Walk – Callis Wood and Horsehold Wood

Lisa rang to ask if I wanted to be shown a ‘new' footpath that she had discovered last week when her brother came to stay. That sounded interesting and given that we had mild weather and blue skies today, I certainly wasn't going to turn her down!

It amazes us that we still keep finding fresh paths after living up here for about 25 years, but we do. This area is so well-endowed with footpaths and bridleways that it would take a determined effort to walk (or cyle) them all. While we were out on the walk, we discussed the possibility of doing just that – a bit like ‘Munro bagging', minus the mountains! We have the local maps so perhaps we will sit down with them and go through each Ordnance Survey grid square looking for suitable candidates, with the squares spiralling out from the centre of Hebden Bridge.

I know the area better than Lisa because she generally only goes to places that she can walk to or access by train or bus. I have a much bigger range on my bikes. I have ridden a large percentage of the bridleways in a 15 mile radius of here and many hundreds of miles of nice country lanes in a 50 mile radius. That still leaves a lot of places as yet unvisited though and it will be fun checking them out.

We started off on our usual Callis Wood walk – along the Rochdale canal towpath to Callis Bridge, then over the canal bridge and up the bridleway to the wood. What we normally do is to follow the trail as it zigzags upwards through the wood, and then walk along above the top of the wood to Horsehold. Lisa had discovered that there is a footpath going off to the left just next to where the Pennine Way footpath crosses the bridleway at the first of the hairpin bends (switchbacks) as you go up. This takes you though Callis Wood to a lovely little tributary valley separating Callis Wood from Horsehold Wood.

Almost immediately we were given a view of the distant church at Heptonstall from a very unfamiliar position. It is one of several local landmarks that you can see from miles away, Stoodley Pike being probably the best example.

Heptonstall Church from Callis Wood
Heptonstall Church from Callis Wood

Here's our new path, a few hundred yards from where it leaves the bridleway and after it turns to the right and heads towards a crossing of the stream which presumably cut that valley over a period of many thousands of years.

Callis Wood footpath
Callis Wood footpath

The path drops down to the stream where there is a stepping stone crossing.

View upstream from the stepping stones
View upstream from the stepping stones

When I was taking that photograph, I had a flashback of standing on those stepping stones many years ago. I think I must have done that walk once before, so long ago that I'd forgotten about it until that moment.

The path then climbs back out of the tributary valley and onto a splendid route up through Horsehold Wood. It will be absolutely gorgeous in there when Spring is properly underway

Horsehold Wood footpath
Horsehold Wood footpath

The path eventually comes out at a bench seat with a tremendous exposed view of the Upper Calder Valley.

Ah, yes – I definitely did that walk once before – I used to suffer terribly from Acrophobia (fear of heights) and I remember being extremely reluctant to sit on that seat!

I'm not quite so bad now – I think the years of wandering about on Yorkshire hilltops have got me more used to heights. I didn't have a problem sitting on the seat today but when I tried walking to the edge of the outcrop of rock that the seat is located upon that was ‘A Bridge Too Far' for me – I got the familiar old ‘jelly legs' feeling and beat a hasty retreat!

Hebden Bridge from Horsehold seat
Hebden Bridge from Horsehold seat

It is was only a few yards from the seat to the end of the footpath which comes out at the top of Horsehold Road. As we headed down the road I spotted another couple of new footpaths which we will have to tackle another time. They head over towards Crow Nest Wood and I think I know where they come out because I saw a footpath sign pointing the other way into the woods from the Weasal Hall area last time I was up there.

Soon we were back in town and made a quick trip to the shops, followed by our usual coffee stop at Innovation.

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2 Responses to “Walk – Callis Wood and Horsehold Wood”

  1. Days like that make me smile! Lovely place to live.

  2. I sometimes feel at the mercy of the weather! I don’t care how cold it gets, if there is a blue sky then I tend to feel cheerful and energetic. When it is grey and murky, as it so often is at this time of year down in the valley, then I feel lethargic and fed up.

    I think when I have the money to do so, I might start spending winters abroad. There was a group of old cyclists who were always at the March training camps that I did on the Costa Blanca and it was their habit to fly out straight after Christmas and stay in Spain until April! You can get very cheap accommodation at this time of year.

    It would also be great to have the option of going away in the summer whenever we have the kind of crappy ones we’ve had the past few years. Mind you – I frazzle easily so obvious places like France, Spain or Italy aren’t where I’d like to be in July or August.

    I need to earn some large sums of money to deposit in a ‘Blue Sky fund’!

    And yes – I am very lucky to live here! The town is embedded in some splendid countryside, yet I have fast rail links to Leeds, Manchester and beyond.

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