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Monday, 13 July 2020


It all started so well, with a pleasant amble down Beckfoot Lane to the packhorse bridge (HERE)
and on to the next little stone bridge over Harden Beck. There's an old mill here, originally driven - I assume - by water power from the beck. I don't know when it closed down but the buildings have been converted into several residential units.

Once over the narrow bridge, my walk took me across Shipley golf course (oddly named, since it is actually on the edge of Bingley). The right of way is marked by large white stones, but you have to be very careful not to get in the way of golfers and flying golf balls. Not being a golfer myself, I find it quite hard to tell which direction they are aiming in. So I walked quite fast across this bit!

Beyond the golf course, the view opens up along the Harden Valley, bounded on one side by the Bingley St Ives estate and on the other by Cottingley Woods. It's all very green and lush. I actually love this gentle little valley, quite peaceful nowadays. There are some old buildings, now very nice houses, nestled in hay and wildflower meadows.

Harden Grange Farm, which you can see in the distance below, is now a riding school and livery yard.

I took the path up into Ruin Bank Wood, climbing steeply up the valley side. I was hoping to find the old ruined folly hidden in the woods.

The woods are mostly larch trees, grown for timber. As I walked up to the main track it all became very muddy and difficult to negotiate, churned up by forestry vehicles.They must have huge thick tyres that had gouged out deep ruts. I came to a junction in the track and went straight on - wrong, as I then came to the other side of the wood. I retraced my steps and turned right, along the muddy track. It was hard going and not at all pretty. I find the straight trunks of pine trees rather forbidding compared to mixed woodlands like Hirst Woods.

Further on there was more evidence of forestry activities, with huge stacks of messy timber. Not the neat log piles you'd expect, these were smaller branches and looked more like waste. You'd think at least they could use it for chippings for mulch. Perhaps they do, eventually.

I never did find the folly! I obviously took a wrong turn somewhere. The track came out into Cottingley housing estate and, to be honest, it was a relief to be on firmer ground. I had then to search for the footpath down to the main road. It turned out to be steep and rocky and more like a river bed, though luckily not muddy here.

I was actually quite glad to get down to roads that I knew and eventually back to my car, on Beckfoot Lane. Not one of the nicest walks I've done...  Rather a folly, in fact. Ha!


  1. I really like that narrow bridge and your view towards the riding school. I wouldn't mind a pound for every time I've got...erm...mislaid in a forestry commission wood. Golf courses aren't usually much better and it's rare around here to find a waymarked path through their property. Mind you, I've also found some good photo-opportunities when I've wandered off-piste.

  2. It is good that you didn't get lost in that forest!

  3. Gradually wolves from the East are moving into our German forests. So watch out, Little Red Riding Hood. We don't want our Star Reporter to be gobbled up!