a picnic, sandwiches in their hands, and hard-boiled eggs resting in a plastic container on a rock next to them. This was Rush Hour in Jumble Hole Clough! It is rare for us to see anybody up there, let alone 3 lots of people in a few minutes.

Soon, we came to a junction of footpaths. One, we'd walked with Maisie and Mal recently, another went back down the valley on the western side of the stream, and that left a third which climbed up the side of the valley towards the hillside above the tree line – we took that one.

As we climbed back out of the valley, fine views opened out before us. To the East, our picnic spot was in the foreground, Hebden Bridge in the distance. To the South, the ridge bearing Stoodley Pike. A vehicle track took us off in that direction.

Stoodley Pike from West Jumble Hole Clough
Stoodley Pike from West Jumble Hole Clough

The track went round to the right past some houses and we toyed with the idea of following it in the direction of Todmorden. There are so many footpaths in this area that we were sure that we could find a way to walk to ‘Tod' without having to descend to the valley or take to the roads. In the end we decided against it – it would have meant us catching a train back or doing a much longer walk than we wanted to do. Instead, we followed a footpath down into a wood which neither of us had been to before. Apparently it is called Common Bank wood.

We scrambled down through the wood until we came across a vehicle track leading down beside the railway line, with fine views of the Mulcture Hall hillside to our left…

Mulcture Hall hillside
Mulcture Hall hillside

And Stoodley Pike in the distance to our right…

Stoodley Pike from Mulcture Hall
Stoodley Pike from Mulcture Hall

We followed the track down to rejoin the Mary Towneley Loop where it goes under the railway line near Callis bridge. We had passed the opposite way under the bridge 90 minutes earlier on our walk.

Track down from Common Bank wood
Track down from Common Bank wood

After crossing the A646 at the pegasus crossing, we returned to Hebden Bridge on the canal towpath and got to Innovation in time for our coffees and toasted currant teacakes.

It had been a lovely walk with the trees starting to display their autumn colours. These wooded hillsides will look beautiful for a month or so, before becoming depressingly dark and bare for the coming winter!

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