West Yorkshire monument has its origins in defeat of Napoleon

Towering above towns and villages in Calderdale stands the Stoodley Pike monument.

PIC: Bruce Rollinson
PIC: Bruce Rollinson

The current 37m high structure has been in place on top of the 400m hill of the same name for more than 160 years.

“Stoodley Pike monument dominates the skyline above Todmerdon,” tourism website Visit Calderdale states.

“The monument was designed in 1854 by local architect James Green and completed in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War.”

An earlier structure first stood atop Stoodley Pike several decades earlier. This monument, commemorating the defeat of French emperor Napoleon, was completed in 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo.

“It collapsed in 1854 after decades of weathering and a lightning strike,” Visit Calderdale says.

“The only structure piercing the weathered horizon”, it “commands attention and catches the eye”, a piece written on Atlas Obscura, a self-described “friendly tour guide to the world’s most wondrous places”, states.

“And, in appropriately British fashion, the only way to check it out once its piqued your curiosity is to put on some sturdy shoes and go for a ramble.”

There are many walking routes to the monument from surrounding West Yorkshire towns and villages including Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd, the latter of which can be seen in this photo, taken from Pecket Well.

Once there, visitors can climb the monument’s spiral staircase of 39 steps or admire the moorland views.

The Stoodley Pike hill is the focus of what is believed to be the longest established fell race in the area, dating back to the 1970s.

“The Stoodley Pike Fell Race is a quick dash up and down Calderdale’s most famous landmark,” Todmorden Harriers, who stage the event, say. Its profits benefit deserving local causes.

The likes of Stoodley Pike and nearby Lumbutts and Makinholes are also thought to have inspired the song Hebden Bridge by musicians Woolly Wolstenholme and Maestoso.

Technical details: Nikon D4, 80-200mm Nikkor lens, 1/1000th sec @ f8, ISO 400.