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Greenfield to Hebden 3 days / 31 miles (50km)

OS Route Map → Map GPX Route file →

Date: 18 Mar 2022
Start: Greenfield station / Finish: Hebden Bridge station.
Maps: Explorer 001 - Dark Peak + 021 - South Pennines.

Day 1Alphin Pike, Black Chew Head & Black Hill8.3miles / 2088 feet (13.4km / 636m)
Day 2Wessenden, Millstone Edge & Blackstone Edge13.7miles / 1998 feet (22.0km / 609m)
Day 3Light Hazzles, Warland & Stoodley Pike8.9miles / 640 feet (14.3km / 195m)
Wimberry Moss edge path

A 3-day trek from Greenfield to Hebden Bridge utilising a large section of the Pennine Way (PW) that includes a few fragments we have not walked before. It includes a section from our previous trip that we walked in thick blasting mist, giving a chance for some brighter photos. The route approaches via Alphin Pike and takes the high level path across Wimberry Moss and Chew Hurdles, an excellent line that we abandoned on the previous trip.

This was the first sunny spell for ages, but the strong wind on the open moors made walking arduous on the second day and the third morning suffered from early low mist before finally clearing to sunshine.

The powerful wind also made life interesting with regard to a pitch: for hills of this modest elevation, Rishworth Moor is as bleak as they come. The rolling moorland has virtually no natural shelter and the persistence of the wind downslope on the leeward side left few options.

Day 1 - Alphin Pike, Black Chew Head & Black Hill

From the station we descended the road to locate the wooded path alongside the River Tame, seeing a pair of Dippers busy on the water, and crossed a footbridge to join the Pennine Bridleway (PBW) to emerge on the A635 and continue aloft on the lane opposite. We left the PBW to ascend Intake Lane to join the Oldham Way briefly as far as the Alphin Pike path at the access land boundary. A warm steady climb gained the trig point and a fine view over Dove Stone Reservoir.

The path along the edge of Wimberry Moss and Chew Green affords fine views and reaches a high point at the rocky Chew Hurdles, finally descending a little and climbing back to reach the dam of Chew reservoir.

Alphin Pike
Alphin Pike (18 Mar 2022__09:47:17)
Dove Stone reservoir from Wimberry Moss
Dove Stone reservoir from Wimberry Moss (18 Mar 2022__10:25:05)
Ascending to Chew Hurdles
Ascending to Chew Hurdles (18 Mar 2022__10:35:40)
View back to Alphin Pike
View back to Alphin Pike (18 Mar 2022__10:41:02)
Dove Stone reservoir from Chew Hurdles path
Dove Stone reservoir from Chew Hurdles path (18 Mar 2022__10:43:32)
Rocky approach to Chew Hurdles
Rocky approach to Chew Hurdles (18 Mar 2022__10:44:00)
View across to Dish Stone Brow
View across to Dish Stone Brow (18 Mar 2022__10:45:51)
Plate-stack rocks on Chew Hurdles
Plate-stack rocks on Chew Hurdles (18 Mar 2022__11:00:53)

The path from the dam to Laddow Moss starts easily on the old track alongside the reservoir but deteriorates to become wet and ill defined at the eastern end as it bends south eastwards to follow one of the many tiny moorland streams. It reasserts itself as it approaches Laddow Rocks and we left it to follow the fence north eastwards to the 542m Black Chew Head, the county top of Greater Manchester. Frankly it doesn't look much more inspiring in sunshine than in mist like the last trip, but at least the nearby peaty pool is visible and solitude is near guaranteed.

Descending directly eastwards on a faint path presumably formed by a few peak baggers over the years, we joined the PW for a much better view of Crowden Great Brook. Passing our pitch spot from the last trip, we joined the often paved path for the steady pull up to Black Hill, the county top of West Yorkshire, a search yielding a reasonably good pitch. A column of red lights on the nearby Holme Moss mast together with a full moon produced an eerie scene that we failed to capture on camera due to lack of any solid support.

In addition to the usual frequent grouse calls, it was heartening to hear the pure trilling of curlews that have been in sad decline in recent times. The plight of curlews and many other wetland species has been taken up by the WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) if you would like to support them via their Eurasian curlew recovery project.

Chew reservoir
Chew reservoir (18 Mar 2022__12:38:53)
Black Chew Head
Black Chew Head (18 Mar 2022__13:38:20)
Ravine of Crowden Great Brook
Ravine of Crowden Great Brook (18 Mar 2022__14:19:01)
Pitch on Black Hill
Pitch on Black Hill (18 Mar 2022__17:18:35)

Day 2 - Wessenden, Millstone Edge & Blackstone Edge

A stiff breeze developed overnight that would strengthen in disconcerting fashion later in the day. Being a Saturday, we passed quite a numbers of walkers, some in groups, as we descended to Dean Clough and ascended to reach the A635 where we bought a (fairly) hot drink at the mobile snack shop.

A bright and breezy walk past Wessenden reservoir brought us to the descent into the deeply cut Blakely Clough where we could briefly enjoy some Spring warmth in the shelter of its walls. A steep climb out to the rim reached a marker stone inscribed with "Marsden Moor Heritage Trail". Fording the stream higher up, the PW traverses an open grassland to Black Moss and Redbrook reservoirs, the strange light rendering the waters a very deep blue against the bleached appearance of the grasses.

Wessenden reservoir
Wessenden reservoir (19 Mar 2022__10:44:25)
In the deep cut of Blakely Clough
In the deep cut of Blakely Clough (19 Mar 2022__11:11:33)
Blakeley reservoir from the rim of Blakely Clough
Blakeley reservoir from the rim of Blakely Clough (19 Mar 2022__11:25:33)
Redbrook reservoir and Pule Hill
Redbrook reservoir and Pule Hill (19 Mar 2022__12:47:29)

The ever strengthening wind made walking rather laborious as we ascended to the gritstone path across Millstone Edge, becoming noticably worse as we passed the trig point. Another deep ravine beyond the A640 gave some respite before reaching the trig point on White Hill, which is about as photogenic as Black Hill before it, though the views are a bit better.

Our concern grew as we braced ourselves whilst crossing the footbridge over the M62 and began the final ascent to Blackstone Edge and its summit rock field. Normally easy to negotiate, the ripping wind threatened to blow us against shin-busting rocks and the traverse took a lot longer than expected - it was getting late to seek any kind of tolerable pitch. The PW descends westwards onto the leeward side of the ridge but offered only a small improvement in the wind speed on the open downslope. In desperation we decided to check out the disused quarries of Blackstone Edge Moor and fortune favoured us: a small, deep hollow on the west side was protected by a high retaining wall supporting the track and it had a tent-sized flat grassy area. Still a little gusty at times, it was well within tolerance and, ironically, gave us our most comfortable pitch for ages, though a careful eye was required with the stove for our dehydrated dinners.

Millstone Edge
Millstone Edge (19 Mar 2022__13:28:42)
Blackstone Edge
Blackstone Edge (19 Mar 2022__16:53:23)

Day 3 - Light Hazzles, Warland & Stoodley Pike

Lingering cloud persisted in the morning as we broke camp and resumed the PW along the track above, the wind still stubbornly quite strong. Vigorous waves were scudding across the near shore of Blackstone Edge reservoir as we set off for several miles of very easy walking on the good track past Light Hazzles and Warland reservoirs, though the scene was grey and gloomy.

The sunshine finally gained sway as we reached Withens Gate and ascended to Stoodley Pike monument and its views over Calderdale, a fine and breezy gritstone walk. An easy descent in now quite warm sunshine to a path junction gives a choice of ways: the PW or PBW. Both routes converge again at Callis Bridge, we took the PBW. The PBW reaches a roadhead onto a steep lane down into Hebden Bridge, emerging at the Co-op where we bought food and drink.

Walking along the main street towards the rail station, we noticed an alternative path via Calder Holmes park, a green space giving a nicer walk than the road.

Rock formations at Light Hazzles Edge old quarry
Rock formations at Light Hazzles Edge old quarry (20 Mar 2022__08:03:55)
Northern end of Light Hazzles Edge reservoir
Northern end of Light Hazzles Edge reservoir (20 Mar 2022__08:20:17)
Approaching Stoodley Pike
Approaching Stoodley Pike (20 Mar 2022__10:16:23)
Canal at Hebden Bridge
Canal at Hebden Bridge (20 Mar 2022__12:02:03)