Friday, 22 October 2021

TODMORDEN:(above Higher Knowl)

 Todmorden - higher than Higher Knowl!

Another wet start to the morning for Mick and Frank H to be installing a series of markerposts on the moor above Higher Knowl. Three post were strategically positioned to indicate rights of way.

Marker-post on path (Todmorden 127) down from Higher Knowl to Woodbottom Farm.

This was a existing post which had become loosened by the antics of sheep desperate for a scratch! Solution - dig it out completely, excavate a deeper hole and bed it in firmly . . . very firmly!

Marker-post on right-of-way (Todmorden 128) just above Higher Knowl.

Mick fixing waymark discs. Note the good technique - a stable working position, hammer held correctly and the eyes on the nail being hit.  

We also hiked up to Rake End to install a third post. No picture is available but it is just like the others - vertical, installed to the appropriate depth and very firmly packed with rammed rocks and soil . . . . another upper-body workout!

Thursday, 21 October 2021


 Paul and Frank H embarked on a series of tasks in sheltered but wet locations.

Task 1: Charlestown: Knott Wood

Earlier this year CROWS re-built a wall and installed a fence on the path through Knott Wood. 

The picture shows the up-slope side of the fence. Our work today was to 'lay' some of the smaller 'tree' growth to form the basis of a 'green' hedge that would flourish parallel to the fence. The only available growth is just visible to the right, on the down-slope side of the fence.

Work in progress:

The holly and birch is mainly from one clump. This is not ideal for hedge-laying but differing lengths of stems allow the gaps between stakes (difficult to spot) to be bridged. 

This 'hedge', although sparse at the moment, should grow and thicken over the next few seasons to provide a green screen, a resistance to erosion, an additional barrier and a wildlife habitat - provided that the holly survives the festive season! 

This work was funded by a local donation.

Task 2: Eaves Road

A new lamp-post has been installed (Council work, not CROWS'!) but it lacks a public footpath 'flag'.

Work in progress: 
Overhanging foliage cleared from around the lamp-post.

More growth cleared and the appropriate marker flag securely in place and clearly visible.

The 505 on the lamp-post is a bit of a mystery. We presume it is a Council identification code although, by weird coincidence, it is also the driving distance (in km) from Hebden Bridge to Bournemouth! 

Perhaps we should move on to something more useful . . . task 3.

Task 3: Cragg Hall Wood

Joined by Frank S we went to check on a collapsed revetment in Cragg Hall Wood but found the path blocked by a major beech limb that had torn away from the parent tree.

The picture was taken after much of the tangle of beech branches had been cleared - this is the last section to be dealt with.
Hanging tree limbs can 'spring' swiftly (and very dangerously) when a saw-cut releases structural tensions so it might look here as if Frank is giving Paul a 'health and safety' warning. However, the saw-cut has not yet been made - they were both just posing for the camera!

More posing . . . but the path is now clear of any obstruction.

Further up the path was the collapsed revetment:

Collapsed revetment 

Here is the revetment. The slope is steeper than it looks. We did the following;

* pulled the revetment up onto the path and cut off the remnants of the rotten stobs.
*cleared debris from the slope's edge where the revetment had been.
*re-fixed the revetment with long stobs and back-filled the gaps at path level.

Work in progress: revetment being re-fixed.

This is a temporary measure to secure the path edge. Further work will involve renewing the old revetment, installing additional revetment and building steps. Lots to keep us busy . . . once we get the funding. 

Wednesday, 20 October 2021


Rich, Ray and Frank S were out today at Heptonstall on the footpaths below the Social and Bowling Club. The paths are a useful walking route for local residents to walk down to Hebden Bridge. We installed several posts with waymarks to show the routes of the public footpaths. Here's two of our new posts.

The paths were widened in several places, particularly where there were awkward grooves. 

We also cut back the heather and bracken obstructing and overhanging trees which obscured the views along the paths. Part of the purpose of this work was to remove 'blind corners' on a mountain bike route - now, if walkers have the misfortune to meet a mountain biker on a bend, at least they'll see them coming! 

A 'blind corner'

Much safer after a bit of lopping


Ray and Frank then went round to the path down from the church. Three years ago we uncovered some lovely old stone steps, but they were already starting to disappear under the bracken and brambles. This is the view looking up the steps.

But after a while the steps reappeared.

This will make it easier to get up to the top, especially when the steeply sloping path alongside gets wet and slippery.

Work funded by Heptonstall Parish Council.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

BLACKSHAW HEAD (Daisy Bank Clough)

 Daisy Bank Clough: 'twixt Lane Side Farm and Harleywood Gate .  .  . part two!

A continuation of last week's work for Mick and FranH who turned out in poor conditions to construct a barrier that would block the movement of larger livestock (horses) but allow walkers to pass. The forecast was for heavy rain all day. We didn't quite get that (at least, not by Upper Calder Valley standards) but we were wet by the end of the session!

Here's the finished product:

Mick (aka the quality control inspector) checking
that the structure meets his standards!
* a 'middle' rail has been added to the left of the marker-post
*two rails have been added between the 'gap' post and the wall area to the right. The top rail extends beyond the ruined wall and is fixed to a straining post. The lower rail is anchored into the wall itself.
*The 'gap' post is offset from the marker post so the gap itself is wider than it appears to be.
*Walkers can pass through the gap. Horses cannot.

Although ground conditions were not favourable, all posts are as vertical as it was possible to get them, and the rails are horizontal, correctly spaced, parallel and match-up on either side of the gap. No wonder Mick is amazed!

Here's a parody for any CROWS who have recently been out on wet, windy and bleak stretches of moorland. Well done guys - glad you survived!

Slop-Wet Lea!

(Any resemblance to 'Sloop John B' - traditional West Indies folk song - is coincidental!)

Lost on the slop-wet lea,
Mick Chatham and me,
Round missing paths we did roam.
Wading all day
No sense of the way,
We feel so worn out,
We ought to go home!

But hoist up that twelve foot rail,
Feel how the shoulder aches
Ignore the feet being so sore;
No need to go home!
Don't think about home ...
This ain't the worst moor
We've ever been on!

More next week - work that is, not parodies!

Monday, 18 October 2021


 Fred G and Rich J trailblazing an unused path.