Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (Saltaire Heritage Trail and Bradford Canal)

One spring day in 2017 I returned to this stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal before my Dad and I completed walking it.  I have fond memories of Saltaire and this is where my desire to walk the whole of the canal began - I only did that day a 3 mile approx walk from Saltaire to Bingley Five Rise Locks (May 2016).

Former Bradford Canal (junction of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal)

On that occasion I wanted to check out the Bradford Canal which we keep passing on the walks I've done from Rodley and further.  The 3.5 miles canal from Shipley to Bradford opened in 1774 with a final closure in 1922.  There is only a small stretch in water from the junction of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and it is understood that some remains can still be seen enroute to Bradford.  There are plans to restore the canal but it seems nothing has yet come into fruition.  It remains to be seen.

 Saltaire Village Hall

I walked onto Saltaire and did the village heritage and the weekend coincided with World Heritage Weekend.  I have been to Saltaire many times but it's always nice to revisit and explore the village including the congregational church and the almhouses.  At the congregation church, they had a pop cafe where I enjoyed a cuppa and also looked around the displays celebrating the village's heritage.

Former Hospital Site

To end an enjoyable day I enjoyed an afternoon tea at Jeanette's Cakery.  It's a small and popular cafe and I was lucky to get a seat (I ended up moving to a seat at the window as I gave up my table for a couple of ladies who were queuing and there were no other seats free except for the single window one).  I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea and was ready to get my bus back to Leeds.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (Gargrave to Barnoldswick)

Autumn on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Gargrave


My friend, Julie, had an unexpected day off from work, and suggested we should do a canal walk somewhere.  We initially thought of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal but the Huddersfield railway line was closed that weekend due to engineering works and we didn't fancy relying on bus replacement services.  We opted to return to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal because Julie has only walked as far as Gargrave so I suggested that we do the stretch from there to Barnoldswick.  Not only Julie will get closer to her goal to walking the whole canal but it's certainly one of the most scenic stretches on the canal featuring the waterway's highest point.


We left Leeds nice and early and arrived in Gargrave around 9.30am.  We made our way to the canal and started at Higherland Bridge and Gargrave Locks.   There was a fair few boats going through both the locks and also the Bank Newton ones.   After ascending up the locks we meandered high up around the canal as it contours zig-zag around the hills, probably for at least two to three miles, until we reached Green Bank and East Marton.  The towpath wasn't in the best condition with mud galore and the cyclists who passed by were struggling! 


We took a lunch stop in East Marton just before the double-arched bridge and from there we climbed up to the Cross Keys Pub for coffees and hot chocolates.  The views there along and down the canal  (from the bridge) were beautiful and I do love the autumn colours on the trees sheltering the canal. 

Stunning autumn scenery on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, East Marton

We were guessing which gates across the towpath mark the North Yorkshire/Lancashire boundary and we eventually realised it was the one before the Greenberfield Changeline Bridge.  We ascended up the Greenberfield Locks and reach the canal's summit.  The views of the Pendle Hills were stunning though it was very windy as we were high up.  From this point forward we will begin descending down the canal towards Lancashire and ultimately Liverpool.  We saw the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society's Kennet moored up, presumably for the winter, near the top lock.  We met someone from the Canal and River Trust who soon learnt that we are friends of the Trust.  We had a nice chat and exchanged our canal adventures.

The gate marks the North Yorkshire/Lancashire Boundary!
Just a couple of more bridges before we reached Barnoldswick and the end of the walk.  We only waited a few minutes for the bus and 20 mins or so we were at Skipton railway station for our train home. 

Stunning views along the Greenberfield Locks
There will no doubt be more adventures on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal but it was nice returning to this stretch which is probably one the most scenic ones I ever walked on. 


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (The Tiny Tea Room, Rodley and Castleton Mill, Armley)

My ultimate aim is to re-walk whole of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal though at a lot slower pace as I want to explore what is around me...only have made as far as West Leeds! I'm however excited to check out places on the canal which I walked past when my Dad and I completed walking the canal the first time.

The Tiny Tea Room

I saw a recommendation on social media about the Tiny Tea Room, an independent outdoor tea room in Rodley and canalside.  It usually opens on weekends, 11.00am to 4.30pm, and during the week when the sun shines.  I enjoyed sitting outside with my coffee and homemade scone.  The scone was rather dry but nice and the experience was great for looking out to the canal.  The price was average and worth checking out if you're cruising on the canal or walking along. Being small it can get very busy. 

The Tiny Tea Room

Facebook page

Castleton Mill

Recently I checked out Castleton Mill, a listed building canalside and near Oddy Locks, and was opened to the public on the annual Heritage Weekend.  I often pass the mill on my walks from Leeds to Kirkstall Bridge and always curious about this building. 

Castleton Mill

I'll share some facts about Castleton Mill:
  • The mill was built by William Hargreaves and opened in 1836 to spin flax.  The finished product, which was thread, was transported on barges to weaving factories which turned thread into linen.
  • Further developments at the mill took place in the middle of the 19th Century; the Hargreaves family built a weaving shed adjacent to the factory.  This meant the mill could make linen and wool alongside thread.  The mill was sold and over the next Century it changed hands and continued producing until the 1980s.
  • The mill became listed in 1987 and since the 2000s it now offers office and manufacturing space for small businesses.
On our small tour we saw renovations being carried out at the mill and seeing some of the completed works will sure be worth it.  Further information can be found via the website