- Route Hebden Bridge – The Buttress – Lee Wood – Midgehole Weir – New Bridge – Middle Dean – Lumb Hole Waterfall – Shackleton Knoll – Hardcastle Crags – Gibson Mill – Hebden Dale – Hebden Bridge
- Distance 9.9m
- Duration 5hrs 30m
- Getting there Train from Leeds to Hebden Bridge.
- Weather Mild, overcast winter day
Why this route?
- Mostly I wanted to do some Christmas shopping in Hebden Bridge, so this was a way to make a day out of it. We’ll definitely be back though.
What did we learn?
- This walk was mostly about breaking in our new boots and learning how to lace them for maximum comfort.
- As in recent weeks I tried to maximise the percentage of time on good tracks in order to cover ground given limited light. This worked well and we were bang on schedule, but the section up from Hebden Bridge to New Bridge was steeper than I had predicted (mainly due to my failure to look at the contour lines) and of choice I wouldn’t have gone up it in the dark on the return journey. Being a narrow valley though, there weren’t any obviously better routes.
- Hebden Bridge itself – full of independent shops. Hebden was badly hit in the Boxing Day Floods 2015 and I am glad to see how many shops are back in action and still trading.
- The multiple packhorse bridges and trails that permeated the route.
- Lumb Hole waterfalls
- The abandoned farms of Sunny Bank, Nook, and Coppy – a window back in time. Plus some truly high quality dry stone walling.
- Stepping Stones at Gibson Mill (we were too late to go in). Also the high quality off-grid toilets. Never before have I used a toilet where the waste goes to a wormery.
- The trail back through Hardcastle Crags to New Bridge – a lovely stone trail with an unending series of mini-bridges over becks and drainage down to the river.
- Given the severe flooding Hebden saw last year I can’t call it a highlight, but I have never walked anywhere which gave me such a strong sense that water is just waiting to pour down the landscape. Whether on the road, in the woods, or at the edge of the moor you can hardly go 10m without passing a drainage channel. Pennine Heritage warn you not to do their walks in heavy rain and I can see why. They may not be that remote, but you could certainly get washed away.