Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
Friday, 26th January, 2007
IT’S ONLY BY poring over the map that I spotted it, but I discovered a 20 minute walk along a footpath that I’d never been on before, just five minutes from home on the other side of the river. I'd seen a footpath sign at one end but always assumed that it went only fifty yards before ending up by an old mill.
I'm tagging this dog-leg of a walk onto the last of my Walks Around Horbury.
You start by walking down a lane behind Baring-Gould Close, Horbury Bridge, a new housing development (so many walks around here start by a new housing development! I love the expression used by Bellway about a paddock they've made a mess of during building work: “If the site does not benefit from a positive planning application we would return it to its previous state.” Hmm).
This little hut fascinates me: was it built as a dog kennel?
You follow the track alongside embankment of the Wakefield/Huddersfield railway (wouldn’t it be useful to have a station here; we lost ours in the 1960s).
The official footpath as marked on the Ordnance Survey map is blocked but it seems that walkers now go through this gate near a pylon.
The remains of a Morris Traveller; this is the car I would have liked when I was a student; ideal for setting off on field trips.
‘A half-timbered car!’ as Dame Edna Everidge once described it on a tour of Stratford-on-Avon.
You soon come to a flood embankment. The river here was straightened in the early 1960s to make way for Healey Mills Marshalling Yards, once the biggest in Europe. Shame they couldn't fit a passenger platform into their grand design.
Today the footpath goes behind this Nissen hut (far left) and comes out at the Ship Inn but the map still shows it going in front of the cottages on The Island; this was a towpath in Victorian times but the channel from the river was filled in many years ago.
Footpaths have long memories.