A pleasant and varied walk from Silsden including a canal towpath, woodland, the waterfalls of Holden Beck and the gritstone rocks of the Doubler Stones.
|Parking:||Silsden, car park|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
Whilst trig point bagging on the western side of Rombald’s Moor back in 2014 I unexpectedly came across a nice little waterfall on Holden Beck just below Lumb’s Bridge. Noting on the map that there were more waterfalls further downstream I resolved to go back sometime to seek them out. This walk was thus a belated attempt to find these waterfalls whilst also covering a section of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal that I’d not previously walked.
Starting at the car park on Wesley Place, just off the main street in Silsden, we turned left out of the car park and walked down the street, crossed the bridge over the canal and then down some steps to gain the towpath. After passing what looked to be an old mill we spent sometime admiring the houses that backed on to the canal before finally reaching more open ground.
“At the bottom of the steps we continued to a weir from where another scramble upstream brought us to the finest waterfall of the four, a truly lovely spot.”
After a further mile of walking we encountered a particularly lovely section of towpath as the canal curved round the foot of the wooded Lodge Hill. Shortly afterwards we caught a fleeting view of a deer running for cover across the top of Holden Park. Coming to Booth’s Bridge we finally left the canal behind, but not before stopping to take some pictures of a robin and a nuthatch that were feeding off some seeds that had been left by someone on a gate post.
Climbing up from the canal on a track we passed what was formerly the clubhouse for Riddlesden Golf Club but which now had a repossession notice attached to the boarded up front door. After climbing up through a couple of fields we dropped down into Spring Crag Wood for a fairly level walk through the woods. In places the path was cluttered with fallen leaves which made it hard to gauge how muddy the path was underneath.
On the far side of Spring Crag Wood we joined Holden Lane for a brief uphill section of road walking before turning off on a bridleway at the road corner. Following the bridleway a short way we next turned off left, just past the buildings at Jacob’s Wood, to drop down towards Holden Beck.
In general the path stayed well above what was a surprisingly steep-sided beck. Of the four main waterfalls that I found only the highest, the one that I’d come across back in 2014 didn’t require a diversion to reach. The lowest waterfall was probably the hardest to get to. In a deep little gorge we had to slant down a greasy and slippery bank to then scramble back upstream to reach.
Once back on the path we carried on another 100m or so to find a narrow path on the left which led to some steps. Immediately below the steps on the left was another fine waterfall. Unfortunately the view from the steps looked like the only practical place to see this particular fall. At the bottom of the steps we continued to a weir from where another scramble upstream brought us to the finest waterfall of the four, a truly lovely spot.
Returning to the steps we returned to the main path to continue up to the higher fall which is just below a ford, Lumb’s Bridge and a rather odd pipe that passes high above the beck. After taking some pictures of this upper fall we crossed over the ford to climb up a pasture to reach the houses at Ghyll Grange.
Update 01/04/19: Since publishing this page I’ve been contacted by the landowner who has made it clear that they do not want people deviating from the public right of way above Holden Beck. This being the case the only waterfall that can be seen is the upper waterfall just below the footbridge where the bridleway crosses Holden Beck.
Our next objective was the Doubler Stones, a modest gritstone crag on the moorland edge which is worth a visit for some of the weirdly scuplted rocks, including one particulary fine example just above the main crag itself. By this time the cloud was beginning to drop and the moor above was already disappearing into the fog.
From the Doubler Stones we took a thin path climbing up to Windgate Nick, a crossroad of paths on the moorland edge which is marked by a large cairn. Turning left we walked along the edge towards a bench and the memorial to the crew of a Mosquito bomber that crashed there in 1943. The next section, the path running along the outside of White Crag Plantation, was unfortunately a bit of a mess, an upland grassy pasture that has been churned up badly by cattle.
Mercifully the going improved by the time we reached Nab End. Dropping down to Lightbank Lane we got below the cloud level again but by this time it was so murky that very little on the other side of the valley could be seen clearly. Our return to Silsden was via a variety of enclosed ways and field paths via North End Farm, High Swartha Farm and Haw Farm. The going was muddy in places, but then again that is what you would expect in winter.
All in all this was a most enjoyable trip out. It was certainly worth the effort to go back and look for those waterfalls and I also really enjoyed the section along the towpath. The only real negatives were the lack of views from Windgate Nick and the mess of the path above White Crag Plantation.