Friday, October 19, 2018

MYTHOLMROYD (Daisy Bank and Depot)

Two teams in action today.

Mytholmroyd (Daisy Bank)

Ginny's gang continued work on the popular but much distressed path up Daisy Bank.

Gerald worked on cutting back bilberries so that Lynda and Ginny could widen the path.

Much easier to walk along now.

And the steps that were only half showing are now a wide staircase.

We enjoyed a very pleasant lunch stop at the ruin of Daisy Bank? while Gerald read 'Naming of Parts' - the Frank Harris version.

Funded (not the lunch) by Highways and Hebden Royd Town Council.

Meanwhile Ken and Nigel worked upon installing yet another flight of steps, repairing a stile and re-arranging some stones further up the same footpath.

This was the general idea before we started

This was after a re-arrangement of stones to reach the first timber step

This shows the new steps looking downhill. We were able to make use of large stones for the treads which should prevent any future soil seepage around the risers

This is the completed job. We shall need to return to add another lower step to the stile at the top and a grab post. At present it requires a rather delicate balancing act to get over this stile.

Mytholmroyd (CROWS' depot)

Paul and Frank H worked a half-day session in the depot cutting up timber to replenish the rapidly diminishing supply of marker posts, stobs and risers.

Paul on the power-saw.

Care, safety and concentration are essential here! Paul has the timbers well supported. The dust extractor is switched-on and, additionally, he is wearing a dust mask. He has his eye on the saw-cut and his free hand is well clear of any moving parts!

More of the same:-  good technique all round.

Cautionary Haiku for CROWS

Part 1. In the workshop

The sharp saw blade spins.
My concentration wanders
... Lo! My thumb has gone!

Saw-dust fills the air
With fine powder, like a mist.
A dust-mask is good!

The timber wobbles.
The saw-cut drifts from the line.
A clamp would have helped!

With the last verse in mind, the next picture shows Frank cutting marker posts. The post is clamped and also supported at the other end. Stance is good. Saw, forearm , upper arm and shoulder are all in the same plane.The fore-finger, in the saw-handle 'groove', is pointing in the direction of the cut and the eye (and hopefully the mind!) are focused on the task.

Panel-saw technique
The storage racks for risers and stobs are now virtually full, and there is a supply of spare marker-posts. Most importantly, the power saw and other equipment have been thoroughly cleaned and sprayed with WD40 ready for the next cutting session . . . . which, at the rate we are building steps, will be very soon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Three teams out today.

Blackshawhead and Hebden Bridge....

Mother nature never sleeps....

This stone footpath at Hippins was built by CROWS a couple of years ago to avoid what becomes a quagmire in Winter.  It was now in need of a bit of maintenance so this was the first of today's jobs for Stella and Paul.

.....but she'll have to start again now

New recruit? But wrong plumage.....
Then we went down to the permissive path along Foster dams in Hebden Bridge and replaced the rotten and previously removed information post.

Heptonstall (Hawden Hole Woods)

Fred and Frank H returned once more to the steamy depths of these woods to improve the steep, but magnificent, route that winds its way down towards Midgehole. The task was step construction. A note on the jobsheet (next to the 'number of steps needed') stated 'may be more'. Mmm! The word understatement comes to mind! Anyway, with no prizes for guessing the origins of the following, here we go:

Step Fever

'I must go down to the woods again.
To the woods with the slippery bank,
And all I need are some long stobs
And a riser the size of a plank!'

The tasks for the day involved putting-in extra steps at steep or washed-away sections of the path and protecting these areas with revetment or side-pieces. The work is being funded by National Trust (Hardcastle Crags).

Last week's finishing point (viewed from above).
One extra step in place but another is also needed.

Later in the morning:- two new steps plus in-fill and stone side-pieces.

Further up the path:- The original steps are sound, but the
 tread areas and sides are starting to be washed away.

Later in the morning:- tread areas consolidated and revetment added.

The afternoon involved more of the same!

Even further up the path:- two extra steps with side pieces.
We may have an end point in sight for this right of way! Three more steps would be useful, several older sections require revetment, some fine aggregate in-fill is needed and a waymark post has to be installed. All that, however, will be in two weeks time as Fred and Frank take a break next week from steps to construct a stile off Brown Hill Lane, Blackshaw Head . . . weather and altitude sickness permitting!


The Widdop Team worked on the footpath from Widdop Road linking to the Pennine Bridleway. They constructed some steps on a steep bank up on to the path.

New steps
There were several drainage problems all the way along the path above Widdop reservoir. These were solved by strimming back some or the sedge grass, putting in a number of channels and reorganising some stones lying around the area.
Drainage works.

Friday, October 12, 2018


Several separate groups out today battling wind and rain on the tops.

Mick, Ian and Frank S were building up the path at Bridestones with a new delivery of hardcore. Here's the view when we'd just started to clear away the weeds.

This is the delivery with the long arm crane.

And here's the view with the new stone all in place.

The work on Bridestones is funded by Reaps Moss wind farm community fund.

Ginny and Gerald were clearing turnbyes on the Pennine Bridleway above Walsden, but the wind and rain drove us home at lunchtime without photographs.

Tristan and Ken
Battled with wind and rain to install revetments to the Todmorden 141 steps leading up to Allescholes Rd


                                                              Revetments installed


Onward & upward after to do another step higher up Allescholes to add another step which Peter and Ken did a few weeks before sorry no picture phone battery went flat

Lynda and Eleanor meanwhile were working on the same path further down the hill, cutting back  to widen the path and generally making  it more accessible and obvious. Like Gerald and Ginny we took no photos this time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

WAINSTALLS (Calderdale Way) and HARDCASTLE CRAGS (Hawden Hole Woods)

Two teams out today.

Wainstalls (Calderdale Way)

Dick and Paul had 2 tasks today, high on the tops in brilliant sunshine.
There had been complaints that signage for the Calderdale Way, near the Moorcock, was unclear so 2 marker posts were installed making the way much clearer. This is the home of Jack our ever helpful CALVAG driver.

This work was funded by Calderdale Way Association.

Having been supplied with tea by a friendly neighbour, we moved on to dismantle and repair a broken stile.

Now known as Paul's stile.

Hardcastle Crags (Hawden Hole Woods)

Bernard, Gerald, Fred and Frank H did more work on the precipitous steps leading down towards Hebden Water.

After doing some waymarking, Bernard and Gerald cleared large amounts of mud and mulch off a series of steep stone steps. They also re-aligned and re-bedded some loose steps. A first-rate effort.
So we went from this:

Stone steps: Yes, they are under there . . . somewhere!

To this:

Stone steps: Now much clearer.
And this:
Stone steps: Tread areas re-levelled.
Meanwhile, further down this long, long path that winds it's way through delightful woodland, Fred and Frank H installed three wooden steps, repaired two others, added some revetment and built a short flight of stone steps. The ground conditions were not ideal but the steps followed graceful(ish) curves. We were well-pleased with our efforts. The pictures probably don't do the work justice (all the risers are exactly horizontal!) but we have gone from a situation where there were no wooden steps to this:

Wooden steps neatly combined with stone steps to give a curving route up the steep bank.
And this:
An awkward area, steeper than it looks. Some stone steps are needed.
Changed to this:
Three stone steps in place and also, barely in view, one wooden one.
A satisfying day all-round.

One of Gerald's favourite poems is 'Lessons of the War' by Henry Reed. The poem may be familiar to some; part 1 starts with the line 'Today we have naming of parts . . . '. As a 'thanks' to Gerald, Bernard and Fred for their hard work, here is a parody of that poem.

Lessons of Construction

Today we have drilling of stobs. Yesterday
We had heavy hammering. And tomorrow
We shall have what to do after digging. But today
We have drilling of stobs. Midges
Gather in clouds all over the sunlit steps
. . . .  And today we have drilling of stobs.

This is the cordless power-drill. And this
Is the drill-bit opening, whose use you will see
When you are given your bits. And this is the spare battery unit
Which in your case you have not got. The insects
Flit from frond to frond with a delicate ease
. . . . Which, in our case, we have not got.

This is the drill reverse switch, which is always moved
With an easy flick of the finger. And please do not let me
See anyone using their teeth! You can do it quite easy
If you still have flex in your fingers. The bees
Go forward and back to reverse from nectarless foxgloves,
. . . . Without any need for a finger.

And these, you can see, are the pliers. Use them to
Pull out the drill bit; the one you have carelessly broken.
This is done by a quick left or right twist; we call this
Making amends. And winding around the tree trunk,
The ivy clings to the bark and spirals forever upwards
. . . . With no thought of making amends.

And this is the sturdy, tin drill-box. The one with
The tight-fitting lid, which the careless sometimes
Leave open, for contents to get wet with the rain;
The usage card, and safety glasses and spare bit
And pencil with a point which in your case you may not have got.
. . . . For today we have drilling of stobs.

(With apologies to Henry Reed (1914-1986): ‘Lessons of the War’)

Today's work on this path (but not the 'poetry') was funded by National Trust (Hardcastle Crags).

Friday, October 5, 2018


Several teams out today


Ken, Gerald and Nigel responded to a report from a local horse rider that there was a blockage on a public bridleway below Greave House in the Kershaw area of Luddendenfoot. The following photos show how overgrown the route had become.

When we arrived we found that the main reported blockage, a small dead tree, had already been removed by persons unknown, but there was still a large amount of clearance work to do as the following "after" photos show.

We even unearthed a short length of flagged bridleway.

A good half-day's work achieved by 3 people, with a few loppers and shears, giving adequate headroom for horse and rider.

Hardcastle Crags

Tristan and Frank H ventured into the slippery depths of Hawden Hole Woods for half-a-day of tackling a particularly problematic couple of steps.

Here's where we left off on Wednesday. It doesn't look much from this angle but the step down from the third riser onto the rock step is significant.

Steps before remedial work: an extra step is needed part way along the central rock.

Unfortunately difficult ground conditions (i.e. a rock!) made it almost impossible to drive in the stobs. However, by constructing a 'suspended' step (easier said than done!) we have:

Work in progress: extra step (in-fill yet to be added) created on rock area.
The step is held in place by sidepieces and by 'token' stobs.
We then did in-fill work, added some landscaping and fitted another equally tricky step at the top of this flight. Unfortunately conditions were so humid that the pictures were too heavily fogged to be worth showing.
More of the same next week but with sharper pictures . . .  and perhaps a sharper photographer!

Daisy Bank

Ginny and Frank S did some drainage work on Daisy Bank and reviewed the extensive work still required on this ever-deteriorating path.

We cleared some steps of the mulch which was causing them to rot and did some more path widening.

We also prepared 3 job sheets for work to be started on 19th October!

Meanwhile Lynda and Eleanor first tackled some serious brambles blocking the start of the Sam Hill E-trail

Now you can get through without being snagged to death.
 Then they went on to check the state of a footpath on the Calderdale Way reported by a
member of the public as needing a scrape. It was as dry as a bone! However, we will return later in the year to see what its like then.