West Yorkshire walk - Castle Hill, Farnley Tyas, nr Huddersfield
- Credit: Archant
Terry Fletcher discovers the beautiful countryside just a couple of miles from Huddersfield town centre
The Pennine towns may have been the powerhouse of the textile industrial revolution but there is much more to them than mills and moors. The rivers and streams that powered the spinning machines and looms mean they are often set in beautiful countryside. Nowhere is that more true than around Huddersfield where, within a couple of miles of the town centre, this walk weaves its way through fields, woods and history. Its starting point, Farnley Tyas was recorded in the Domesday Book and was old even then, however the village is a mere stripling compared with Castle Hill where Bronze Age warriors dug their defensive ramparts and 3,000 years later the Normans built a fortress.
Start from centre of Farnley Tyas at the newly-dedicated war memorial next to the Golden Cock pub and head towards St Lucius’ Church to fork left into Butts Road. Almost immediately take a gate on the right, just after the village school, into School Wood. A permissive path winds through the beeches, initially paralleling Butts Road before eventually dropping down to the foot of the slope and carrying on along the edge of the trees to emerge onto a broad grassy track dropping down to a gate with views across to the tower on Castle Hill. Turn left up this to join Ludhill Lane (a farm access road) and follow it rightwards.
The woodland path may be closed from time to time. If so simply carry on along Butts Road to the playground and sports field. Follow the wall on the right across a couple of fields to Moor Lane. Turn right along this and after 100 yards turn right again down Ludhill Lane to re-join the route.
After about half a mile, leaving the trees behind and just before a group of farm buildings on the right, take a path down leftwards by a wooden and concrete bench. This sunken way, typical of many in the Pennines, drops steeply to houses. Turn right along the road for a few paces, passing a row of cottages and then turn immediately right again into woodland. Pass through a gate and after about 100 yards an unmarked narrow path leaves the broad track and winds down leftwards through the trees to leave the wood at a gap in the fence. Cross the rough pasture to a gap in the trees, with a prominent cottage on the hillside above.
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The path crosses a stream by stepping stones before climbing through woodland and a field to pass the farmhouse on its left-hand side to be channelled round the buildings to the access track and the road.
Turn left up the road and after 100yards take a stile on the left onto another enclosed path. After a gate the path forks, take the fainter right hand branch uphill, passing a plantation and then diagonally leftwards up fields to a road by the Hey Lane Cemetery with the monument of Castle Hill unmissable in front. Turn right for a few steps to take a signed path through a kissing gate on the left.
The path nips through the wall before skirting a wood to the farm. Just before the farmyard look out for a yellow arrow pointing left up the left-hand side of the field to a stile and then turn right to join the road by a whitewashed cottage.
The views now are extensive in all directions, taking in the moors, Farnley Tyas on the opposite hillside and the 1,083ft/330m tall Emley Moor television mast. Turn up the hill and then take the narrow road climbing to the Castle Hill car park with Huddersfield suddenly revealed at your feet. If parking is difficult in Farnley Tyas this would make an alternative starting point.
Today there are few traces of the mediaeval castle and in its place is the 106ft (32.3m) high Victoria Tower, built to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The height was chosen to put the top 1,000ft above sea level.
After exploring turn your back on the tower and head off north eastwards on a path traversing the escarpment overlooking Huddersfield. Where it curves right, carry on ahead on a flagged path and where that curls sharply downhill, press on ahead on a dirt path still heading along the escarpment and through a kissing gate to meet a track. Follow that down to another junction by the entrance to Clough Hall. Here jink right and then immediately left through a kissing gate and through a succession of fields to reach a lane.
Turn right and immediately the character of the walk changes again. The houses are left behind and Huddersfield just behind the hill is forgotten to be replaced by a wooded, pastoral landscape. Pass Wheatroyd Lodge and immediately before the gates of the next house turn left through a very discreet gap in the hedge and wind down through trees to a field. Follow the left hand wall and then through a gap to descend the drive to a road. Turn left and then right at the T-junction to cross a bridge.
The lane crosses a second bridge and begins to climb steeply to reach a wood on the left-hand side. Just after reaching it cut sharply back rightwards on a footpath marked to Farnley Banks. Follow this uphill. When the lane turns right towards the farm go through a stile directly ahead. Follow the path uphill to the road and, taking care with the traffic, follow it rightwards back to Farnley Tyas.
Start/finish: Centre of Farnley Tyas
Distance: 6 miles/10km
Terrain: Farm and woodland tracks
Parking: In village centre
Refreshments: Café and pub in Farnley Tyas
Map: OS Explorer 288 Bradford and Huddersfield