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Caroline Spalding
Features Correspondent
3:40 PM 8th January 2021
lifestyle

Northern Walks: Along The Black Brook From Stainland, Calderdale

Once again in full lockdown, we will again inevitably find ourselves rekindling our love of walking, despite the inclement weather conditions of winter! However, whatever the weather, with the right clothes and a good route planned, the Yorkshire countryside will not disappoint. This route explores an area that is probably not well known to those beyond the immediate vicinity – a hidden gem – certainly one to bookmark for when we are allowed to travel once more. At 7 miles long, it is short and sweet, with a variety of terrain and plenty of options to extend or curtail the route. You’ll need the OL21 Map.

Begin from the car park adjacent to the recreation ground in Stainland [SE 079 196]. This is behind the 1885 restaurant, HX4 9AF. Walk west to the far edge of the sports field, join a track and turn right. After one field, at the boundary, turn left along the wall; follow this into the next field, curving around to reveal the hidden valley ahead.

Follow the wall all the way around the field until sighting a way-marker and stile leaving the field. This lovely path enters woodland with glimpses through the trees. It continues until it climbs out of the wood to an open patch of land that looks to be a former quarry, a muddy hollow in the landscape.

Turn left at a yellow marker (SE 078 201) to descend a steep path towards the golf course. Carefully cross the course following the clear way-markers and exit next to the sixth tee. Another very steep descent to reach a stile in the far bottom left of the field beneath.

Turn right along the road and at the bridge turn left to join the riverside path. For a long time much of this path was closed due to the 2015 floods but you can now walk the whole stretch. At some points the path is indistinct, but in general, follow the water and aim for the mill buildings visible up ahead.

Barkisland Mill
Barkisland Mill
Reaching the buildings (Bowers Mill), walk through the courtyard and then bear left towards the car park, to turn right along the water’s edge. Pick up a path at the far end and continue along the Black Brook to emerge among some houses (Lower & Upper Bank Houses). Walk up to meet Beestonley Lane and turn right towards the rather lovely looking Barkisland Mill. Turn left immediately after the mill and take the lane which approaches the Sonoco recycling plant; which, apart from steam rising above it on some days, is so cleverly hidden among the natural surrounds.

At the white bungalow located at the site entrance, turn right through a stile to pass along its side and follow the clear path up and around the recycling plant, again passing beneath a canopy of trees. You descend to a metal gate beyond it, here turn right to climb the road until it hairpins and pass through the gate dead ahead which leads onto Crow Wood Lane. The path is way-marked through the property and stables and at the far end you will meet a cobbled lane on another hairpin bend. Head uphill until the sign for Park House Farm; here turn left along what appears to be the property driveway. Pass to the left of the building and garden picking up a bridleway which is a little overgrown [SE 061 180]. This becomes a really magical path; with trees hanging overhead and holly and twigs crunching underfoot.

After a long descent you meet a stile and a footbridge, passing between the houses and delightful gardens to meet Berry Mill Lane. Turn right and follow the road as it becomes Hey Lane. Keep going for another 200m approx. after the road straightens. You see a large house up ahead on the left, with a way-marker indicating a path both on your right, and then on the left. You need the left-hand path, however the property owner has diverted the path due to Covid-19, and there is a sign on the metal gate immediately before the property. Pass through the gate, pass behind the building and its garden, and you should see a small gate that reconnects you to the path-proper just beyond the garden boundary (this will be on your right-hand side).

Take this path; it is little-used and therefore can be overgrown. It crosses the brook and begins a climb. Again, not always distinct, but a faint passage can be found, following a broken wall, reaching a metal gate. Once the land opens up, you see small ruins up ahead. Aim towards them, the fields can be very boggy.

A delightful walk all the year round
A delightful walk all the year round
At one field corner (approx. SE 065 168), you need to turn left and follow the field wall, heading east. Reaching the periphery of the trees, turn right, and there will be again faint indications of a path.

Sometimes a tricky descent, but you must go down, because at the bottom of the dell, you will find a footbridge. Cross over, follow the path to your left, then pass over a stile into a lumpy field and aim towards the farmhouse above (Lower Moulson Place).

Walk between the main building and an outhouse to meet the lane. Turn right and go uphill. At the junction with Broom Hill Road, turn left. This is a long, flat stretch of tarmac, but with no traffic and gives great views across the valley. It passes some isolated houses, eventually reaching a crossroads. Continue straight ahead and after a while the road gives way to a track. Continue in the same direction and the track will come to meet the main Stainland Road, the B112. Here, you can simply turn left to follow the pavement the last kilometre back to the car park.

Alternatively, a more interesting option is to follow the road for a short while (having turned left) and at the third path way-marker, cross the road and follow the track into the fields (SE 079 190). At a minor dog leg in the path, there are stone steps to the left indicating a path that runs along the field edges back towards Stainland.