Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Woodlesford to Horsforth 29/08/16

16 miles, via Newsam Green, Temple Newsam Park, Beck Fields, Primrose Valley Park,
 Killingbeck Fields, Fearnville Fields, Wykebeck Woods, Roundhay Park, Moortown,
  Moor Allerton, Alwoodley, Adel, Holt Park & Tinshill.

If you've decided that you are only going to walk one day of the long Bank Holiday weekend, it makes sense to utilise the best one, and it being Monday means that you can put the remainder to good use without feeling guilty, and will hopefully have the legs fully charged for another trip across Leeds's many green spaces, because if it's a public holiday and you can't get to the seaside, a walk in the park has to be the next best option. So out early before 9.10am, to beat the crowds, starting out from Woodlesford station, well away from the body of this year's walking territory, and set course for the northwest, heading out onto the A642 Aberford Road to make the familiar path to the north across the Navigation and the Aire toward the Bridge Farm Hotel at Swillington Bridge, before taking the left turn onto Bullerthorpe Road with intent for making for the way into Temple Newsam Park from the south. My pathfinding is almost ruined by one of my worst navigation fails, missing the turn to Newsam Green Road and almost going on to approach the park from the east, only realising my error at the next junction, which leads me onto the correct track, down by the entrance to Leventhorpe Hall, now lost in a land scarred by open cast mining and renewed by landfill, and into a tidy rock cutting that only sees traffic for the waste disposal sites these day. Newsam Green farm still survives, by what was once the forgotten path of Pontefract Road, whilst our track ascends to give lofty views over South Leeds and beyond before passing over the M1 motorway on one of those bridges that links farm tracks but has little obvious use otherwise. It's good for us as it gives access to the paths across the fields to get into the Temple Newsam estate, joining the access track by The Shroggs wood, and giving elevated views over the park towards the house before slipping downhill through the trees to the bridleway at the bottom of the park, and even with the throng of visitors being much smaller than I would have expected, I'll do the ascent to the house via the most secluded path of all, the grassy enclosed track that is actually one of the oldest in the entire park.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Thorpe Arch to York 21/08/16

14 miles, via Walton, Wighill, Healaugh, Angram, Askham Richard, Askham Bryan,
 Foxwood, Hob Moor & Holgate.

Saturday gets dumped from the schedule as the risk of afternoon rain looks too high, and I'd prefer a lie in anyway, and so my walk has to be planned for Sunday, which means making a connection for the 771 bus with as small a margin for error as is possible, but it all comes good, despite the bus riding taking forever to get out to the top right corner of West Yorkshire. So we start out from the Pax Inn in Thorpe Arch after 10.25am, again falling for this village in the bright sunshine, and as we are a little off track on our long route to York, we need to make a path back to Walton before we are on the correct course, and that means heading south to join Church Causeway at its bottom end and then striking the path to the north to meet All Saints church, sat proudly apart from the village and brightly illuminated. Heading north we can complete the loop around Thorpe Arch and pass the railway alignment once again, and then carrying on past HMP Wealstun, and is that the first prison to drop onto my walking plan since New Hall in darkest Wakefield district? This one looks more the part, though modern prisons ought to have the crenellations of their Victorian counterparts just to keep up appearances, and I'm not sure if it's the sort of place I ought to be photographing extensively, and it's presence makes the housing developments of Thorpe Arch Grange and Walton just that bit less appealing. Still, our focus can look East as we hit Wighill Lane, to skirt our way around the TATE, and the well secured boundaries of the British Library and the vehicle testing centre, taking care with the blind corners and getting a last look at the hidden bunkers of the ROF site, and also taking interest in the path of the Roman road Rudgate as it reappears on the north side of the Wharfe, cutting its path in the direction of Boroughbridge.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Weeton to Thorpe Arch 13/08/16

17.1 miles via Dunkeswick, Netherby, Kearby, Sicklinghall, Kirk Deighton & Walton.

Force an early start, as the enthusiasm is high today, as is the risk of the afternoon turning very warm indeed, so make for the train to Weeton to disembark at 9.20am, primed for a long day, and take the first steps to see the old station houses by the A658 Harrogate Road, which endure to provide the NER atmosphere for the station since the actual platform buildings left us only relatively recently. So away, and into Huby, with actual Weeton still a mile or so distant, looping back under the railway to pass among the district of council houses, complete with vintage VR post box, and on to the road to Weeton, which could easily be mistaken for a driveway to one of the posher houses in this quarter. On to a road walk under gloomy skies, avoiding the horse riders and mail van that are racing me down this lane and letting the mind wander among the wrinkles of Wharfedale whilst I try to plot out what the manicured lands around the cricket field might have been in a previous life, and spot the spire of St Barnabas's church a couple of fields away to show just how close we came to having been here before. So Weeton itself arrives, a settlement with a lot of proud looking gritstone, scattered along the Main Street, all of it expensive looking, but mush less substantial than Huby, which makes you wonder how it named the parish and the railway station. Press on, as Weeton Lane wends its enclosed way to the east, gradually rising and giving views to Almscliffe Crag in one direction and Rougemont Carr in another, and that keeps things interesting in a terrain of a lot of hedges before the hamlet of Dunkeswick arrives. Never been too sure how to pronounce this one, uncertain where to place the emphasis, and there's little more to it than a trio of farmsteads, along with a small dog running around to proudly display the rabbit it has caught, and from there it's a short walk to meet the A61 Harrogate Road, crossed in short order to get away from the cyclists and to have the fields to myself for a while.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Baildon to Weeton 06/08/16

12.6 miles, via Tong Park, Park Gate, Yeadon (& The Tarn), West Carlton, Old Bramhope,
 Pool in Wharfedale, Riffa Wood & Huby.

Return back Up Country for some necessary socialising to end my holiday week, but after a week back in work, the Summer Sag comes on once again as mood, impetus and energy levels all drop through the floor, and a weekend drops from the schedule and plans get shunted around again. Not that my plan for August gets altered, as a three day trek across the width of my annual walking field seems like a good way to go, but even then I struggle to get myself going, and find that riding out to Baildon station can involve some ungodly amounts of waiting, as you anticipate the arrival of the trains that run the line between Shipley and Guiseley. So onto the trail just before 11am, on the single platform which still possesses a lot more character than many stations which didn't endure 20 years of disuse, altogether a tidy little presentation, departed by ascending to the footbridge and dropping down to the path that doubles as a driveway to the houses behind Roundwood Grange, one of the many proud older houses that live among Baildon's suburbia. Langley Lane and Hollin Head give us much more of the late 20th century face of the town in the Tong Park district, and the way to the undulations of the corner of Airedale is found as Lonk House lane wanders its way into the valley of Gill Beck, with a war memorial midway down and a fishing lake and cricket field at the bottom, this probably being the flattest part of Baildon all told. Ascend the other side, to meet a golf course, and hang at its edge through rough grass and shady trees to get good looks at Tong Park Viaduct and the extensive woods of middle Airedale in one direction and to the rising edges of Baildon and Rombalds moors in the other, and focus requires you to look out for golfing hazards before a better surface is gained at Lunds farm and another long wall guides the walker in the direction of Guiseley. The golf course seems to just keep on going, until you acknowledge that there are actually two of them, Hollins Hall and Bradford, butted together, and as the track rises the view towards Bradford is pretty grand, whilst once the descent comes on the Aire-Wharfe gap is revealed in all its impressive scale.