South Pennine Walks
Date: 30th Nov 2013
Distance: 6.3 miles
Ascent: 1300 feet
Time: 4 hours 10 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD924255
A smashing walk in upper Calderdale visiting the dramatic gritstone scenery of the Bride Stones and Orchan Rocks.
Route Summary: Lydgate - Stanally Stones - Stony Lane - Whirlaw Stones - Windy Harbour - Great Bride Stones - Keb Road - Hawks Stones - Mount Lane - Stony Lane - Orchan Rocks - Kitson Wood - Lydgate
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Having only recently visited the Bride Stones in the North York Moors I thought it was time I visited their namesakes, the Bride Stones on the moors above Calderdale in the South Pennines. Actually this was a long overdue first visit as I'd had this walk on my to-do list for some time but for one reason or another I'd never quite got round to doing.
I started the walk from a side street near the post Office in Lydgate on the outskirts of Todmorden. A short sharp ascent on a wide track through the eastern edge of Kitson Wood soon brought me on to the moor of Stannally Stones. The Stannally Stones themselves seemed to be fairly well hidden by the surrounding moor but across Stannally Clough I got my first sighting of Orchan Rocks, just one of a number of impressive gritstone features I would see during the course of the walk.
From Stannally Stones I joined Stony Lane, part of an old route once used by the monks of Whalley Abbey. Following Stony Lane until I'd contoured around Whirlaw Stones I next joined the end of the minor road at Windy Harbour. This in turn brought me to a stile leading into access land and onto Great Bride Stones Moor.
I'd been looking forward to seeing the Bride Stones, and one tall thin specimen in particular. They did not disapoint and indeed they more than surpassed my expectations. For a start the gristone outcrops and boulders were far more extensive than I had imagined and really I could have spent all day exploring. After visiting the summit and chatting to a local climber I followed the main edge westwards visiting along the way some of the larger outcrops. No doubt anyone observing me would have been bemused by my scurrying around as I tried to use my tripod and camera timer to get some decent photos of me on the rocks.
Towards the end of the rocks, above Orchan House Farm, I sat on one of the final outcrops and had some lunch before joining Kebs Road which I followed through the smattering of houses at Hawks Stones. Above the houses was a further edge of gritstone, also called Hawk Stones, that looked quite impressive but as there was no direct access to them on my route I continued on along the road until I reached the junction with Mount Lane which I followed briefly until turning back onto Stony Lane.
After passing the medieval Mount Cross I eventually turned off Stony Lane and headed for Orchan Rocks. An easy walk up the tilted slabs of rock brought the final view of the day. The walk finished with a nice descent through Kitson Wood. All in all this was a super walk.