Woodland Wonders

A stroll through local woods with good views towards Castle Hill over Honley

Distance - 5 miles

Time – 2 ½ hours

Route Type –Moderate

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The route

From the car park area at the rear of the Carlile Institute, walk forward to the main road and turn right. Walk down Huddersfield Road for 500 yards then turn right into Robert Ashton Memorial Park. Turn left after the two stone planters to follow the path past the duck pond and down to exit at the road through a stone archway.

The park and hall were built in 1841 by William Brook and given to Meltham by Messrs CJ and TW Hirst in 1944.

Turn right along the road and at the junction bear round to the left and up the steep hill past the industrial estate.

The shop you pass was the site of the first Co-Op after it moved here from opposite about 1829, being rebuilt in 1862. Also on this site there used to be a 300 year old oak tree, part of the trunk was used to make a waterwheel axle for the mill opposite.

Turn right onto a track just before a row of houses, into Windy Bank Wood. Go through the opening at the right hand side of the metal gate. After about half a mile the cinder track finishes at Meltham Mills reservoir. Bear left parallel to the bank for 100 yards then follow an indistinct path to climb diagonally up sloping Slate Pits Wood. The path can be very wet and muddy and other paths have been worn to avoid the mud.

The wood is well known locally for bluebells and squirrels. The reservoir is stocked with trout for private fishing.

Cross a stone stile and after crossing a narrow field go through an opening in the wall onto a track. Bear left uphill and follow this track, again often muddy, past a conifer plantation through the yard of a cottage into a road.

Turn left along the road and where the road bends left, walk straight ahead through a gate to Honey Head house as indicated by the footpath sign. At the end of the drive keep left to follow the yellow way marker and walk ahead down the left side of the garden by the wall. After the garden, cross two stiles into a walled track.

Ahead you can see Castle Hill and Emley Moor TV mast.

Follow the track then after the next stile turn left at the track T-Junction and follow this track to the road. Turn right and walk downhill ¼ mile to a house on the right on a left hand bend in the road. Cross the road opposite the house to go over a signposted stile into a field. Cross 5 fields and a further 4 stiles, keeping the wall on your right, to emerge over a further stile onto a track. Turn left passing a house and enter the wood on your right through the metal entrance barrier. Go left a short distance, to join the path on the left that heads into the wood keeping the wall on your left.

There is an alternative route here that takes you along the edge of the wood and can give good views over Magdale, Healey House, towards South Crosland and the skyline above Meltham to West Nab. However this route can be very muddy. To follow this route take the right hand path at side of a boulder, follow path to the end until a clearing, turn left and follow the path along the top edge of the wood. Where the path divides to the left, go straight forward until it emerges onto a track, cross this track and walk slightly right and forward until you meet the path running adjacent to the wall. Turn right here to join the official route.

Follow the path to the end where it meets the former quarry access road. Cross this track into another section of Honley Wood known as Greasy Slack Wood. Follow the path round and down passing an incoming path from the right and eventually bearing left to walk along the top side of some works to come out into Knowle Lane just above where the route left earlier.

Cross the road, turn right and walk down the steep hill to the junction. Cross the road from the left and enter the Pleasure Grounds through the gap stile in the wall.

The Pleasure Grounds were created for the people of Meltham about 1850 by Charles Brook. When first built built the grounds had waterfalls and an ornamental lake.

Turn left and walk along the tarmac path to the top end of the grounds. On reaching Holmfirth Road cross the road and turn right. Follow this road for 500 yards back to the village centre. Cross at the zebra crossing and turn right down Huddersfield Road and back to the Car Park at the rear of the Carlisle Institute.

It is strongly advised that walkers follow the route instructions carefully, particularly where crossing private land and comply with the countryside code at all times. It is recommended that boots or strong shoes are worn and weatherproof clothing is carried when undertaking this walk.