|The Pennine Way|
Ponden Reservoir and Buckley Farm
I walked back to Colden on an overcast morning and rejoined the Pennine Way as it climbed up onto Heptonstall Moor. I was in no hurry since I hoped to divert to the Pack Horse Inn for an early lunch.
|Near Hebden Bridge||Type||Phone|
|Mankinholes||YH||0870 770 5952|
|14 Myrtle Grove||B&B||01422 846078|
|Prospect End||B&B||01422 843586|
The Pennine Way leaves the Burnley-Hebden road on a field path, crosses a minor road and then proceeds along a walled track (past Long High Top farm) to emerge on the moors. The track is dry and clear as it heads straight for Clough Head (marked by the corner of a stone wall) and then bends to the west. It leads clearly through the grassy moor to meet a wall and follow it to the track down to the houses at Gorple Lower Reservoir. To your left is Standing Stone Hill with its Ordnance Survey pillar. To your right the ground falls into Hebden Dale and Hardcastle Crags. In summertime this is a beautiful expanse of heathery moor. In winter it is another story and in fact a reservoir keeper who lived at the houses died during a winter blizzard in the 1960's.
At the houses, I followed the slabbed causey path down to the junction of the Reeps and Graining Waters. This is a very pretty and quiet spot with a couple of old stone gateposts contrasting with the modern footbridges. A great place for a morning break. The climb up to the road is easy along a slabbed track heading up Graining Waters and then a walled track to the road. Once on the road I detoured down to the inn but arrived much too early for opening time. However it gave me the chance to refill my water bottle from an outdoor tap.
Back on the Pennine Way, I trotted up a concrete road for 2 kilometres past the lower Walsham Dean Reservoir and up to the middle reservoir. The Pennine Way passes The Lodge and crosses the dam wall between the 2 reservoirs. This is a good place for lunch, especially since a line of rhododendron bushes give shelter from any brisk breeze. A couple of the walkers from Globe Farm caught up to me to share the shelter. Here you have to remember not to follow the track (though it eventually comes back to the Pennine Way) but return to the dam to follow a path between the reservoir and a spillway.
The reservoir is left after crossing a small walled bridge for a path leading uphill through heather. Here I met a couple of workers who were extending the stone causey path laid in 1989. The path is excellent and leads quickly to the saddle between Round Hill and Dick Delf Hill. There is a last view back to Stoodley Pike, lonely in the distance. It then descends to follow a wall around to the Top Withins ruins. If you are a fan of Emily Brontë's 'Wuthering Heights', the ruins of Top Withins (alleged to be the setting of the novel but a better candidate is the now-demolished High Sunderland Hall at Halifax) may disappoint you - it is not much more than 4 walls "conserved" in concrete. The surrounding countryside is still as wonderfully bleak as when they inspired her novels.
A well-worn trail leads down from the ruins. I passed a few Japanese tourists and passed a couple of signposts with directions in Japanese - a measure of the popularity of the Brontes in Japan. More levelled Withins ruins are passed (Withins itself and Lower Withins) before the track bears east-north-east. Past Upper Heights farmhouse (have a look for the face carved above its door and the 1761 date-mark), I followed the Pennine Way left down to Buckley Green and my stop for the night. This was right on the Pennine Way - I even saw a couple of fellow trampers pass my windows.
There is little accommodation around the reservoir and at the height of the season you may have to detour to Haworth (3.5 kilometres away). Haworth is of course the home of the tragic literary family of the Brontës (Emily, Anne and Charlotte). The Pennine Way walker may be more interested in the Haworth Youth Hostel. If you are heading this way then continue straight on from where the Pennine Way turns left to join Back Lane and then Hob Lane into Haworth. Alternately you can walk down to Ponden Reservoir, cross its dam wall and head right along Hob Lane.