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West Yorkshire Trails

You are in: Bradford and West Yorkshire > Places > West Yorkshire Trails > A stroll down Colden Clough!

bluebells in Colden Clough

Bluebell time in Colden Clough

A stroll down Colden Clough!

Now a place to get away from it all, Colden once hummed with industry. We take a circular walk from the car park in Heptonstall through wooded Colden Clough to the inn at New Delight returning along ancient packhorse trails.

Colden Clough is now a local nature reserve but not so long ago it was a very busy place indeed. Our walk goes past the ruins of several mills as we make our way up the valley towards the New Delight pub before returning back through the fields above the Clough. We think there are some really spectacular views along the way!

The route:

The starting point is the car park in the centre of Heptonstall.

Leaving the car park go uphill along the main street. After leaving the houses behind take the first track on the left. Follow the track down past a house on the left. The track bends down to the right. As you go down there are good views over the wooded valley. Below you and on the left you will see Lumb Bank, once owned by the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. Today an arts foundation runs residential courses for writers here.

old mill chimney in Colden Clough

The remains of one of Colden's mills

Just before you reach the valley bottom and a mill chimney the track bends sharply to the left. At this point leave the track following a well-defined footpath off to the right. This takes you above the right bank of Colden Water through the woods.

Eventually you pass another chimney and the circular remains of a small gasworks below you on the left. A brief climb then takes you alongside overgrown and disused millponds - a haven for the industrial archaeologist. Look carefully for the gates and weirs that once controlled the flow of water to the ponds.

Continue to follow the track as it briefly climbs up and joins an old packhorse trail then drops down to an ancient clapper bridge. The open area here is often a sun-trap in summer and is a very good spot for a picnic.

Cross the bridge and follow the footpath which climbs steeply up through the heather until you reach the track at the top. Within a quarter-of-a-mile the track reaches a narrow lane. Turn right and follow it down to the New Delight. The pub is relatively remote and certainly unspoilt. There are some fascinating photos on the wall.

To return, retrace your steps to the packhorse bridge, cross it and climb up but this time keep on the packhorse trail ignoring the path down through the woods.

Causey near Heptonstall

Old packhorse tral above Colden Clough

Cross over the stile into the fields keeping on the paved path. This is a very good example of a 'causey' (paved packhorse trail), probably dating back to the 17th or early 18th centuries. Many of these causeys stretch for miles across the moors.

The causey follows the field walls until, going through the backyard of a farm, you reach a lane. Bear left up the lane until you reach the road at Slack, a hamlet half-a-mile from Heptonstall. Turn right and follow the road back to the village.


The White Lion and Cross Inn at the start and finish of the walk or the New Delight along the way.

More details:

Time: 2 hours without stops
Distance: Approximately 4 miles.
Grade: Easy but boots advised for wet ground.

OS Map:

Leisure Map 21 - South Pennines [1: 25000] Starting point: Car park in the centre of Heptonstall.

Safety on the moors:

Weather conditions may change quickly. Wearing strong footwear is essential. Always take weatherproof clothing with you. It is also recommended that you take some food and drink with you and let someone know the route you are taking and the time you expect to arrive back.

last updated: 21/04/2008 at 16:53
created: 21/04/2008

You are in: Bradford and West Yorkshire > Places > West Yorkshire Trails > A stroll down Colden Clough!

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