Sunday, 5 November 2017

Cottingley to Cottingley 04/11/17

14.7 miles, via Churwell, Beeston Royds, Farnley Moor Side, Nan Whin's Wood,
 Roker Lane Bottom, Pudsey (Littlemoor, Owlcotes & Waterloo), Thornbury, Fagley,
  Eccleshill, Five Lane Ends, Wrose, Windhill, Shipley, Saltaire, and Nab Wood.

First trip out past Samhain / Hallowe'en / Start of GMT, and a pun walk descended on my mind, having located the Cottingley of Fairies fame in Bradford district, and realised that I've never travelled from the Cottingley station on the edge of Leeds, despite it being the nearest station on the line through Morley, and now we are on the edge of the dark season, we can start out early, as we are really starting out at a sensible hour, and so off we go, on one of the rare days when the ride out is shorter than the walk to the station. Start out on the nose of 9am, beginning our circular walk in a linear fashion, and we won't actually be passing through the Cottingley Hall estate, named for the farm long lost beneath it streets, so we won't be getting any closer to its distinctive pair of tower blocks, as we instead drop down through the growth of Lego houses which has attached itself to the bottom of Churwell, and the ongoing path is immediately vague, hidden by new buildings arriving on one of the few green plots left in this quarter. The way under the M621 is eventually found via a detour and finding Snittles Farm hidden away in the space between the motorway and the railway is a surprise, hidden in plain sight as I've never noticed it in 10 years of passing by, before we finally get on our way along the farm access track, onwards past the embankment of the L&NWR Leeds New Line and on to the A62 to pace along between the industrial plants and the Jewish cemeteries. At the entrance drive to Spring End farm we strike into the countryside, for the field walk over Beeston Royds (or Farnley Wood), rising on a path previously tramped with the Cottingley Towers constantly on the horizon behind us, passing through the sheep and horses to meet Wood Lane at the hillside's crest, pressing on westwards and retaking the panorama of views from the top as the lane presses us on towards Wood End farm, which gives more suggestions of former forestry up here. Soon enough run out onto the A58, at the westernmost extremity of New Farnley, though we don't have to follow Whitehall Road for too long as we can switch off onto Walsh Lane at the suburban edge, to pass through Low Moor Side, and High Moor Side, two odd little hamlets associated to but separate from New Farnley. Full of rural charm at the outermost edge of Leeds, with the Lancasterian school room, a Quaker establishment of 1813, being an immediate point of interest and still in use as the community rooms at this quarter, where rural and suburban mix on a small footprint where Back Lane provides our passageway on towards Pudsey.

Snittles Farm, Churwell, with the Cottingley Towers.

Ascending our way over Beeston Royds (or Farnley Wood).

Wood End Farm, New Farnley.

The Lancasterian School Room, Farnley Moor Side.

As there will be a lot of roads later in this day, more countryside walking is in order, and so a path is soon found down into the woodlands that surround Tong Beck, finding an elevated path at the upper edge of Nan Whins Wood, where the beck can burble away some distance below us, and the autumnal colours can be loved before the trees shed all their leaves, whilst horses have to be avoided as the local riding club come by. Woodland walking at this time of year is just great, even with the soft going and the lack of golden sunshine, and its sad to see it come to an end so swiftly, as we soon have to drop down to meet Tong Road, and the passage of the Leeds Country Way coming up by the beck side, crossing over to meet the bottom of Roker Lane, taking another passage past the mill that has had a makeover, along with the apartment blocks developed on the site. Having descended all the way down one side of Tong Beck, means the ascent up to Pudsey has to come next, with the lane taking a distinctly angled passage uphill, with the steepness having discouraged further suburban development along here, so we get farmhouses and cottages with some fine aspects as our companions on the way up, with views towards the edges of Leeds and Bradford. Having done 50m of ascent from the valley bottom, we run into Pudsey, which for is small size still has many singular districts, this outer edge being Littlemoor, where terraces and council houses mix with the remnants of the older rural community at its southern edge, this mixing of vintages being a constant source of interest as a route is picked on Littlemoor Road, where 200 years of domestic architecture can be seen in no particular order. It's a place I'd probably have chosen to live if it wasn't for it's lack of a railway, and the route through the middle of the town has to take in the lost GNR Pudsey Loop line, spotted down South Parade and passed over on Radcliffe Road, its trackbed still ripe of the formal greenway treatment despite the fact the Greenside Tunnel might be beyond rescuing thanks to partial infilling of its cutting. Rise on to meet the Church Schools and the edge of Pudsey Park, and joy can be felt as the sun emerges from behind the early morning cloud, which certainly gives the parish church of St Lawrence & St Paul a bit more colour, as well as lighting up the shopping parade on Chapeltown, and providing a dramatic backdrop to the town War Memorial at the top of Carlisle Road, with the town offering early drinks temptations at the Golden Lion and the Commercial Inn.

The high path through Nan Whins Wood.

The Mills and apartments, Roker Lane Bottom.

Olden style houses, Pudsey Littlemoor.

Radcliffe Road, and Pudsey Parish Church.

The town offers many paths, and we will head north, along the hidden back streets of Grove Road and Tofts Road to meet the footpath into Queen's Park, one of those green spaces that has endured as playing fields, bounded by the council estate on the rising mass of Owlcotes hill and the former site of Prospect Mill, now redeveloped in as bland a residential style as is possible, and it's a space where the locals have come out to stretch whilst the morning brings some sunshine. Join Cemetery Road and rise above the estate that commends the fine view of West Leeds down the Aire, and then rise to Owlcotes Road, which offers a commanding view among the terraces, semis and estate houses atop it, if it wasn't for all the urbanisation up here it might have been another of the great hidden view points, offering perspective to the north to the Aire-Wharfe gap beyond the covered reservoir. The built landscape has to take the focus, and we can look right across to the Thornbury leisure park and the aspect of East Bradford as we descend to meet Waterloo Road, frustratingly the only non-ridiculous route out of Pudsey to the northwest, which traces us a path past the dream makeover farm house, the church of St James the Great, and on to Thornbury Barracks on the A647 Bradford Road. As this is the main artery between the two cities, it's natural to follow this for a stretch, passing out of the loop of the Leeds Country Way by the university playing fields, and over the GNR Laisterdyke to Shipley line, before moving off short of the Thornbury island, taking Gain Lane to the northwest, leading in on past the edge of the estate at Bradford's eastern extremity and also the green space of Woodhall hills between the cities. We also run past the Hovis bakery that keeps the air thick with pleasant smell of bread or the sour smell of dough, and also past the HQ buildings of Morrisons at Hilmore House, again proving that you're never to far from somewhere related to that supermarket when in Bradford, as the company of council houses ends and we run into a clutch of terraces. Leeds Road leads us on into Fagley, despite it not actually going to Leeds, and it seems rather narrow as it squeezes between the older houses, before opening up beyond into a changing landscape of semis, which allows something of a view eastwards as we focus on the next walking target, spotted over the rooftops and easily located down Musgrave Road, and that's the Bradford Industrial Museum, resident in the former Moorside Mills and looking to be the equal or maybe superior of Leeds's Armley Mills, surely one of those places I should have visited by now.

Queen's Park, and Owlcotes Hill, Pudsey.

St James the Great, Pudsey Waterloo.

Wm Morrisons HQ, Gain Lane, Fagley.

Bradford Industrial Museum, formerly Moorside Mills.
It's grand looking site, with factory, tramway, old vehicles and reproduction houses, a place I could easily spend on hour or two if the day wasn't walkable, and I'll linger on their site as it offers a place to sit and take lunch while they day has a greyer spell, but as now we are into November sitting still for very long isn't appealing, and soon Moorside Road is joined to press northwards along the edge of the field protruding into the city, passing the wonderfully named pub, the Smiling Mule. There's a choice of routes to take as we meet the A658 Harrogate Road, and my instinct to keep going in the very late season decides for me as we choose to go straight forwards up into the sprawl of suburbia on the straightest possible route in towards Eccleshill, a distance away uphill beyond the A6176 Pullan Avenue. The company of the old stone terraces and cottages is met alongside the recreation ground, and the rise into this most lovable of urban villages is found beyond, arriving by those impressive terraces and the Mechanics Institute, where the view to the south can be absorbed once again and understood a lot more than it was in February, surely my favourite spot discovered in Bradford so far. Beyond Institute Road, alongside Mount Avenue is the playing field at the hill top, complete with its 212m trig pillar, which commands a view to the north, right over the middle Aire valley, which just enhances its appeal just that bit more, especially as the sun shines on the day already feeling like early evening at barely past 12.30pm, and the route forwards needs picking among the terraces to get down to Norman Lane, arriving by the Sycamores public house. Resuming a north-westwards tack, we press on past the back of the Morrisons superstore, naturally,  St Francis's RC church and the adjacent old cinema to soon run up on the island at Five Lanes Ends, again, arriving much close to Eccleshill than I 'd been expecting, but we should have learned by now that city walking always brings about surprise proximities that you weren't expecting. Pass around to join Wrose Road, and it's a small disappointment that I won't be able to trace all six of Five Lane Ends's roads, but such is the walking life, and the way forwards from here doesn't provide great inspiration, the landscape of housing featuring way too much grey stucco, but the feeling of altitude is palpable up here, nearly 200m up, as we can get views down to the Swain House estate, and up to the nearby masts and covered reservoir peeking above the rooftops at Idle Hill, altogether a landscape aided by a good, healthy dose of autumn sunshine.

Ascending through old Eccleshill.

Eccleshill Rec, with its remarkable elevation.

Five Lane Ends, tracing the Eccleshill and Wrose roads.

Wrose Road, at altitude.

The hope now comes on that the weather will endure for long enough for us to get the day's grand viewpoint, so maybe not quite enough is made of taking in the old buildings of Wrose village, found between the Bold Privateer and the Wrose Bull, and soon we can land on the edge of Wrose Hill, right at the top end of the valley of Bradford Beck, a view already seen on my travels, but this time blessed with sunshine that was denied me on August Bank Holiday. I'll have a late bask in the sunshine and finish lunch as the view below show us Shipley and Saltaire at the bottom of the Aire valley, whilst looking up towards the plantations of the St Ives Estate and the looming bulk of Baildon hill, a view so grand it is very easy to forget to look south in the direction of Manningham Mills and the rest of Bradford. We need to get down into that valley, so Carr Lane draws us down through the grassy and wooded slopes that have proved to be that bit too steep to attract development, bringing us into Shipley's suburban growth of Windhill, getting some dynamic wooded hillside backdrops as we go, shedding an awful lot of metres before we run down to the corner by the disused Victorian library, meeting the A657 Leeds Road. Hang a left to meet the path of my railway walk and to take another look at the GNR Shipley Windhill station, which is still unbelievably threatened with being redeveloped out of existence, moving down to pass under the eastern throat of Shipley's contemporary station, before passing the shopping parade at its northern side and joining Otley Road to pass over the western throat, finally tying together the loose ends of both my walks up from Low Moor. Kirkgate offers the way forwards, behind the indoor market and in front of the open air variant, rising on to meet the Town Hall, certainly looking more suited to the role than Keighley's does, and then passing the board school and the grounds of Crowgill Park, to meet the parish church of St Paul, pondering that the grand terraces down this road offer a far better perspective on Shipley than the A657 does after passing through Saltaire further down hill. Push on past the RC church of St Mary and St Walburga, and on to the aptly named pub on the corner, the Ring of Bells, meeting the A650 Bingley Road, and keeping to its north side and getting some good views downhill as we move past Park Street recreation ground and run up to the top edge of Saltaire proper at the Victoria Street, all lit up by the amount of sunshine that you'd hope for when visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as so many other people seem to be doing this afternoon.

The Airedale view, from Wrose Hill, with Sunshine!

Descending through Windhill, Shipley.

Shipley station, with Idle Hill and Wrose Hill above.

Shipley Parish Church.

Switch sides of the road to see that the parade on the north side of Bingley Road must surely be one of the few on a major road that is made up of boutiques, artisanal shops and tea rooms, rather than the usual mix of takeaways and convenience stores, all presented as the commercial face of Titus Salt's planned estate to still be admired at this remove in history before we are drawn on, past the former Bradford Corporation Tram depot, that endures as The Hop bar and kitchen, a location that just demands a proper session. Greater Shipley needs to be left behind, following the road out through Nab Wood, where most of the suburbia beyond the upscale terraces is hidden away from the road up the wooded bank, and down low most of the attention can go to the cemetery across the way and wondering where all the blocked gates in the roadside wall might lead to, before we leave the shade behind, and meet the playing fields of the Samuel Lister academy, proving that man's name really does get everywhere in these parts. Across the way is the Bankfield Hotel, another of those local places where My Parents have stayed while independently exploring my corner of the world, like the Campanile at Low Moor, and as the junction of the A650 Airevalley Road, and Bingley 'bypass', approaches, a path leads up from the roadside to seemingly avoid it, only to dump us in the car park of The Yorkshire Clinic, a private hospital whose driveway has to be followed to get us back to the roadside. Still, we are upon our destination now, as the next left takes us up Cottingley New Road, where the large buildings to the east might be mistaken for the old Cottingley Hall, but are actually an old school now used by Nuffield Healthcare, and our target away from the suburban growth sent here from Greater Bingley is the old village, its terraces and cottages tucked away down Hollings Street, Smith Street and Main Street as if the got obscured in the mid 20th century and were then forgotten about, secretly preserved for the attention of the curious. We can wander all the way up to Manor Farm, down past the tall and stepped terraces and those quaint cottages located on the beck where the famous 'fairies' were 'photographed' in 1917, to meet the town hall and chapel and you could believe that you are miles away from anywhere else in both and distance and time, revealing Bradford's old Cottingley as an oasis of hidden history, thoroughly enjoyed in the late season sun before the day wraps by the Sun Inn at 2.40pm, with a long bus ride home imminent (hopeful to get back to Morley to get to the Chip shop for F&C before it gets dark).

The Bingley Road parade, Saltaire.

Passing around the Nab Wood estate.

The Old School, Cottingley, now a Nuffield clinic.

Hollings Street, Cottingley, hiding behind the suburbs.

Main Street Cottingley, a hidden gem, for sure.

5,000 Miles Cumulative Total: 3099.6 miles
2017 Total: 534.6 miles
Up Country Total: 2824 miles
Solo Total: 2843.3 miles

Next Up: The 2017 & Season #6 Finale! with two viewpoints above Airedale.

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