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South Pennine Walks

Druid's Altar

Date: 9th June 2013
Distance: 4.8 miles
Ascent: 600 feet
Time: 1 hour 50 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD962084

Walk Summary:
A walk around the Saddleworth hills above Denshaw including Crompton Moor and a visit to the monument on Bishop Park.

Route Summary: Grains Bar - Crompton Circuit - Crompton Moor - Crow Knowl - Rochdale Road - Denshaw - Ox Hey Lane - Low Gate Lane - Broad Lane - Heights - Tame Valley Way - Tamecroft Farm - Bishop Park - Ship Lane - Grains Bar

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

The old library in Bingley
The River Aire at Bingley
Wild garlic
The River Aire
Looking across the Aire valley to Riddlesden
Druid's Altar
On Druid's Altar
The fields below the woods were covered in buttercups
More buttercups
The River Aire by Myrtle Park

Walk Detail: This short walk was the first time I'd been to this part of the Aire Valley and I expected Bingley to be a fairly dour and run down old mill town. Perhaps it was the sunny weather but I thought it was quite a characterful little place with its market square, nice riverside views and, at the end of the walk, the open spaces of Myrtle Park.

After crossing Ireland Bridge, which has a nice view of a weir, I followed a riverside track to the attractive old house of Raven Royd. As well as enjoying the company of the Aire in these early stages of the walk the surrounding woodland also featured some nice patches of bluebells and wild garlic.

From Raven Royd I continued past Cophurst to the small hamlet of Marley from where a track began the climb up past Marley Brow, through some more woods to arrive at Transfield Top and a lovely slope of heather and bilberry. For the most part views across the Aire valley were blocked by the treeline but things opened up a bit when I arrived at the gritstone outcrop known as the Druid's Altar.

A large gritstone outcrop on a modest edge, the Druid's Altar requires a short scramble to climb up on to so that you can survey the local area. The views were perhaps not as extensive as I'd imagined but still encompassed Rombald's Moor, Baildon Moor and the towns and villages of this part of the Aire Valley from Riddlesden in the west to Bingley and Saltaire further east.

From the Druid's Altar I returned back to Bingley via part of the St Ives estate and Altar Lane (again some nice patches of bluebells in the woods) to eventually cross back over the river at an iron footbridge into Myrtle Park from where it was a short walk back to the car.

The Druid's Altar itself was not quite as impressive as I'd hoped but this was still a really nice little walk and I'm sure I'll go back to the area again, perhaps to explore a bit more of the St Ives estate.

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