The village of Heath on the east side of Wakefield is a surprising and pleasant discovery for many, its elegant houses arranged around wide greens and flanked by a lovely 130-acre Common.
The village is a Conservation Area with most houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Attempts to enclose the Common in the 1840s were unsuccessful, leaving one of the best areas for walking in this part of West Yorkshire. The route follows, in places, sections of the Trans Pennine Trail, a long distance path running coast-to-coast from Southport to Hornsea in East Yorkshire. Look for sparrowhawks along the farmland hedgerows, jays and nuthatches in woodland. Note: most of the route is shown on OS Explorer sheet 289, with just a small part on OS Explorer 278.
1. From the car park walk back to the road and swing right towards the village. Continue past houses and wide greens on what becomes Kirkthorpe Lane. Beyond the derestriction signs look left for a bridleway carrying the Trans Pennine Trail.
2. Cross the road with care and follow the bridleway downhill. Follow it right and continue on a straight course to arrive at houses. Turn right at a junction then left to walk past St. Peter the Apostle Church. Beyond it turn left at a house then bear right to pass beneath a railway bridge.
3. On the other side of the railway line swing right to walk along a good track running parallel to the line. Eventually at a meeting of tracks turn right to cross a bridge over the railway. Continue ahead through the hamlet of Goosehill. At a bend, take the signposted bridleway next to a farm on the right. Good long distance views to Emley Moor Mast and Pennine moors soon open out.
4. At a road go right and walk downhill a short distance, then cross with care to a private access drive and take a path to the right. Follow it along field edges to the A655. Turn right here, cross a dismantled railway line and find the public footpath on the right angling across a large field. Pass through a hedge gap, go right to follow the field edge. Beyond a gate this leads to a good path back into Heath.
Difficulty rating: 1 star
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Map: OS Explorer (1:25000) 289 Leeds; OS Explorer 278 Sheffield & Barnsley
Parking: Heath is signposted off A655 Wakefield-Castleford road. Car park is near Kings Arms on Heath Common.
Public transport: Regular buses include 184 & 185 from Wakefield, Castleford & Pontefract, 189 from Wakefield Castleford & Leeds. For times phone 0113 2457676 or visit www.wymetro.com
Refreshments: Heath; Warmfield (off route)
Toilets: For refreshment customers