Starting point and OS Grid reference:
Free car park at Withens Clough reservoir (SD 987233)
Ordnance Survey Map
- South Pennines.
Date of Walk:
14 March 2013
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Stoodley Pike is a 1319ft (402 metre)
high point on the moors of the South Pennines above Hebden Bridge and
Todmorden in Calderdale. It is best known for the Stoodley Pike Monument, an
obelisk, built in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War and replacing a
collapsed earlier monument built to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon. The
monument is a well known Yorkshire landmark and is visible from many vantage
points around West Yorkshire in particular.
There are great views from Stoodley Pike and
the Monument can be climbed to a viewing balcony but the stairs are very
dark and if intending to climb up, a torch is advised.
This Stoodley Pike walk is not the shortest
route to the monument but I wanted a slightly longer circular walk which
would take in the views over the edges of the moors. Having said that, the
walk is still only 5.5 miles. It is an easy fairly level walk which should
not prevent any moderately fit person completing it and the views are well
worth it. There is the interesting medieval Te Deum Stone en route and you
may see a variety of birds (depending on the time of year) including Merlin,
Golden Plover, Curlew and Lapwing to name but a few.
The walk starts from the free car park at
Withens Clough reservoir. To get there, turn west off the B6138 Mytholmroyd
to Rochdale road at Cragg Vale, along Church Bank Lane. The turn is not easy
to spot and especially from the Rochdale direction is a very tight turn. It
is indicated by a small road sign to St John’s Church. Follow the lane
past the church and The Hinchcliffe pub/restaurant to its end where you will
find the car park. The road is potholed in places but easily passable with
As an aside, on leaving Mytholmroyd on the
B6138, a sign informs you that this road is the longest continuous gradient
There are no refreshments on this walk other
than what you bring yourself.
Walk out of the car park and up the lane immediately opposite. Stay on the
lane, ignoring a path off to the left for Stoodley Pike. Turn right on the
broad track immediately after another parking area (SD 993237). There is a
yellow waymark arrow.
Ignore another footpath off to the left and
continue along the track through a gate bearing a “Private Road” sign.
There are good views along here down to Cragg Vale.
Ignore another footpath off to the left and
as track bends to the right by a farmhouse. Just past here, the wall on the
left stops and there is open moorland. A short distance further, follow the
track as it bends sharp left (SE 000243). From this corner are good views
You pass Coiners’ Barn below you on the
right (walkers’ refuge and holiday accommodation) and the track starts to
swing to the right and descend, take the footpath on the left which starts
with some stone paving (SD 996245). It is quite easy to miss this.
The stone slabs are a little intermittent to
start with. Ignore a track which climbs to the left.
Shortly after the stones end for the first
time, there are posts with yellow tops marking the way. As you progress, the
stones reappear. The path follows the contour of the land for a while,
passing a woodland.
Turn right briefly at the end of the woodland
(do not descend). Only 50 yards or so from the corner, there is a small
banking on the left (SD 993250). Take the path which crosses it, heading
gently uphill. If you get to a marker post, you have gone too far! This is
another easy to miss turn.
The path climbs, swinging left. At a faint
fork, stay right and cross a broader track, keeping straight ahead. There
are far reaching views to the right to the moors beyond Hebden Bridge and
the Ovenden Moor
array of wind turbines are visible.
The Stoodley Pike Monument starts to come
into view to the left.
The path reaches a wall with a wooden stile
(SD 987252). Do not cross the stile but turn left to follow the broad track
through the farm gate indicated by a blue bridleway arrow. At a junction of
tracks, turn left. A fingerpost confirms you are now on the Pennine Way.
Stoodley Pike is straight ahead.
Pass Swillington Farm – a sign on the gate
says “Stoodley Pike Waymarked Trail”.
Not far beyond the farm is a three-way
fingerpost. Turn left for the “Pennine Way” and “Stoodley Pike”.
The path passes through a gateway (you are
one field away from a plantation). Turn right and progress to Stoodley Pike.
If you want to climb to the balcony, the entrance is on the north side.
From the Monument (SD 973242), follow the
Pennine Way fractionally west of south, along the edge of the plateau. The
plateau edge falls away dramatically here and there are great views over
Todmorden. On the south east horizon, the Emley Moor transmitter can be
Follow the Pennine Way along the edge,
ignoring a path off to the left which goes to a ladder stile.
Look out for a large depression on the left
and take the path which goes down into it (SD 969233). As you exit the
depression, a derelict farm building is ahead. On reaching a broader track,
turn left to the 5 bar gate you can see. Note you join this path between two
boundary marker posts.
Just through this gate on the left is the
medieval Te Deum Stone with a cross and Latin script carved on it (SD
972230). The writing refers to Te Deum Laudamus, an early Christian hymn
“We praise thee O God”. The stone is believed to have been a boundary
stone and used as a coffin rest, for bearers taking the coffins across the
Pennines from Cragg Vale to Lumbutts and Mankinholes.
The track now follows a wall on the right,
descending gently and Withens Clough reservoir comes into view.
Go through a five bar gate and turn left
following the waymarkers.
Stay on the main track and just after a
plantation, go through another set of gates and turn right to go down to the
water. There is a yellow topped post on the corner.
Turn left at the track by the reservoir and
follow this to the dam. Here, keep straight ahead and join the tarmac road
which returns you to the car park.
If you need to buy any
hiking equipment/clothing before your trip see the Hiking
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site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any
damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.