Sunday, 21 February 2010

A Favourite Drive

Yesterday was sunny and the snow had all disappeared from here, so we took the opportunity to take a drive out instead of walking Mac locally.  Once we got higher up, near Queensbury, there was still snow on the fields and roadsides.  It’s an overcoat colder at Queensbury, as they say round here.

We drove through Denholme which is on the old Roman Road from Ilkley to Manchester, though, apart from one straight stretch of road which follows the line, there’s no visible trace of it now.  There’s no record of a settlement there in Roman times but, not far away, Roman remains have been found along the line of the road.

It’s not a pretty town as most of it was built entirely by the owners of the local textile mills for their workers, which means narrow streets with rows of small terraced housing of no architectural merit.  The mills have gone now and the site of one is a new housing estate, while the other is up for redevelopment and who knows when that will happen?  The only trace I could find of the family name of Foster, the mill owners, is Foster Park.

If you buy jewellery in a velvet lined box, there is a chance the velvet was made in Denholme at Denholme Velvets which has an international reputation.  I had no idea till I looked them up on the web that there were so many types of velvet made.

We drove on towards Keighley, turning off onto the road to Hebden Bridge and climbed over the moors to Pecket Well, now more a dormitory village above Hebden Bridge but once more important as the road we were travelling on was a coaching route and The Robin Hood Inn was originally a coaching inn dating back to the 17th Century. There is a legend that St Thomas a-Becket drank from the well.  Pecket Well was originally called Becket Well so maybe that is where the legend comes from.
No lambs yet
We turned off the Hebden Bridge road at Pecket Well and came back towards Halifax by the high road (lane, rather) that runs parallel with the Calder Valley.  This would have been the original road before the valley was cleared and settled.  It follows, in places, the route of an ancient track across the country which made a trade route from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. Although the Ordnance Survey shows it as a Roman Road, it is certainly much older and Neolithic and Bronze age artifacts have been found along it's length, including above the village of Midgley. 

Taking narrow lanes with hairpin bends up steep hills, we climbed from Luddenden up to Wainstalls, parking above the village to walk along a narrow farm lane.  Up here, there was snow on the roads.  Coming from a much flatter landscape, I’m always struck by how the weather can vary up here in a relatively small area.

Above Wainstalls
It was the sort of day which makes me, in that moment, want to celebrate the winter weather.  Alas, that doesn’t last and we pulled back the curtains this morning to swirling snow again and have about another inch which is lying on top of ice.

1 comment:

  1. Hi i was born at spring mill fold wainstalls in 1941 and went to the school until seven years old.



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