One of the particular attractions of walking in Calderdale is the large number of delightful green roads and tracks.
Many of these are level and run parallel to the valley below, providing great long-distance views. This circular walk begins with a very abrupt climb out of Hebden Bridge but then threads together a couple of these minor roads and uses another for a lovely descend to Brearley Woods, carpeted with bluebells in spring. The return to the starting point along the towpath of the Rochdale Canal could not be easier. Temporary canal repairs at Brearley in spring 2017 may require a detour along the A646. See point 4 for details. Look out for jays and treecreepers in the woods, kestrels near Foster Clough.
1. Start from traffic lights in the centre of Hebden Bridge, walk north on Bridge Gate, proceeding through a pedestrianised area and square and passing the White Lion pub to emerge on A6033 Keighley Road. Turn right for a short distance then cross to ascend Birchcliffe Road. Follow it uphill and round to the right. At the top it becomes Wadsworth Lane, and round a left-hand bend becomes less severe.
2. On a bend take a narrow road, Burlees Lane, going right. Past a building on the left, look for a small handgate into the adjacent field and cross it diagonally to a dilapidated wall. Follow it uphill and round to the right, where the path becomes clearer. Over a stile, cross a field and turn left on a good walled path to reach Raw Lane.
3. Turn right to follow Raw Lane. Pass Raw Farm and at the end, where a tarmac bend is reached, go downill. At a cottage ahead bear left to follow a rising path. Take another path on the right leading round an old building and follow this obvious path past two houses and round Foster Clough. Beyond here the route passes a farm, joins the access road called Bank Bottom, and descends to Midgley Road.
4. Cross with care to follow a road down past houses. At a no turning sign continue on a path to the left which descends through Brearley Woods to emerge on the A646 Halifax-Rochdale road. Cross with care to Brearley Lane. If the towpath is open turn right to follow the Rochdale Canal west. If temporarily closed, recross the A646 and walk west to Mytholmroyd.
5. The towpath emerges on the A646 on the west side of Mytholmroyd. If using the towpath diversion, continue through Mytholmroyd to this point. From here, there is a short road-walk west, and when it safe to do so cross the busy road to a path leading back down to the canal towpath. It is then a clear walk back to Hebden Bridge. Leave the canal by crossing a bridge next to Hebden Bridge Little Theatre and return to the centre of town.
Difficulty Rating: 3 stars
Distance: 5 1/2 miles
Time: 2 1/2 hours
Maps: OS Explorer (1:25000) OL21 South Pennines
Parking: Hebden Bridge
Public Transport: Hebden Bridge is on the Calder Valley Line served by rains from York, Leeds, Bradford Interchange. Buses from Halifax, Keighley, Huddersfield. For train and bus times check www.wymetro.com or call 0113 245 7676.
Refreshments & toilets: Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd.