Sunday, 24th January 2010




Walk: Todmorden, Calderdale Way, Withens Clough Reservoir, Stoodley Pike, Pennine Way, Gaddings Dam, Rochdale Canal
Start Point: Todmorden car park Grid Reference: SD 937 241
Distance: 13 miles Ascent: 1,560 feet
Time: 5.5 hours    
Weather: Intermittent mist with some drizzle in the afternoon

Four brave ramblers joined the leader on what turned out to be a much better walking day than expected. Not only had the day started badly by finding that the A646 road to Todmorden had been closed to allow railway bridge repairs to take place, but the weather forecasts had predicted rain for the day. However, it was only as we descended from the hills at the end of the day that we experienced light drizzle and whilst there was quite a bit of patchy mist about this fortunately cleared as we approached Stoodley Pike Monument
We set off on a splendid figure of eight walk following the Calderdale Way out of Todmorden up past Water Wheel Tower to the Pennine Way at Withens Gate. From here we dropped down to Withens Clough reservoir and round Sunderland Pasture onto Dick’s Lane. If Phil had been on the walk then the leader would have definitely taken the route not round, but through Sunderland Pasture in an attempt to prize from him the crown for leading the most muddy, peaty and boggy walks, as this stretch of footpath is guaranteed to provide the walker with the challenges of having to negotiate mud knee deep in places !  At Dick’s Lane we turned left up to Stoodley Pike Monument just in time for a well deserved lunch stop. 
From Stoodley Pike Monument we followed the Pennine Way walking past Withens Gate once more and on to the north corner of Warland reservoir. We then followed a flagged path down to Gaddings Dam. This lake was still frozen over and there were rather spectacular views from here of Stoodley Pike Monument in the distance with the frozen Gaddings Dam in the foreground.
We then dropped down past Basin Stone onto the Pennine Bridleway which led us down to the Rochdale Canal at Walsden and back to the car park at Todmorden.

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

All set for the start from Todmorden car park


Fielden Wharf was a derelict site which received a much needed face lift and was awarded a Commendation in the 'Community' category at the 2008 British Urban Regeneration Waterways Renaissance Awards Ceremony. The stainless steel fish sculptures (and nearby planters) were created in collaboration with artist/blacksmith Nick Green and Todmorden in Bloom


You would think there would be enough 'real' wildlife . . .


out in the countryside!


Approaching Withens Gate there is still some snow around - but nothing compared to last week!


Coffee break overlooking Withens Clough Reservoir


A majot restoration project - or a swimming pool!


The snow is banked quite high in places along Dick's Lane


Parallel field boundaries looking North-west . . .


from Stoodley Pike


Stoodley Pike Monument - a history lesson:

The current structure was designed by local architect James Green in 1854 and the building was completed in 1856 when peace was declared at the end of the Crimean War. An earlier monument had existed on the site, started in 1814 to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris then completed in 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo (Napoleonic Wars). This structure collapsed in 1854 following an earlier lightning strike and ongoing wear and tear from the elements.


Ian & Karen meet some friends from the Long Distance Walkers group


A misty view from the Pike . . .


but as I look for the exit . . .


Robb appears, torch in hand - it's very dark on those stairs!


After lunch the mist has cleared to give us a view of Todmorden in the distance


Time for a group shot before we leave . . .


to follow the Pennine Way, passing Withens Gate for the second time (see photo 5)


Stoodley Pike is now receding into the distance


A new bobsleigh run for the Olympics?


No, just a snow filled Warland Drain (runs into Warland Dam)


I think we'll take the short way from here!


Another view of a distant Stoodley Pike, seen over a frozen Gaddings Dam . . .


as we walk along the embankment . . .


spotting a large crack in the snow and ice . . .


running along the edge


The Basin Stone - and another history lesson:

The Basin Stone is a natural weathered outcrop of millstone grit on Walsden Moor. The stone was the location of radical meetings of the Chartists, Hudsonites and later Socialist groups. On August 18th 1842, following the Plug Riots in Halifax Ben Rushton addressed a large Chartist meeting at Basin Stone. A painting of this scene by AW Bayes hangs in Todmorden Town Hall


Is this the new look in interesting garden features?


The towpath alongside the Rochdale Canal looks very different to last week when it was covered with ice

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