Tuesday, 25 January 2022


Walsden: Ramsden Lane 

It was a cool, cloudy but calm day for Ray and Frank H to continue with work on the ruined steps that lead up from Ramsden Lane towards Ramsden Wood.

An earlier picture.

These steps were put in more than twenty years ago. The quality of the work was good but two decades of South Pennine weather and heavy usage has taken its toll. 
Risers, revetment and stobs are now rotten. The wall section near the top has shifted, risers are sagging downhill and tread areas have a slippery, sloping surface. The overall condition is far worse than the picture suggests!

Today's plan was for Ray to finish the work at the bottom of the flight and then join Frank to complete the intricate construction at the top. We had our 'plan A' . . .  and it worked . . . amazing!

Towards the end of the session:- 
view from below.

Another lower step is in place. The spacing of the original steps has been tweaked and the flight rises with a slight left-hand curve before swinging right then left to blend into the path that leads up the slope.

Side areas have been tidied - we hope that plant growth will flourish in the Spring.

Missing from the picture is the bold Robin that that appeared and feasted on any worms that we unearthed.

Towards the end of the session:- 
view from above.

A rather grey picture to match the grey (but fine) day. 
The perspective is tricky, but all risers are now horizontal and the well-packed tread areas are flat. Descending these steps is no longer the precarious undertaking that it was! 
The final steps down onto the road, however, can be wet. They collect rainwater that drains through the shale layers in the banking above. There is little that can be done about this without excavating, wall dismantling and pipe laying -  not a cost-effective option in these cash-strapped times!

Work funded by donations to CROWS, thanks. 

Friday, 21 January 2022

CORNHOLME - Bearnshaw Tower

Bearnshaw Tower:

Problems had been reported with two stiles on the Todmorden Centenary Way between Cornholme and Bearnshaw Tower. On a cold, damp day Ken and Kasher went to try to sort out these stiles. 


The issues:


Both stiles had missing tread-boards and were hard to use. However, when we investigated, we realized that more work was needed on both of the stiles.

Current position

Tread-boards have been replaced where possible but we will need to return to replace some stile legs. We will also fit a dog gate adjacent to the lower of the two stiles (see picture). We will reduce the height of the third step. This stile would also benefit from the addition of a tall grab pole which we will fit on the next visit.

Funding from local donations.

An unusual three-step stile

Work in progress: another visit needed



Blackshaw Head – Lower Lane:


After the drainage work, strimming and cutting back along Lower Lane on Wednesday, Ken and Kasher went back to install a few yellow topped posts to aid navigation on this route. 


Current position 

Yellow-topped posts installed

The improved waymarking of this route should help people to use this wet walled lane and connect with the recently waymarked paths near Lane Side, Daisy Bank . . . and beyond. 

Funding from Calderdale Highways Dept



Walsden: Ramsden Lane

Ian V and Frank H returned to the work started last week by CROWS on the steps that rise steeply from Ramsden Lane. With the day's labour barely underway, they were joined by Ray (guest appearance) who teamed up with Ian to work on the lower steps while Frank tackled a geometrical puzzle at the upper end.

Start of the session.

The three new steps from last week are easily spotted.

The rotten lower steps need replacing but with improved spacing and a less sloping tread area.

The upper steps lead into a mishmash of short timbers, old wall, sagging revetment, rotten steps and badly sloping treads.

Work in progress.

Lower steps have been constructed. 
The water draining out of the shale banking on the right creates wet conditions. Older risers, therefore were re-cycled as side-pieces to stop the crushed-stone tread area being washed away

Upper steps have been built as a right-hand 'turn' so the awkward bend at the top can be negotiated.
Tread areas here are re-laid stone.

There is more to do. The lower steps need finishing and the upper 'turn' needs to blend into the path that comes down from the wood.

View from above.

The perspective is tricky but the steps are now more evenly spaced, have a flatter tread area and provide a regular ascent with a 200 mm rise for each step.

With careful configuration of risers, treads and revetment it should be possible to link the rising flight into the descending path on the left . . . 

Mmm! That's the plan! The next session could be interesting!


Wednesday, 19 January 2022


A great day to be out and about. The team of RJ, Fred, Mick and Kasher worked on a walled lane between Harley Wood Gate and the footbridge below Lane Side/ Daisy Bank in Blackshaw Head.


This was a continuation of the work undertaken last year to improve the accessibility of the footpath network between Harley Wood Gate, Daisy Bank and Staups Moor. Previous work has involved way marking, strimming, sorting out fencing, building of bridges etc.

Strimmed lane

Today's work

Today’s work involved strimming the walled lane, Lower Lane between approximately SD 953275 and 948273. It also involved trying to improve the water flow away from sections of the path. Hopefully the ditches dug will allow the area to dry out and the flowing water to be channelled away from the wall and path. The area strimmed should aid the navigation on this route.

We have also tried to improve the route by removing and/or exposing stones which have fallen between the walls of the lane. 


Mud and more mud: drainage

RJ and Fred at work

 Future work in the area

It may be necessary to return to this walled lane to improve waymarking, drainage and also to remove the large stones which have fallen off the walls.


This work was funded by Calderdale Highways.

CRAGG VALE: Will Clough and Turvin Clough

 Will Clough:- postwork!

Jan L and Frank H returned to the path that goes from the terrace of houses named 'Wilclough' to follow the North bank of 'Will Clough' up towards New Road. 

Start of session:

A picture taken in low light conditions. This set of steps is in poor condition but can be negotiated by a nimble walker using the posts and linking ropes (just visible on the right) to aid balance.

Unfortunately, one of the posts is missing and the rest are loose or rotten. Additionally the 'grab rope' linking the posts is badly frayed and has become detached in two places.

By lunchtime:
The bottom post has been re-bedded and further secured by a diagonal brace. This post is very secure and will eventually act as an 'anchor' for the whole line of posts.
The next four posts have been replaced but bedrock made it extremely difficult to make the pilot holes deep enough  . . .  at least not deep enough to keep Frank H happy!
To overcome this problem, rubble was hammered in to firm up the posts and the posts were linked by a series of' 'bracers'.

End of the session

Overall six posts have been installed. They are linked by the bracing rails along the line of the steps and braced laterally at intervals by a short rail and stob.

The whole array of posts feels secure and the old 'grab rope' has been replaced by a more substantial arrangement with an overhand 'knot' at the mid-point of each section providing a hand hold.
Once the work on the whole flight has been completed, the rope may be replaced by a handrail.

Today's efforts were very demanding on energy and stamina! The creation of each main pilot hole took about 25 'hits' with the 1.5 m bar and a further 30 or so 'hits' with the heavy-duty post-knocker were needed to drive the post home. Additional pounding was needed for the packing stones and stobs. There might be some aching shoulders tonight!

Today's work, but not the supply of 'Deep Heat' embrocation, was funded by the Luddenden Foot Ward Forum.


Meanwhile Ray, Lynda, Ian and Eleanor set off  to clear a watercourse on the hillside above Turvin Clough and below Higher House Moor (not far from the Hinchliffe Arms.). The landowner had reported that water was pouring on to the footpath below and thought the land drain was failing.


Ray started to investigate at the top of the channel .....

.......and Eleanor and Ian investigated what was going on further down the channel. There was no evidence of any water seeping the length of the course.....


...... and some water was coming out of the pipe at the bottom on the far side of the path into a deep stone basin.

..... but Ray quickly discovered that the drain at the top was blocked, and once it was cleared water ran through to the bottom pipe. Lynda and Eleanor scraped mud and residual water off the footpath to speed up the drying out process.  Hopefully that will do the trick. 

The job was scheduled to be a day's work but was soon done, so we set off along the beautiful  riverside path towards the footbridge that crosses the clough and climbs up to Green Bank . There were various areas of mud to be scraped off but considering it is winter  the path was in reasonable condition until we reached the spot where the Information Board is sited just by the footbridge. Reading the board involved standing up to your ankles in muddy mulch!

We collected stones and created a bit of a 'platform' but it was definitely a temporary fix to be improved another day. Frank and Jan definitely had the harder job today!!