Marsden Moor and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Having walked through Marsden a couple of days ago we decide to make it our starting point for today’s walk. It is a fine sunny day and I have plans to bag another Ordnance Survey trig point and Lynnie has hopes of sampling some local ice cream.

We park in Marsden close to the railway station and walk back towards the station stopping briefly to have a look at the nearby lock on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, this is most definatly a narrow canal.

Crossing the bridge we walk towards the station and then take a footpath on the left that leads steeply up a lane and then follows a grassy path in front of a house to emerge above houses.  Within a short distance we take a footpath on the left climbing steeply uphill.  It is a warm day so Lynnie is keen to stop for a breather; this provides an opportunity to take in the view that is dominated by Bank Bottom Mill.

The route goes through a gate and across a lane and levels out as it continues on a walled track, Huck Hill Lane Track, which is also the route of the Colne Valley Circular Walk.

After going through another gate we join the National Trust land at Shaw Heys on Marsden Moor.

We follow the track to Cupwith Reservoir where we turn left along the side of the reservoir to head up an indistinct path to reach the summit of Cupwith Hill to bag the trig point on the summit.  This is the 55thOrdnance Survey trig pillar that I have bagged.

We retrace our route back down to the reservoir.  This was originally built by mill owners to improve the water supply to their woollen mills on the Merrydale stream.  The reservoir is now disused, a few years ago locals ran a successful campaign to prevent the landowners from reducing the water level.

We turn right walking a few hundred yards to a junction of paths and then turn left along the route of the Colne Valley Circular Walk, this is another clear path across the moor.  Soon after passing the remains of an old building we go through a gate joining a track leading to a minor road called Old Ground.

This road leads into Cop Hill Side and at a junction close to the Rose and Crown pub we go straight over to join Holme Lane.  The lane descends gradually and then more steeply towards Slaithwaite with Hill Top Reservoir, or as it is also known Slaithwaite Reservoir, down below us.

Entering the village there is a bustle around the pubs we pass.  It is a very sunny, warm Sunday afternoon and the locals are out enjoying some refreshment. We contemplate wandering around the village, but we still have a way to go, so join the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

The construction of this twenty-mile canal from Huddersfield to Ashton under Lyne commenced in 1794.  It was a challenging engineering project beset with difficulties and subject to adverse weather resulting in flooding and the need to redesign bridges.  The purpose of the canal was to connect the Huddersfield Broad Canal and the Ashton Canal and serve the many mills along the Colne Valley.

The canal finally opened in 1811 and operated until 1944 when competition from the railway finally forced its closure.  In 1974 the Huddersfield Canal Society was formed and after 27 years of hard work raising funds and restoration the canal was reopened in 2001.

A few hundred yards along the canal towpath we come across the welcome sight, to Lynnie, of an ice cream van. This is Freddo Blu, selling his locally made produce.  I had promised Lynnie we would seek out an ice cream today and this looks too good for her to pass by without sampling.

Apparently the ice cream is of top quality, so Lynnie’s gives it her full attention as we saunter along. We have walked along many canals on our travels but I cannot recall one as beautiful as this.  It is an idyllic place to amble on a Sunday afternoon.

Surprisingly we encounter very few people so it is a great opportunity to take in the scenery and have a relaxing stroll.  It is far too hot to go at any pace.

Approaching Marsden we pass the disused Cellars Clough Mill opened in 1888 and closed in the 1980’s.  Reportedly one mill building and the prominent chimney have been demolished and the remaining structure is too poor for restoration so there are plans to build housing on the site.

We soon reach lock gate 37E; known locally as Blue Peter Lock because members of the Blue Peter team turned up to do some work on the replacement of the lock gate.

We arrive back in Marsden by the railway station.  Our walk has covered close to eight miles and has been a good mixture of moorland walking finished off with a very pleasant meander along the canal with the added bonus of an ice cream for Lynnie!

To view this 8 Mile walk on OS Maps Click Here

To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map  OL21  – South Pennines

20th May 2018

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)

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