Wednesday 25th January 2023
First of two walks to complete the Village Link Route
On yet another misty morning nineteen walkers set out from Greenmount to complete the first section of the Village Link Route. We started by walking down the Kirklees Trail as far as Shepherd Street, where we turned left and headed to Tower Farm. It is difficult to believe that such a magnificent building was built, by Samuel Knowles in 1840, as a stable and warehouse. After turning right at the tower, we continued to follow the route through Tottington Mill Wood, first crossing the bridge over Kirklees Brook, then passing several mill lodges before re-joining the Kirklees Trail. At Pickton Close we turned right and headed through the estate to Tottington Road, which we crossed and made our way onto a footpath directly opposite. The route then took us through several muddy fields, finally arriving at Owlerbarrow, where we crossed the road, and followed the footpaths into Walshaw.
Once across the road we turned right into Slaidburn Drive, that soon became a track which we walked along for a short distance, before turning left and heading down to Whitehead Lodges, now called Lowercroft Reservoirs. These were built by John Whitehead around 1820 to supply his mills, in Lowercroft, with water. Heading down hill we crossed the bridge over the stream, that flows into the lower reservoir, before climbing the short steep slope up to the point where the route turns right and goes through the fields onto tracks leading to Ainsworth. We stopped at the back of the Duke William Inn to have our morning coffee break before admiring the Unitarian Church and Reform Club buildings.
After the coffee stop, we retraced our steps back to the attractive Knowsley Cottages, where after a short distance we re-joined the route, turning left through a kissing gate. The footpath continued through the fields, passing Broomfield Nursing Home, on our left, once an isolation hospital, finally leading back to the reservoirs. After crossing the bridge, over the upper reservoir, we followed the path up to Bentley Hall Lane, where we turned left and headed to Old Holts Farm, on Harwood Road. Once across the road the route continued through the fields to Bowstone Hill Road that eventually joined Watling Street, where we tuned left and walked up to Affetside and the Pack Horse Inn, (1442) where we enjoyed our well-deserved lunch.
After lunch we headed down Back Lane to Turton Road and on down into Two Brooks Valley and into Hawkshaw. The final section of the route took us over Walves Bridge and right up Coal Pit Lane and through the fields to Holcombe Rifle Range, where we completed the first section of the Village Link, that is to be completed next month. Our way back to Greenmount was on familiar paths, having completed a total of fourteen, mainly misty miles.