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Stoodley Pike and the Calder Valley Walking

The area between the National Parks of the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales is known as the South Pennines AONB. It lacks high and prominent summits, so does not attract walkers in quite the numbers that the Parks do, though it is still a popular area. There is some grand countryside here, semi-urban but very attractive. Hebden Bridge is an active walking centre, easily accessible by train from Leeds, Manchester and the towns of Lancashire, and this walk is as good an introduction to the region as any. Geographically, the walk's summit, Stoodley Pike would pass unnoticed without its huge memorial obelisk, first erected to celebrate the victory over Napoleon 200 years ago and rebuilt in its current form later in the 19th century. The rest of the walk takes you across moorland that is unexciting but has very fine views of the valley below.

Stoodley Pike  © Bulls Crack
Stoodley Pike © Bulls Crack
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Detailed description

SD9951226811 Leave the railway station by the main access road, and turn left through Calder Holmes Park and then along the canal towpath, crossing it at the bridge by the lock.

SD9891527114 Keep going along the canal until passing Hebble End works. Then cross the next bridge over the canal, and start climbing up New Road (SP Horsehold).

SD9843026926 Where the road leaves the trees and begins to level out it is worth making a short detour along this footpath to a seat with a fine view of Hebden Bridge. But if you visit it, retrace your steps to the road.

SD9819926669 Where the road bends up to the farm, leave it through a gate onto a path that skirts the drop-off to Callis Wood below.

SD9802126088 Follow the signpost to Callis Bridge, crossing a stream and then coming out onto the Pennine Way, where turn left.

SD9799825326 The monument on Stoodley Pike comes into view and with that and the Pennine Way signs to give direction, the route is obvious past Lower Rough Head farm and then up to the summit.

SD9731224205 You can climb up to the monument's viewing balcony though use the torch on your phone, as the first few steps ascend in complete darkness. Leave the Pike summit along the escarpment to the south.
The view from the monument on Stoodley Pike, with the town of Todmorden below;  © Drew Whitworth
The view from the monument on Stoodley Pike, with the town of Todmorden below;
© Drew Whitworth, May 2020

SD9687123239 Where the path takes its first substantial dip after leaving the monument, bear left, finally leaving the Pennine Way to join the Calderdale Way.

SD9714922915 Keep following the Calderdale Way signs, through a gate and down into the valley of Withens Clough.

SD9787422974 When you reach the banks of the reservoir, turn left.

SD9871923290 Past the dam, you could follow the road down into Cragg Vale, where there are two pubs and a bus service back to Hebden Bridge. But to return there on foot, bear left, up a farm lane.

SD9927523764 Bear left at the next junction. The path then lies through the yard of Stony Royd farm (press the green button to open the gate -- rest assured this is a right of way). Through the farm, head straight on across the field.

SD9984624320 Paths deteriorate in this section but compensation comes from the very fine view down the valley of Broadhead Clough to Mytholmroyd below. Follow the footpath signs around the rim of the drop-off.

SD9929724954 At the signpost, go straight on (SP Old Harry Lane) and then bear left across the moor.

SD9950125447 At the wall, head left (in defiance of the signpost). This is the passage with the worst paths, but it does not last long. Once over the stile, drop down through the field, where there is a superb view of the Calder Valley from Heptonstall all the way down to Sowerby Bridge. Where this path hits the lane again, go straight over and keep dropping down through the woods.

SD9984126060 Once this path hits Spencer Lane, turn left, and then turn right down Wood Top Lane. This winds past the cottages of Wood Top and drops you back to the railway station.

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Further Routes

by Drew Whitworth

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