A colorful little ramble exploring Farnhill Moor and Low Bradley Moor with a detour to the Delph Farm trig point and returning along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
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The last time I visited Farnhill Moor was back in 2008 when I'd carried my daughter, only ten months old at the time, on my back. I remembered it as a lovely pocket of moorland and thought it would be a good spot to go back to for photos of purple heather. I also had the added incentive of wanting to bag the nearby Delph Farm trig point.
Parking on the old road into Kildwick before the village was bypassed we quickly crossed the Leeds-Liverpool Canal via a footbridge before climbing up a lovely wooded path on the outskirts of Farnhill. Reaching a road at the top we briefly turned right before taking a good path towards Crag Top.
"A careful crossing of the wall brought us on to Low Bradley Moor which proved to be just as colorful as its neighbour Farnhill Moor."
Within minutes we'd arrived at a most colorful scene with purple heather, green bracken, plenty of rosebay willowherb as well as rowan and birch. All of this atop a small gritstone edge with good views across Airedale towards Cononley and its Gib. Unsurprisngly, for such a fine spot, someone had placed a bench there. This one had a small memorial plaque to Freda Smith (1916-2006) 'Who loved these moors'.
From the bench we continued climbing gradually up through thicker bracken and more birch trees to arrive at the striking Jubilee Monument. Built in 1887 to commemorate the Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee the view of Airedale from the monument has become partly obscured by trees but is still a fine spot.
From the monument we took a path, not marked as a right of way but as this is access land it doesn't matter, across the purple moor to another area of scattered birch. Almost hidden until the last moment was a large beehive shaped cairn. Continuing on in the same direction we passed through a thicker area of trees to reach a stile in a wall which we crossed over to gain the right of way climbing up Kildwick Moor.
This next section was a detour to visit the Delph Farm trig point and can easily be ommitted by non-trig enthusiasts. Following the path up Kildwick Moor we crossed a couple of pastures to reach Jackson's Lane, a minor road between Low Bradley and Silsden. In the field on the opposite side of the road the trig point could clearly be seen.
Thanks to the UK Trigpointing website I knew the land belonged to the nearby cattery and that when asked they were quite happy for people to go and take pictures of the trig point. Indeed this was the case and they even directed me the best way to access the field.
Having successfully bagged the trig point we retraced our steps back across a couple of pastures to reach a wall corner. A careful crossing of the wall brought us on to Low Bradley Moor which proved to be just as colorful as its neighbour Farnhill Moor. Carefully picking our way across Tewit Mire we made our way up on to Black Hill and the two ancient burial cairns that sit on the modest summit of the moor.
Known as the Black Hill Round Cairn and the Black Hill Long Cairn these two huge monuments are thought to date to the Neolithic period. Although they are now just a large jumble of rocks the Long Cairn measures over 220ft in length whilst the more prominent Round Cairn has a diameter of over 100ft. The latter proved to be a grand spot to stop for some lunch and enjoy the views up Airedale.
After lunch we walked a short way north through the heather to join a wide grassy path that descended through the heather with ever improving views of Airedale and the village of Low Bradley below. Passing through an opening in a wall we turned left on a right of way to descend to the road at Hamblethorpe. Crossing over we then took a pleasant bridleway leading down to the Hamblethorpe Swing Bridge on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
Before crossing the bridge we first took a look at the impressive memorial to the seven Polish airmen who lost their lives in 1943 when the port wing and engine dropped off their Vickers Wellington bomber whilst returning from a routine training flight. The monument was opened in 2007 by the widow of one of the airmen. It is a moving spot enhanced by information boards on the other side of the bridge. A bit further along the canal bank we saw a simpler and presumably older memorial cross.
The return to Kildwick along the canal was quite lovely despite the large number of cyclists bombing along the tow path. Without doubt the highlight of this final section of the walk was the heron we saw. It clearly wasn't bothered about our presence on the opposite bank whilst it went about its business trying to catch fish. Eventually it flew down the canal and we caught up with it again at Farnhill Bridge where we took another batch of photos.
This was a great little outing with a lot of interesting features packed in to what is a relatively unsung area a few miles south of the national park boundary. Highly recommended, especially in August when the heather is in bloom.