Calderdale Way

This page describes the Calderdale Way.

This path was established in 1977 following the emergence of Calderdale as a borough in 1974. The way largely follows the outer limits of the borough boundary and can be walked either clockwise or anti clockwise. We have walked it twice: 1979 -soon after it’s inception and agan in the late 1990’s.

Above Lydgate - 9 April 1979

- this was the first hill at the start of the first stage of the first circuit.

Description of the path

The River Calder bisects the borough of Calderdale west to east; the river has created a natural water basin to which the borough of Calderdale approximates.

The Calder has many tributaries: Walsden Water, Hebden Water, Cragg Brook, Luddenden Book, River Ryburn, Hebble Brook, Red Beck, Shibden Brook and Clifton Brook. The Calderdale Way crosses all of these at some point as well the Calder. Hence each stage will normally combine some climbing and descent.

The terrain includes moorland e.g. Norland, wooded valleys e.g. Hebden and Luddenden and farmland e.g. Blackshawhead. Industry, old and new, is evident all along the route from deep within the Calder Valley to obvious locations such as Halifax and Brighouse.

Calderdale was created as part of the country of West Yorkshire and was a hub of the woollen industry in the 19thC and 20thC. The industry started in the valleys were water was abundent (for washing, dyeing and bleaching) as well as power of the machinery, before later concentrating on the later towns of Halifax and Brighouse.

The route visits many of the industrial places that have now had to reinvent themselves following the demise of British manufacturing: Halifax, Brighouse, Elland, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Todmorden and Shelf.

The Calderdale Way is also bisected by the Pennine Way [north-south]

The first circuit was undertaken by staff from the Ordnance Survey office in Halifax [Peter Mirczuk, George Smith, Ken Doughty & Keith Murray - though only PM and KM complete the entire circuit.

The second occasion we walked it was in the 1990’s when it became a regular Boxing Day walk by Robert Murray and Keith Murray.

Calderdale Way Stats

1. Overall

Topic Info comment
Terminus West Vale Clay hHouse
Terminus West Vale Clay House
Total Distance 80.0 km
Lowest point Brighouse Canal Basin 105m [amsl]
Highest point pass south west of Stoodley Pike 368m [amsl]

Clay House is the official start which we used for the secind circuit. For the first circuit we started and completed at Lydgate (Burnley Road, Todmorden).

The Way does not visit Stoodley Pike, a short diversion is worth the effort.

2. Stages Completed 1979

The stages below are stages completed to date and follow a clockwise order around the borough. The distances will be added later.

Stage Distance Terrain
Lydgate-Pecket Well xx.0km hilly
Pecket Well-Catherine Slack xx.0km hilly
Catherine Slack-West Vale xx.0km hilly
West Vale-Cragg Vale xx.0km hilly
Cragg Vale-Lydgate xx.0km hilly

The distances will be added.

%Calderdale Way guide

Calderdale Way Guidebook [1978]

A second iteration in the 1990’s (next/below) used a slightly different set of stage points based on car drop off and pick up points.

3. Stages Completed 1993-99

The stages below are stages completed on the second iteration and these are reported separately.

Stage Distance Terrain
West Vale - Ripponden xx.0km hilly
Ripponden-Mankinholes xx.0km hilly
Mankinholes-Blackshaw Head xx.0km hilly
Blackshaw Head-Cold Edge xx.0km hilly
Cold Edge-Bailiff Bridge xx.0km hilly
Bailiff Bridge-West Vale xx.0km hilly

The distances will be added.

4. Percent and total distance walked to date

Completed % Who Distance Year Notes
100% completed PM, KM + stages by KD, GS, SM & HM 80.0km 1979 clockwise
100% completed KM & RM [5/6 stages] 80.0km 1993-99 clockwise

Points of Interest

Halifax Halifax: - a former industrial centre (carpets, sweets, woollens, cats eyes …) but less so today. The path circuits the town along the horizon in this photo. Again Halifax has provided the home to several generations of the family.
Todmorden Todmorden: - sits at the junction of two valleys linking West Yorkshire with both Rochdale and Blackburn in Lancashire. The Calder takes the Blackburn valley.
Calderdale Way Brighouse: - the canal basin is the lowest point of the walk. East of the water networks fragment of the canal piggybacks on the River Calder for passage. Several members of the family originate from Brighouse or Rastrick

Getting there - access

For the 1979 circuit we used a combination of public transport and or cars e.g. get the bus back tot he start point. This works if your start and end points are in a valley with a service.

For the second iteration the walks were in the Christmas holidays e.g. Boxing Day and there were support with car drop off and pick ups in all cases.


Start: April 1979
End: 1999

References and Links:

Date Reference or link
20141116 Calderdale Way [wikipedia]
20141116 Calderdale Way [LDP Association]

Updated KJM 06 December 2014