At almost 100 acres Judy Woods is one of Yorkshire’s largest ancient beech woodlands and has managed to survive despite being surrounded by industry and housing. On maps, different parts of the wood have individual names, but the popular overall name commemorates a local woman, Judy North, who sold ginger beer, sweets and parkin there in the early 19th century. Coal was once mined among the trees, and numerous overgrown bell pits can still be seen. A stretch of the former Norwood Green colliery railway is joined near the end of the walk. Look out of treecreepers and great spotted woodpeckers.
1. From the entrance on Station Road take the obvious path ahead. The route is easy to follow here, being edged with timber. It goes sharp left to cross a beck, then right to continue straight ahead. When it arrives at a track, an old packhorse route, turn left and descend to Judy Bridge.
2. Don’t cross the bridge but go down steps on the right. Cross a small footbridge, ignoring steps on the right, and follow the course of Royds Hall Beck. Over a small stream further on fork right uphill. The path levels out and continues high above Royds Hall Beck. Aim for a metal gate.
3. On the other side continue to another gate and in front of it go right to walk along the edge of a wood. Follow a field edge to a stile. Continue over a field to another stile, turn right and follow the lane round the buildings at Royds Hall. Continue down Royds Hall Lane and go left on a bend to join a minor track.
4. A short distance down the track go through a wall gap on the left to enter Old Hanna Wood. The path bears left away from the wall and arrives at a wall gap onto a track called High Fearnley Road. Pass Woodside Farm and at a breeze-block building go right through a gate to follow a farm track. Beyond a second gate turn right onto a raised path, the former Norwood Green colliery railway line, to reenter woodland. At the main path, turn left to return to the start.
Difficulty rating: 1 stars.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Time: 2 hours.
Map: OS Explorer sheet 288 (1:25000) Bradford & Huddersfield.
Parking: Station Road, off A641 Huddersfield Road at Wyke, between Bradford and Brighouse. Ample roadside spaces near information boards (Map reference SE 147268).
Public transport: The 363 Bradford-Huddersfield runs along A641. Ask for Station Road, from where it is a short walk to Judy Woods entrance.
Refreshments: Nearby village of Norwood Green (off route).
Toilets: For refreshment customers.