A very enjoyable ten mile walk from Stainburn Forest featuring a variety of scenery including the forest, riverbank, reservoir, gritstone outcrops and a magnificent packhorse bridge.
|Parking:||Car Park, Stainburn Forest|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
For the first time since 2nd January I was heading out for a walk outside of my hometown on Harrogate. It had been a long three months of lockdown. I’d started off fairly well doing walks on a weekend from my front door but unlike the previous spring when the weather was fine and the days getting long this lockdown was during shorter days and wet, wintry weather. As time went on I became more lethargic and lacked motivation to go out for any exercise.
The restrictions on travelling outside your local area were due to be relaxed on Monday 29th March so I was a couple of days early for this walk. That said it was only a five mile drive from my house to the start of the walk so I felt it was still local enough to be justified.
"The highlight of the walk down Pill White Lane was coming across an old milestone with an Ordnance Survey benchmark at a road junction at grid reference SE228486. At the foot of the milestone was a nice display of daffodils. "
The walk started at the free car park at Stainburn Forest at the top of Norwood Lane. Although I’ve done a fair amount of walking in this area I’d only visited the nearby Lanshaw Farm trig point once before and wanted to get some newer pictures. With that in mind I didn’t set off along the main track from the car park and instead took a path leading diagonally into the plantations. Due to the regular rainfall over the previous few weeks the path soon turned into something of a mire. Still it was quiet and it was just good to be outdoors again.
The path eventually emerged out of the woods to reach a wall with sheep pastures on the other side. A short detour to the right brought me to the trig point which is situated immediately on the other side of the wall. In truth it is not the most inspiringly placed trig point but it was still nice to visit it again. After taking a few photos I turned left to walk on a thin path between the pastures and the woods to pass Lanshaw Farm. Not long after I took an enclosed path on the right which then led into a large pasture. Crossing the field diagonally I passed through a gate and into a complex of sheep pens.
Taking a gate on the right I continued on a good track down alongside a smaller plantation to then join another track. Turning left I rose gently up the side of Napes Hill. This was all nice easy walking which eventually brought me on to a sharp bend in the road between Leathley and Beckwithshaw. Turning right I walked along the roadside a short way before taking a stile on the right to cross a field and emerge on to a minor road, Pill White Lane.
The highlight of the walk down Pill White Lane was coming across an old milestone with an Ordnance Survey benchmark at a road junction at grid reference SE228486. At the foot of the milestone was a nice display of daffodils. Carrying on down the lane I came to a T-junction with Cinder Lane. Turning left along the latter I carried on down to reach a cottage from where I took a footpath slanting down through some woods to reach Mill Goit. Following this on to another section of Cinder Lane I turned right briefly before taking a path on the left. This led through the woods and to reach Lindley Wood Reservoir.
There followed a very pleasant walk through the woods alongside the reservoir. The views of the reservoir itself were largely obscured by the trees. It was only when I crossed the viaduct, where the B6451 crosses the reservoir that I got a good view of the lowest of Washburndale’s four reservoirs. On the other side of the viaduct I took a path on the right. There followed a particularly fine stretch initially alongside the upper reaches of the reservoir and then alongside the River Washburn itself.
After a mile, and having crossed the river at a footbridge, I reached an enclosed old way. Instead of immediately climbing up to the right I first made a short detour left to visit Dob Bridge, a particularly fine example of an old packhorse bridge. After taking some pictures I then climbed up the track to reach Norwood Bottom Lane. Turning right on this quiet back road I followed it until, having passed the entrance to Norwood Bottom Farm on the right, I passed through a gate on the left to take a public footpath climbing up a pasture.
At the top of the field the path passed into another plantation. The initial route wasn’t obvious on the ground but thankfully the occasional yellow waymarker led me to a good track. Turning right on this just a short way I then took a thin path slanting up to the right before doubling back to the left. Passing through some newly planted trees I then emerged on to a corner of Top Lane. Turning briefly left I had a good view of Swinsty Reservoir and across the valley towards Old Pike and Round Hill, the latter the highest point of Blubberhouses Moor. After such a long time away from the hills this was a view to soothe the soul.
Returning to where the path had come out on to Top Lane I followed the road until it reached the B6451. Turning right briefly I then crossed the road to a small parking area to take a path leading into the plantations of Norwood Edge. Taking the left hand option at a couple of junctions I continued on until about grid reference SE212513. Here I took a thin muddy path through the trees to find the large gritstone outcrop on which the Lindley Moor trig point is mounted.
There were a few young scramblers having a go at the southern face of the rock. I nipped around the back to another rock where I sat and ate my lunch. The trig point is a difficult one to reach and I have managed the scramble once but on this occasion I didn’t feel the need to physically touch it. One noticeable difference from my last visit was that the surrounding trees were really beginning to encroach on the view. In another couple of years the view may well be completely obscured.
After lunch I headed east on a thin path to pass into an old section of plantation via a broken wall. Shortly after I came across another change since my last visit. For a long time there has been a random caravan in the middle of the woods, presumably abandoned a long time ago. Sad to say that it has been completely destroyed and flattened. After a weaving my way through the woods I soon came to the scattering of gritstone outcrops called the Hunter’s Stones.
Shortly after I took the long straight and now rather muddy and reedy path alongside a broken wall between two sections of plantation. This eventually led me to some more sheep pastures and then a short walk to Little Alms Cliff crag. From there it was a short walk to the road and back to the car park.
At ten miles this was the longest walk I’d done for some time and my legs certainly felt it. At the same time it felt really good to get back out for a ‘proper’ walk and made me look forward even more to getting out for more walks in the near future.