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Lancashire Times
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Caroline Spalding
Features Correspondent
11:11 AM 3rd January 2020

Northern Walks: A Circuit Of Castle Hill

The Victoria Tower
The Victoria Tower
The Victoria Tower, opened in 1899 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria two years earlier, sits proudly above Huddersfield, atop Castle Hill, offering extensive 360-degree views. Visitors can climb the tower at weekends (check online for opening hours) to gaze out across Huddersfield, into the Holme Valley, towards Calderdale and even into the Peak District. It also provides a convenient start point for walks exploring this natural environment unexpectedly close to the urban sprawl that is England’s eleventh largest town.

Requiring OS Map 288; this six-mile route demands footwear appropriate for boggy and muddy terrain! It can be completed in approx. 3 hours; perfect for the short winter days.

From the tower, go down the steps bearing south-west. At the road, turn right to the road junction; ahead a path descends to the left of the properties. A relatively steep and somewhat slippery path through two fields brings you to the small settlement of Hall Bower. Continue ahead to the Athletic Club, turning right to follow the obvious track beside houses. Turning left between a gap in the terrace, this path follows a wall, opening up another outstanding view. At the end of the wall; turn left back onto yourself across the fields. Not marked on the map; the path is nonetheless very clear due to extensive use by dog walkers and ramblers alike.

Spectacular skies and sunsets can be seen from Victoria Tower
Spectacular skies and sunsets can be seen from Victoria Tower
It reaches a small dell, beneath trees. Cross the stream, stagger up the opposite bank turning left above to return to a road. At the bend, turn right along the track to Stirley Community Farm. Reaching buildings, a stile to your right begins a path which passes the main farm building then along a field edge to a quiet country lane. Continue ahead, approaching a few houses; pass through the gate beyond the buildings to enter another field which slopes towards the valley floor. Maintain your direction; sometimes the path appears to split but keep to upper pathways.

Crossing a boggy spring, reach a distinct path junction to climb up left, across a stile and passing beside the cemetery.

At the road; continue ahead taking the waymarked path opposite. The route now becomes very soggy underfoot! After 200m, turn right beside way-markers. The boggy path reaches a collection of houses marked Farnley Hey; turn left down the track then pass to right of properties, across a stile and another very muddy field, clearly waymarked. Another stile at far end of field returns you to more solid ground underfoot; here follow the way-marker directly ahead to descend towards Molly Carr Wood.

A pleasant woodland path brings you to a path junction after 250m. Turn right; leaving one woodland to join another beyond the field. Beautiful all year round; this particular stretch is a delight when bluebells come to full bloom.

A stile leaves the trees; a short ascent towards a bench, turning left at a plateau passes a gate to a stony track, emerging in Farnley Tyas, beside a pub. Continue along Field Lane for 0.45km; before the gate a path turns left to cross four fields diagonally, connected by wall stiles. At the woodland edge, hop over the stile to begin a careful descent of the steep woodland slope.

View towards Holmfirth and Peak District beyond as seen from the base of the tower
View towards Holmfirth and Peak District beyond as seen from the base of the tower
At the road, cross with care and bear right for approx. 200m. Follow the waymarked path left, through the overgrowth to a metal gate; here bear right, descending to a tarmac track. Again, bear right; the track slopes to reach a road. Turn left, follow its curves for 600m then turn left again onto Lumb Lane.

A way-marked path climbs a stony lane between a field and a house. Ascend to the property above; the path continues by a stile on your left, through a field with a very frisky horse. The path snakes upwards following a hedge, to emerge at end of Wheatroyd Lane. Turn right, around the curve then take the way-marked path on left to begin the final stretch back to Castle Hill.

All map data is copyright of Ordnance Survey Limited.