It’s strange to walk beside the calm surface of a reservoir, rippled only by swimming ducks, geese and the occasional rising trout, and remind yourself that beneath those 1,725 million gallons of cloud-reflecting water are the remains of a church, cottages, a school, country lanes and garden walls.
There are some fine walks to be enjoyed around and between Yorkshire’s reservoirs. Yorkshire Water has steadily improved access to the land it controls and encourages people to make the most of it via various collections of walks leaflets and descriptions on its website.
The St Ives estate above Bingley is a wonderful country park criss-crossed with footpaths and bridleways. It’s terrific walking territory, whether you want to limit yourself to a gentle stroll along the edge of Coppice Pond or strike off up to Druid’s Altar and gaze up the Aire Valley from on high.
Greetland isn’t the easiest place to find but once you get there it’s well worth a visit. We made the mistake of not turning off the A629 Halifax-Huddersfield road at Elland and as a result nearly found ourselves on the M62 while searching in vain for a Greetland sign.
Some places are worth visiting again and again. Middleton Woods above Ilkley is one of them, particularly at the height of the bluebell season when the ground between the trees is carpeted with flowers in full bloom and the air is sweet with their perfume.
It was a bitterly cold mid-February morning as we drove along the A6 past the pretty Peak District village of Ashford in the Water looking for the nearby, roadside White Lodge car park a mile or so further along, set among trees that were dusted in white by the frost. The morning sun glinted on the River Wye alongside the road, and just a hint of mist hovered above the water.
12:30pm Monday 17th March 2008
10:30am Monday 3rd March 2008
10:30am Monday 18th February 2008
10:50am Monday 4th February 2008
Todmorden is a sturdy Pennine town: not lovely, but interesting enough with its solid Victorian architecture and its valley-bottom mix of residential, industrial and commercial properties, its shops, pubs and cafes, it canal and railway and busy, busy A646 road.
8:44am Monday 7th January 2008
Robert Louis Stevenson was 28 when, in 1878, he set off on a 120-mile, ten-day walk down France, from Le Monastier heading south through the Cévennes to St Jean Du Gard. His belongings were carried on a small donkey, enabling him to name the book of his experiences Travels With a Donkey in the Cévennes. It was his first successful book.
8:42am Monday 7th January 2008
8:40am Monday 10th December 2007
8:58am Monday 26th November 2007
There are footpaths galore around Haworth. Just when you think you might have walked them all, you can chance upon one you never knew was there. Or you can find yourself trekking along another that's obviously well trodden - but not, previously, by you.
8:50am Monday 12th November 2007
8:50am Monday 29th October 2007
As fells go, Latrigg isn't a lot to write home about. In fact it isn't so much a fell as a grassy knoll compared to the big bruisers which flank it to the north of Keswick - Skiddaw to the west, Blencathra to the east.
9:10am Monday 15th October 2007
I've become an enthusiast for walking on former railway lines. It began a few years ago when I discovered the delights of the Spen Valley Greenway, the cycling, walking and horse-riding route created by the charity Sustrans to run from Oakenshaw southwards to Dewsbury.
8:20am Monday 1st October 2007
4:10pm Monday 17th September 2007
8:30am Monday 3rd September 2007
9:20am Monday 20th August 2007
8:20am Monday 6th August 2007
9:30am Monday 23rd July 2007
Country walking isn't all about strolling along in a relaxed sort of way and admiring the scenery, you know. As in most other areas of life, there are important decisions to be made. Such as whether to proceed or go back when you come to a sign advising you that there are bulls and suckling cows with calves in the fields ahead.
9:20am Monday 9th July 2007
8:50am Monday 25th June 2007
The Wharfe valley was shrouded in mist as we pulled into the Cow & Calf car park before 9am on a spring day. Somewhere below us Ilkley was beginning to bustle. Nearby a cuckoo called. Above us the occasional patch of blue was visible in what was otherwise a solid cloud ceiling.
8:20am Monday 11th June 2007
4:30pm Friday 25th May 2007
9:20am Monday 14th May 2007
8:50am Monday 30th April 2007
4:20pm Friday 13th April 2007
4:10pm Friday 30th March 2007
2:40pm Friday 16th March 2007
The young man was standing at the side of the path wearing headphones and pointing what looked like a television aerial up the field towards the wood. He scanned it around towards the valley bottom, where a flock of gulls was wheeling and calling.
4:10pm Friday 2nd March 2007
3:20pm Friday 16th February 2007
3:26pm Friday 2nd February 2007
A couple of years ago Mark Reid, the author of Walks Around Skipton, hit on the bright idea of producing a book featuring a series of walking weekends in the Yorkshire Dales, staying at a country pub on the Friday, enjoying a good, long walk on the Saturday, relaxing back at the pub in the evening, and taking a shorter walk on the Sunday before heading for home.
4:51pm Saturday 9th December 2006
3:20pm Saturday 11th November 2006
England's redundant railway lines would have made a marvellous, vast network of footpaths crisscrossing the land if so many of them hadn't been bulldozed away or built on. Some, at least in part, remain and have been successfully converted for use by walkers, cyclists and horseriders.
10:50am Saturday 14th October 2006
5:50pm Saturday 16th September 2006
1:56pm Saturday 2nd September 2006
2:30pm Saturday 5th August 2006
One of the main leisure activities of modern times, caravanning, rubs shoulders with the remains of industries of yesteryear in this very pleasant outing from Pateley Bridge, in the heart of beautiful Nidderdale.
2:10pm Saturday 22nd July 2006
2:20pm Saturday 8th July 2006
4:30pm Saturday 24th June 2006
Place names which aren't pronounced as they're spelled can cause a problem for off-comed'uns. For instance, ask someone in the Bakewell area of Derbyshire if you're on the right path for Eden-sor and they'll probably grin and tell you they wouldn't know about that but they can show you the way to Enzor if you like.
12:40pm Saturday 10th June 2006
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