Cragg Vale is sandwiched between Walsden & Hebden Bridge and provides some great scenery of the West Yorkshire Moors. Starting from Withens Clough Reservoir Car Park you will head up country lanes before navigating a forest area, before reaching Stoodley Pike. The return leg will head across to Withins Clough Reservoir via moorland and well-defined paths.
This walk can be completed within a couple of hours so makes it a great summers evening stroll or a Sunday walk before heading to the Hinchcliffe for a bite to eat or a drink.
There is evidence of human activity on the Yorkshire moors around Cragg Vale from 10,000 BC. Flints, not native to West Yorkshire, have been found on Blackstone and Midgley Moors, implying movement of peoples and long-distance trade by this period at the latest.
I have walked this route in both winter and summer and the extremes in views are breath-taking and I never get bored and really enjoy walking this area.
There is evidence of human activity on the Yorkshire moors around Cragg Vale from, 10,000 BC. Flints, not native to West Yorkshire, have been found on Blackstone and Midgley Moors, implying movement of peoples and long-distance trade by this period at the latest.
Later flint spear heads and arrow tips, hunting weapons, have been found in quantity over Manshead and Rishworth moors. So, we know Mesolithic tribes hunted around both the Turvin and Cragg areas.
Hunters were constrained to move across the high reaches, which were less heavily wooded, rather than the steep sided valleys – but to cross from top to top they must descend to ford the streams and rivers of the valley bottoms.
Although prehistoric and later peoples were responsible for extensive tree felling and land clearance this did not create the peat moors above Cragg Vale. Around 5000 BC the climate changed and became much wetter and remained so for over 2,000 years. Soil deteriorated as minerals were washed away, and the land around Cragg became waterlogged. The trees and plant life died away and the peat moors on the tops were created.
We know from place naming and language conventions that ancient Britons (the Brigantes tribe), Anglo Saxons, Vikings, and Romans had a large input into the area of Cragg.
Stoodley Pike is a 1,300-foot (400 m) hill noted for the 121 feet (37 m) Stoodley Pike Monument at its summit, which dominates the moors of the upper Calder Valley. The monument was designed in 1854 by local architect James Green, and completed in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War.
The monument replaced an earlier structure, started in 1814 and commemorating the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris. It was completed in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo (Napoleonic Wars), but collapsed in 1854 after an earlier lightning strike, and decades of weathering. Its replacement was therefore built slightly further from the edge of the hill.
During repair work in 1889 a lightning conductor was added, and although the tower has since been struck by lightning on numerous occasions, no notable structural damage is evident. There is evidence to suggest that some sort of structure existed on the site even before the earlier structure was built. The monument is located approximately 2 miles south west of Hebden Bridge and approximately 2.5 miles east of Todmorden town centre.