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 Denby Dale, Kirklees, West Yorkshire.  2nd February, 2020.

'A' Walk - Distance - 11 miles.    Leader - Martin Vincent.    Grade - moderate.    Ascent - 1300 feet.

This is a Denby Dale, Skelmanthorpe, Emley, Clayton West and Scissett, circular walk with 1300 ft of ascent.  There are good panoramic  views and reasonable, undulating field paths with the occasional stile.

The Emley Moor mast at 331 metres high soon comes into view, it is never far away, you may even see it’s legs as it follows us around !

We then pass under Kirklees Light Railway which has 4 steam & 2 diesel engines which are half size (15” gauge) prototypes. The Hawk is the largest and has 2- 4-wheel drive bogies, the full size engine was exported to Chile in 1903.

It’s then on to the Emley Millennium Green Wildlife park for a well deserved coffee stop.

Next on our travels is Emley Moor football ground. Emley made national news in 1997/8 season when they progressed to the 3rd round of the FA cup.

After passing St. Michaels (14th Century) Church at Emley, it’s now downhill across fields to Clayton West and the pack horse bridge which dates back to the 16th Century. As well as providing a local crossing point of the River Dearne the bridge formed the main route to Wakefield until it was superseded by the Wakefield to Denby Dale turnpike road in 1842. We pass Kaye’s Millennium Green Park for more wildlife and then return to Denby Dale.

The population of Denby Dale devised a way of enjoying themselves in 1788 to celebrate the recovery from illness of  George III, (after a bout of madness), by baking their first pie. The villagers also cooked a large pie near the White Hart, to celebrate Wellington’s victory at Waterloo in 1815, continuing  to 'Pie Number 10' for the 2000 New Millennium. This pie weighed in at 12 tonnes and measured 40ft long x 8ft wide. It contained 3 tonnes of beef, 1 tonne of potatoes and 22 gallons of John Smith's Best Bitter!! Some pie !!

What can they celebrate next and how long  will it be before they make another pie .... & how big will it be ??.

 'B' Walk - Distance - 8.6 miles.   Leader -  Clive Hickman.    Grade - moderate.   Ascent 1230 feet.

Defined paths with occasional muddy stretches amidst a pleasant landscape characterise our walk which begins at the Springfield Mills Visitor Centre to take advantage of their public toilets.  Heading south we follow a trail through a residential area, uphill and onwards towards Upper Denby, passing beneath the commuter rail track to Huddersfield and Sheffield.

Denby Dale now in the distance, we head directly east from Upper Denby along the road to pass beneath the railway once again at Pinfold Bridge, only to turn immediately south to Gunthwaite Hall, a tudor 16th century barn which now looks in need of 21st century renovation.  Better, more solid ground now features as we join the Barnsley Boundary Walk south east towards Gunthwaite Dam and its fellow-named bridge.  East takes us to Gadding Moor before heading north to skirt the woods on our left to Heald Head and on to the footbridge before crossing over the A635.

Our north easterly target from here is the café at Cannon Hall, a convenient lunch stop at over 5 miles into the walk, with several picnic benches and a public toilet next door.  To get there we certainly won’t be using the orIginal route via Spring House Farm which on the recce blocked our path with agricultural equipment before treating us to atrociously deep furrowed mud churned by the thoughtless farmer. It was here that poor Barry had a boot wrenched completely from his foot, which could only be dislodged by hand before he was only able to reach safety by stepping his socked foot back into the deep, watery mud.  Smile you might but the pictorial evidence is good reason for us all to pack a spare pair of socks !!!

Deffer WoodDeffer WoodInstead of risking such a horrible experience we shall head along the main road for a short distance to turn onto a far more civilised walled bridleway which rejoins our original route on better ground to Jowett House and then lunch at the café at Cannon Hall.

With dry socks we now head north through the estate to the farm shop before turning west through the car park to join the minor road north leading to a good path north west through Deffer Wood.  Now we emerge on a minor road south west – the Kirklees Way – before resuming our direction from Upper Bagden by heading downhill across grassy fields, with Denby Dale beckoning to our left in the distance.  The way ahead is now clear, south west from Bagden Park onto the Dearne Way which eventually leads us through the quiet backstreets to welcome refreshment in Denby Dale at either Beanies café in the Springfield Visitor Centre, the Denby Dale Tea Rooms, or the White Hart public House.

'C' Walk - Distance -  4/5 miles.   Leader - Maureen Dransfield.  Grade - moderate.   Ascent -  600 feet

We begin the day in the Denby Dale Cafe where hot drinks / tea cakes etc will be available; the walk will start at the Memorial Car Park. The Memorial commemorates the 54 men from the Denby and Cumberworth area who lost their lives in the two World Wars.

Denby Dale viaductDenby Dale viaductBefore the viaduct we turn towards  Hinchcliffe's Mill and walk under the viaduct. The mill was founded in 1766 and in its heyday, specialised in the spinning of fine woolen and worsted yarns.

We cross the road up to Wood Farm following the Denby Dale Village Trail. Continuing on this track we have a steady climb up to Denby Delf. This could be very muddy and the stone stiles are quite steep in places, so we will proceed with care. The Delf is a 12.5 hectare nature reserve which is home to a wide variety of plants, birds and insects.

From the Delf we join Bank Lane which takes us down the edge of Hagg Wood. There is a fairly steep, but paved section, down to Barnsley Road. This is a good time to look at the viaduct.

Work began on the first viaduct in 1846 and it was opened on 1st July 1850. Built of timber the viaduct was 112 feet high and 400 yards long with 40 perpendiculars. It was rebuilt almost 40 years later from stone.

We continue on to Bank Lane and turn towards Springfield Mill along Bank LaneBank LaneDearnside Road up to Miller Hill and along Cuckstool Road and Hollin Edge. This is all easy walking on good surfaces.

Where the road dips ( Heywood Bottom) look to the right and notice the bucket through the wall. This was used by local people for their water before mains supply.

Continue on Hollin Edge to White Close Lane and  over the River Dearne by the  footbridge to Cuckstool Road and across the A636 to meander back to the cafe and pub.

This is a scenic walk with some steady climbing but rewarded with lots of interesting landmarks. Distance will depend on conditions on the day.

Walking poles and gaiters advised as it may be muddy in places. Our pace will reflect the terrain.


 Forthcoming Walks ..... 2020 ...

                                                        February 16th .....Fridaythorpe, East Yorkshire

                                                        March 1st ..........   Eyam, Derbyshire 

                                                        March 15th .......   Duffield, South Derbyshire

                                                        March 29th ......    Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire