Lately, I have been enjoying discovering new hikes that take me further afield than my usual well trodden paths. In doing this I discovered the Bradford Millenium Way, a 45 mile circular walk taking in Baildon, Ilkley, Silsden, Haworth and more. Of course, having discovered it’s existence, I now have to walk it. In one go obviously. Not an easy feat, so training is required. To further this end I had found a walk from Haworth to Hebden Bridge and back again. Sadly, circumstances meant I got up late and then procrastinated until it was way too late to attempt this. Not to be deterred I found myself another, closer walk to the top of Norr Hill.
The walk itself starts at New Close Road in Shipley, but I added a few miles by starting from home.
My route starts at Clara Road, Greengates, through the edge of Calverley woods and then on the canal at Apperley Bridge, where I got the chance to catch up with my favourite family. I don’t know how long these three have been together but I first noticed them around 2 years ago and watched as together they reared a cygnet into a beautiful swan who has now flown the nest. Sadly, despite building three different nests, they haven’t had any chicks this year, and still none of them seem to have noticed that one of them is a goose. I continued my journey along the canal past Esholt, Thackley, Shipley and Saltaire, where I was saddened to find that my favourite ice cream stop was once again closed. Nevertheless, it was time for a rest, so I sat on a bench and watch the geese colony across the canal for a while before setting back off towards Hirst Wood.
Here I left the canal and found a delightful little Nature Reserve I had not known was there. It is the cutest little place to walk around with a bird hide and lots of little paths to walk around. I spent a little time here watch a duck float around on a little duck house on the pond before continuing on, only to be distracted by Higher Ground, a new coffee shop with amazing views across the road from the Nature Reserve. I called in here for refreshments and then climbed up the hill towards the A650, taking a detour through my old haunt of Slengingford Grove. Strange how, over 30 years later, I still feel a little trepidation on entering the the place where all the kids that wanted to kick my head in used to live, but also my (older) boyfriend!! Thankfully, there were no tough guys shouting “Wait until you’re on your own!” at me this time.
Heading on to the A650 I made my way towards the official start of the walk, New Close Road and then towards Cottingley via the back of the Nab Wood Grammar School, at the end of the track I crossed the road and headed up Cottingley Moor Road to the bridle way into some quite dense woods. I followed this “well worn path” through, trying not to get my head taken off by over branches until I got to some fields. The walk continued crossing fields onto more bridleways and more fields until I got to Norr Hill Farm, where I really could not find the stile out of the field so ended up climbing over a gate and the got worried I was a bit lost as the directions seemed to take me into someone’s rather nice driveway. After walking up and down said driveway awhile, and consulting the map I decided I was indeed in the right place and the nice people at the Stables hopefully didn’t mind me wandering around on their property until eventually I found the pathway I was looking forward behind some farm buildings.
Here the walk took me across some more fields to eventually come out at the top of Norr Hill, where I took a well earned rest, treated myself to some chocolate and enjoyed the views.
Eventually, I had to give up my sunny spot and start the descent back towards home. This took me across lots more fields, which probably used to be quite boggy, but with the dry weather were now more of a lumpy sprained ankle trap. Eventually, and very carefully, I reached the bottom, where I encountered some inquisitive bulls before heading through some woods back into Bingley, where I joined the River Aire for the final part of the walk.
Leaving the river, I made my way through some very very underused pathways back onto Branksome Drive, where the walk should have taken me up and back onto the A650 and New Close Road. However, I took another pathway off Branksome Drive into Nab Wood Cemetery, following the path up onto the A650 and along to Saltaire Roundabout where I enjoyed some more refreshments at The Hop before the husband arrived to drive me back home.
While I enjoyed the walk for the most part, it was quite a difficult route to follow and by the end I was getting a little bored of having to stop to check directions all the time. Also, the paths, particularly across the fields were not very well used and quite lumpy and even treacherous in parts. This has probably not been helped by the dry spell we have had causing the fields, which I assume are usually quite moist, to harden, which is not great on the old ankles. Not to mention the pathways off the river which I suspect have not seen human feet for some years. I would definitely recommend some sturdy walking boots and maybe a scythe, for this hike. There are great views at the top of Norr Hill, but I probably won’t try take this route again.
Next time, Haworth to Hebden circular is on.
If you would like to try this walk out, a detailed guide and map for the 6 mile Norr Hill Hike, can be found at bradford.gov.uk.
My full route is below: